Top Melbourne Suburbs to Invest, For Budgets of Less Than $500,000

Flemington Post OfficeMELBOURNE’s once booming real-estate market has finally decelerated – and for the first time in a long time, buyers are calling the shots.

If you have a secure job, low debt and a will to own real estate – banks, developers and the Government want to talk.

But a word of advice: if you do take the plunge, spend what you can afford, rather than the maximum amount you can borrow.

Saturday Domain talks to some experts on which suburbs you should look at, no matter what your budget:

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South Yarra Development Site Sells For $5.5 Million

A SOUTH Yarra development site within the Forrest Hill precinct that is quickly becoming a high-rise apartment compound, has sold for $5.5 million to a consortium of off-shore and local investors.

The 10 Claremont Street residential development (artist impression, right) is one of the areas densest proposals – permitted to rise 17 levels and include 104 flats of which 89 are configured with one bedroom.

When apartments first hit the market for sale last year, one bedroom flats were priced from $350,000.

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CR Kennedy Site, South Yarra, Relisted For Sale

ONE of last year’s biggest development site sales has fallen through forcing the asset to be relisted for sale this week.

The South Yarra property at 661 – 669 Chapel Street is one of the last undeveloped sites within a former industrial precinct known as Forrest Hill that is being rebuilt by various builders as a new village with residential and office skyscrapers.

Occupied and still owned by photographic distributor CR Kennedy, the 3537 square metre site was reported to have sold for $25 million last December to design practice Metier3, which had just offloaded its interest in a Docklands office worth $240 million. It was expected Metier3 would exploit the South Yarra site’s 65 metre frontage to Chapel Street with an apartment-based village.

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Fridcorp Doubles the Density of Controversial South Yarra Apartment Tower

BOUTIQUE builder Fridcorp has redesigned and rebranded the controversial $120 million South Yarra apartment proposal that it bought into a couple of months ago.

The site, on the south-west corner of Chapel Street and Alexandra Avenue and opposite the Yarra River, has for some 18 months been marketed as Tresor – a 14-level tower which would have included 99 luxury apartments (artist impression, right).

Network Nine executive director Jeff Browne was one of Tresor’s highest profile buyers, paying a reported $5 million for a four-bedroom unit, off-the-plan.

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Michael Kroger Sells Second Piece of Former South Yarra Estate

LIBERAL Party powerbroker Michael Kroger (pictured, right) has finally sold the last piece of the South Yarra estate that was for years the marital home he shared with Ann Peacock.

The sale of the 1850s coach house, in Caroline Street (image, far right), ends a lengthy sales campaign which started in early 2009, and shortly after the couple announced they would separate.

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Billionaire Businessman Lloyd Williams Buys Adjoining South Yarra Development Sites

BILLIONAIRE businessman Lloyd Williams is continuing to reweight his property portfolio.

This time, in South Yarra, the racehorse owner, investor and high-density apartment builder has paid $13 million for two adjoining, historic homes (aerial pic, right) in the heart of the suburb’s uber-exclusive,  low density Botanic Gardens precinct.

Williams is expected to bulldoze the homes on the combined 1632 square metre site – including a 1930s mansion – and replace it with something more efficient, presumably a multi-level apartment complex built atop an underground car park.

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Wesfarmers To Unveil New Concept Store, Urban at Target, in Melbourne

WESFARMERS owned Target will open the first of its “small format store” in Melbourne, in September.

The new store, Urban by Target, will occupy 1000 square metres of space once occupied by Virgin Megastore at the prominent Jam Factory in South Yarra, owned by Challenger.

Wesfarmers, which also owns supermarket giant Coles, is looking to expand both its Urban by Target and Target Country divisions. It’s also planning more large-format Target stores.

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Peter Maddison Designed Townhouse Hits Market in South Yarra

A TOWNHOUSE created by Peter Maddison – architect and host of Lifestyle Channel’s Grand Designs Australia – has hit the market in South Yarra.

The three-level duplex in Davis Avenue includes an opulent lounge room with a prominent fireplace that has appeared in numerous design magazines and publications over the years, including Domain.

A study is accessed from this lounge room, which is on the entrance level with a casual living and meals area. At the lowest level, is an underground car park for three cars, while three bedrooms are on the top level.

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Stockland Sells South Yarra Development Site at a Loss

SYDNEY-based developer Stockland has absorbed a huge financial loss, finally on-selling a prominent South Yarra development site it paid too much for in 2008.

Stockland has reaped $22.5 million for 2 – 4 Yarra Street site, which is set to make way for an approximate 30 level apartment tower with more than 350 flats.

During the economic downturn, Stockland paid local developer Michael Yates $26.25 million for the 2150 square metre site.

At the time of sale Stockland wanted to build about 250 flats on the site, but it successfully lobbied to increase that number to 353, before listing the asset for sale more than a year ago (image of Stockland’s proposed tower, right).

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Village Roadshow Director to Sell South Yarra Penthouse

A MEMBER of the Kirby family, which owns media giant Village Roadshow, is selling a penthouse apartment in South Yarra’s Darling Street.

Clark Kirby, the director of corporate strategy for the family business, is relocating with his new wife, Sara Groen, who was until recently a current affairs presenter with Channel Seven in Sydney.

Ms Groen unwittingly made headlines last year, when Seven executives said her new haircut breached its contract, and ordered she fit hair extensions. She is also an ambassador for youth mental health service Headspace.

The couple’s outgoing penthouse is spread over two levels and includes three bedrooms and three decks. It also includes three car parks, and – perhaps not surprisingly – an entertainment room with a cinema.

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VCAT Cans Plans to Make Melbourne’s Tallest Suburban Tower Even Taller

WITHOUT the previous government’s contentious Melbourne 2030 planning document to refer to, VCAT has canned an ambitious proposal by the owners of South Yarra’s Fun Factory site to make the suburb’s tallest proposed skyscraper, even taller.

The rejection means the main residential tower at the $150 million Capitol, South Yarra project (pictured, right) will rise “just” 38 levels and 133 metres.

This would still make it the tallest residential building outside of the central inner-city, loosely defined to include Southbank, Docklands and, now that it will have its own skyscraper compound, Carlton. The Royal Domain Tower, at the Domain junction, rises 152 metres.

VCAT approved a 38-level redevelopment of the Fun Factory in 2009. That approval will see a historic building at the north-west corner of Toorak Road and Chapel Street demolished and replaced with a mixed use project including 7500 square metres of offices, 4400 square metres of retail space, 496 car parks, 120 bike spaces and 204 flats, in the proposed major skyscraper.

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Metier3 Buys CR Kennedy Site, South Yarra, Melbourne

CASHED-up design practice Metier3 is understood to have paid $25 million for a development site near the retail epicentre of Chapel Street and Toorak Road.

The 3,537 square metre parcel is one of the last remaining major industrial sites within the South Yarra pocket known as Forrest Hill, bound by Alexandra Avenue, Chapel Street, Toorak Road and the train station (which runs parallel to Yarra Street).

Forrest Hill has seen rampant high density redevelopment in recent years. One developer’s ambitious 38-level skyscraper proposal was given the green light 16 months ago.

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Controversial South Yarra Project Tresor Set to Take Shape Next Year

NETWORK Nine executive director Jeff Browne has purchased a four-bedroom apartment in one of South Yarra’s most controversial developments.

Tresor, on the corner of Chapel Street and Alexandra Avenue, opposite the Yarra River, will replace a Lamborghini dealership and include 99 apartments over 14 levels.

The development faced opposition from Melbourne High School, whose campus abuts the site, and entrepreneur Lindsay Fox, a former student who uses the school’s helipad.

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Zig Inge Outmuscles Developers For Prime South Yarra Office

199 Toorak RoadFUND manager and developer Zig Inge Group is believed to have paid close to $18 million for a rundown but spectacularly located office investment at 199 Toorak Road in South Yarra.

The blue, glass, four-level building with ground floor shops is at the north-east corner of Claremont Street and will be renovated, and slotted into Zig Inge Group’s Core Plus Portfolio.

Zig Inge, which built its business developing retirement villages, outmuscled several high-rise residential developers for the 199 Toorak Road site, which measures 1689 square metres.

An adjoining site at 2 – 4 Claremont Street, measuring 908 metres was listed for sale with 199 Toorak Road, but after failing to attract interest as a whole – was sold separately after auction for a speculated $6.5 million.

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Michael Yates to Sell South Yarra Office

SOUTH Yarra based developer Michael Yates is selling a near new office building, in what is fast becoming the centre of South Yarra.

The three-level, 2246 square metre office at 15 – 19 Claremont Street is leased to international publishing house Macmillian Publishing, which pays a current annual rent of $886,929.

The office is expected to fetch about $11 million, which would reflect a yield of about 8 per cent.

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Double Storey Complex in Toorak Road, South Yarra, Sells For $6.7 Million

307 - 315 Toorak Road, South YarraA DISTINCTIVE Tudor style complex in Toorak Road, South Yarra, with five ground floor shops and an upstairs office, has sold for $6.7 million.

Based on the assets annual rent of $296,021, the 638 square metre building sold on a low yield of 4.4 per cent.

Knight Frank’s Marcus Quinn and Paul Henley sold the asset at 307 – 315 Toorak Road.

Mr Quinn said the property offers the new owner plenty of value-adding potential, covering just 50 per cent of the 1000 square metre land area.

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South Yarra’s Newest Skyscraper Set to Rise From Claremont Street

SOUTH Yarra’s latest skyscraper is set to rise from a site near the Melbourne High School oval.

Icon Construction plans to replace a former factory at 45 Claremont Street with SEE, a 15-level, 74-unit apartment tower.

The $34 million complex will include a landscaped rooftop terrace and BBQ area, as well an enclosed timber and steel pergola, with an open air fireplace and communal entertaining area.

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Jam Factory to Lose Two of its Most Prominent Retailers

CHAPEL Street’s Jam Factory is set to lose two of its biggest retailers, with music store Virgin, and American coffee giant Gloria Jeans quitting their prominent tenancies.

The Virgin store, which occupies store T9 at the Jam Factory, occupies 938 square metres – or about the size of seven standard shops.

CB Richard Ellis’ executive Max Cookes, who is marketing the space with Travis Osborne, said the space would ideally be suited to an international retailer looking for a Chapel Street flagship store.

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India-Based DEC to Start Building Apartments Next Door to Beverley Hills Building, South Yarra

Elan South YarraDEC, the India-based development company whose star-studded Australian launch last year saw Planning Minister Justin Madden skip one of his six November parliamentary sittings, has started construction of a luxury apartment complex, next door to South Yarra’s distinctive Beverley Hills building.

The Elan complex, at 59 Darling Road, opposite the Yarra River, will include seven two-bedroom apartments, and a penthouse, taking out all of the top two levels of the six level complex.

A Moreton Bay Fig Tree, once a part of the Beverley Hill’s apartment building’s famous side  garden, and valued by council at more than $2 million, will be retained.

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Another Major South Yarra Development Site Hits the Market

THE WELL walked path between the South Yarra train station, and Chapel Street, could see even more construction activity in 2010.

A major development site at the north-east corner of Toorak Road and Claremont Street, is set to hit the market soon, and sell for about $25 million.

The South Yarra site is expected to arouse interest from residential developers who can cite the Melbourne @ 5 Million planning strategy, to propose a high density project.

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Stonnington City Council Approves 227 Toorak Road Redevelopment

ANZ’s former data centre building in Toorak Road is to be demolished and replaced with a $100 million luxury apartment tower.
Stonnington City Council this week approved the demolition of the 227 Toorak Road office, which ANZ sold for $33 million in 2007 to Little Project Developments, the construction company of Toll Holdings chief, Paul Little.
The redevelopment will see all Toorak Road car access closed off permanently. The apartment tower that will replace the ANZ office, will be set back 45 metres from the road.

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Another Apartment Tower Earmarked For Behind Melbourne High School

ANOTHER week, and another high rise apartment project has been unveiled in South Yarra.
This time, the former Kookai office and warehouse at 50 Claremont Street will be demolished, and replaced with a 20-level, 188-unit apartment building, designed by architect Bird de la Coeur, with interiors by Hassell.
Many of the units in the $110 million Claremont South Yarra development will offer unobstructed city and township views over Melbourne High School.

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South Yarra’s Best Located Eyesore to be Replaced with $100 Million Tower

Proposed new towerOutgoing 227 Toorak Road, South Yarra siteSOUTH Yarra’s best located eyesore may be demolished and replaced with a chic $100 million apartment tower – designed by the same architect that penned Melbourne’s distinctive Rectangular Stadium.
Little Project Developments has lodged a development application with the Stonnington City Council to build a 24-level, 350-unit apartment complex on the site of an ANZ data centre at 227 – 233 Toorak Road, near the busy Chapel Street intersection.
LPD paid ANZ about $33 million for the office in 2007, and was expected to incorporate the 1970s brick building into a new 32-level residential development, possibly adding a second tower to vacant land at the rear of the site.

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Dr Turf’s Watergrill Restaurant, 300 Toorak Road South Yarra, to be Developed Into Apartment Tower

FORMER 3AW radio commentator John Rothfield, otherwise known as Dr Turf, will develop a major apartment building on the prominent Watergrill restaurant site in South Yarra.
The sports enthusiast, bookie and author has appointed boutique architect firm Rothelowman to dream a new future for the 1,629 square metre site, which has a 41 metre frontage to Toorak Road, and is on the south-eastern corner of Cunningham Street.
The proposed development is expected to rise no higher than ten levels, and could include more than 100 apartments as well as offices, and ground floor retail, capitalising on the site’s high profile position opposite the Como Centre, and near the busy corner of Chapel Street. 

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