Swinburne University paying $44 million for Melbourne’s Invicta House

Swinburne University is paying $44 million for a historic seven-level building in the Melbourne CBD.

Invicta House, at 226-232 Flinders Lane, is expected to be refurbished as a school campus.

The freestanding building on the north-west corner of Monaghan Place was listed last November by local private investors which operate the Greenhouse Backpackers from levels three to seven and a rooftop terrace.

Victoria Police is also an occupant – renting the basement, ground floor and levels one and two as its Melbourne East station.

Aerial image showing Invicta House (highlighted) in relation to Flinders Street Station and Southbank.

All up, Invicta House has a lettable area of 4501 square metres, according to the marketing agency, Colliers International.

Zoned Capital City 2, it occupies a 741 sqm block about 20 metres from the Swanston Street retail hub.

Brokers Daniel Wolman, Matthew Stagg and Oliver Hay promoted the property’s potential to be redeveloped as a hotel, office or serviced apartment complex.

A standard residential conversion was also an option, as was extending the building into the airspace, the agents said.

The rooftop of Invicta House.

“Invicta House has stood proudly in the heart of Flinders Lane for approximately 100 years and been part of Melbourne’s growth into a thriving international city,” Mr Wolman said upon listing the property.

The agents promoted the potential for the ground floor of the building to be activated as retail, where it would earn a higher rental, per square metre, than at present.

The school hasn’t yet registered itself as a buyer, on title. A spokesperson declined to confirm or deny a purchase, but said “as part of our commitment to innovation and transformation learning spaces through our 2025 strategy, Swinburne is always looking to improve on the use of space and facilities across the university”.

Invicta House is in the immediate vicinity of the $11 billion Metro Rail development, which is under construction. The Flinders Street train station and Federation Square are a block away.

The proposed VU Tower will be leased to Victoria University for 30 years.

Five months ago, Victoria University sold three adjoining CBD properties to property giant, Industry Superannuation Property Trust. In that deal, ISPT will construct a 32-level vertical campus which the college will rent for 30 years at 364-378 Little Lonsdale Street.

In 2017, Monash University leased all of a 10-level, 37,300 sqm building at 750 Collins Street, Docklands, from GPT Group. Near Southern Cross Station, 750 Collins Street is currently occupied by finance giant, AMP.

Monash University also committed to 6200 sqm of office space at 120 Spencer Street two years ago.

In 2015, Haileybury College paid $50 million for an office at 383 King Street, West Melbourne, which it has since refurbished into a city campus.

Haileybury College recently refurbished 383 King Street, West Melbourne, into a campus.

Last October, La Trobe University unveiled plans to replace its Bundoora campus, about 16 kilometres north of the Melbourne CBD, with a $5 billion mixed-use village containing commercial, residential, community and education space.

The Invicta House deal comes four months after another owner-occupier, luxury retail brand, Rolex, paid the Liberal Party of Victoria $37.1 million for a six-storey historic Melbourne CBD building, Centenary Hall, at 104 Exhibition Street.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.