Swisse Wellness backer Michael Saba tries again to sell Clifton Hill retail asset

Swisse Wellness investor Michael Saba is trying again to sell a large retail asset with development upside in Clifton Hill’s Queens Parade.

It was speculated when Mr Saba bought this investment for nearly $7 million in March, 2017, that he planned to operate a chocolate making business there.

The 1540 square metre site, within a popular shopping strip, was for years occupied by hardware store Thrifty Link.

Zoned Commercial 2, it would be appropriate for a multi-storey office development or hotel.

However, a proposed planning amendment (C421) could see it rezoned Commercial 1.

A Commercial 1 zoning would allow for the construction of a more profitable residential-based mixed-use complex.

A panel hearing regarding this rezoning is set to be heard from August 12.

The graffiti-covered interior of 15-33 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill.

Mr Saba tried to sell 15-33 Queens Parade last October – a more depressed time in Melbourne’s commercial property game.

He has appointed different agents this time around: Teska Carson’s Larry Takis and Luke Bissett, with Killen Thomas’ John Camilleri, will take it to auction in August.

Mr Saba was one of the executives to share in the $1.67 billion sale proceeds of Swisse Wellness to China’s Biostime International four years ago.

Swisse Wellness’ former chief executive, Radek Sali, was another benefactor. Mr Sali subsequently spent $12.5 million on a South Yarra home, for sale by hospitality entrepreneurs Frank and Sharon Van Haandel.

Stephen Ring, whose father Kevin founded the Swisse business in 1969 – is speculated to have banked about $1 billion from the Biostime International deal.

In 2017, Mr Ring paid $8.1 million for the historic premises formerly occupied by the Society restaurant at 23-29 Bourke Street in the Melbourne CBD.

Last year we reported that Mr Ring paid a speculated $10 million for a Byron Bay home offloaded by former Skilled Group boss, Greg Hargreave.

An aerial image showing the site (outlined) relative to the Melbourne CBD, about three kilometres away.

Marc Pallisco

A freelance property writer and analyst, Marc is a co-founder of realestatesource.com.au.

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