A Review of Melbourne Apartment Projects: Those Marketed; Those Canned

INCENTIVES offered to stimulate apartment construction during the economic downturn, such as record low interest rates, and first home owner grants, have resulted in some of the city’s biggest, boldest apartment-based projects being offered to the market.

But not all developers could get their projects out of the ground.

Domain took a look at some of the more ambitious redevelopment proposals launched, and canned, since its last Apartment Guide, in Spring 2010:

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Fairfax, News Limited to Sell Property Assets

Fairfax saviour: entrepreneur Gina Rinehart

CHANGES to the media landscape announced this week will result in a shake-out of commercial assets all over Melbourne.

Fairfax, publisher of The Age, is expected to make between $20 – $25 million for its high-tech printing and distribution facility near the Melbourne Airport in Tullamarine, abutting the Tullamarine Freeway (pictured, below).

Fairfax paid $5.6 million for the six hectare piece of former farmland in 1999 – then spent another $220 million building the existing printer which included machinery from Germany and Switzerland.

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City Shift as Provincial Victorians Buy Melbourne “Holiday House”

We’ve all heard about the sea changers – the growing number of Melburnians packing up their homes and heading to a new life in the coast or country.

Singles, couples and families are leaving in droves – trading in the city’s caffeine infused impersonal lifestyle for something more inspiring.

But while the sea-changers pack up their four-wheel-drives in search of a new home outside of the metropolitan area, they are passing a growing number of city shifters – those from provincial Victoria that are also looking for a change of scenery, and are setting up tent right in the heart of the city.

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Tiny Southbank Site Earmarked For Major Tower

A SLIVER of Southbank land, about the same size as would accommodate a standard inner-city terrace house, has sold for $1.23 million because of its redevelopment potential.

The 168 square metre site at 11-13 Hancock Street sold at auction this week before 45 observers. Savills directors Nick Peden and Clinton Baxter represented the vendors who constructed a workshop on the site in the 1940s.

The block is some 900 metres from the CBD, between the Crown Casino and Clarendon Street shopping strip. Sold with vacant possession, it is expected to make way for an apartment complex. Savills directors Nick Peden and Clinton Baxter were the marketing agents.

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Development Site, Southbank, For Sale With Permit

PLANS are afoot to develop another major skyscraper on a Southbank site abutting the West Gate Freeway.

The affected site at 61-71 Haig Street, with rear access to Blakeney Place, is on the city side of the major freeway, near Crown Casino, the Melbourne Exhibition Centre and Clarendon Street shops.

Now being offered for sale, and with price expectations of about $14 million, the 1857 square metre site is not being offered with a permit. However the area is permitted for buildings of about 100 metres, meaning the commercial sites could make way for a residential tower of about 30 levels.

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Prominent Pubs, and a Western Suburbs Development Site, Offered in $80 Million Portfolio

SOME of Melbourne’s most popular hospitality venues – and a major western suburb development site – form part of an $80 million portfolio of properties set to hit the market next month.

A consortium of Melbourne-based private investors, including Sebastian Catalfamo and Gilbert Cabral, will share in the spoils of the eight properties which are being offered separately.

In Melbourne, hospitality venues include The Point on Albert Park Lake – a 940-seat venue which is expected to sell for about $3 million.

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Mirvac Signs STA Travel to Southbank Office

FOR the moment, residents in Southbank’s most exclusive skyscrapers can relax knowing their million dollar city views are preserved.

Sydney-based property giant Mirvac has signed tour enterprise STA Travel to a nine-year lease at a low rise office within a riverfront compound at Riverside Quay.

The Mirvac offices are on blue ribbon parcels of land abutting the Yarra River. At the moment the buildings are limited by a height restriction, however several long standing zonings have been removed, in the pro-development era that has ensued since the problematic Melbourne 2030 policy.

Inevitable high rise redevelopment of these Mirvac sites down the track will block postcard views currently enjoyed by residents at Eureka, Freshwater Place and other skyscrapers nearby.

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Southbank’s Next Skyscraper to be Developed on Rear Yard of JH Boyd Girls School

JH Boyd Girls SchoolA SLITHER of land behind one of Southbank’s oldest and grandest buildings – the former JH Boyd Girls’ High School – will make way for a major skyscraper, set to become a landmark near the busy intersection where the West Gate Freeway merges with Kings Way.

The City of Melbourne will ask private developers to build a 30-level tower filled with apartments, offices and shops, at the rear of a school site it acquired for $10.5 million in 2005.

Bound by City Road, Kings Way, Kavanagh and Balston streets, the balance of the property will be redeveloped as a cultural and community hub to service Southbank’s growing population, and evolving ethos.

Two parks – one measuring 1000 square metres, and another of 2500 square metres will also be developed on the site over the next four years.

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Plan International Australia Leases Southbank Office

HUMANITARIAN group Plan International Australia has leased 1000 square metres at the IBM Tower, at 60 City Road in Southbank.

The undisclosed rent is speculated at about $300 per square metre, per annum.

In June, Dexus Property Group announced plans for a $26 million refurbishment of its Southgate restaurant and retail complex, which is accessible to 60 City Road via a walkway.

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Australian Red Cross Sells Southbank Carpark to Developers

IT might have seemed like just another inner-city development site sale, but it’s actually the end of an era.

The Australian Red Cross has sold another major piece of land near its outgoing Southbank headquarters, now that it is based across town.

The charitable organisation made $5 million from the sale of the 1448 square metre site at 127 – 129 Kavanagh Street, which is expected to make way for apartments.

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Southbank’s Next Major Skyscraper on its Way

Former QBH nightclubNOTORIOUS nightclub QBH will be converted into a luxury display suite, for the Southbank riverfront’s next major apartment tower.

Last week, advertising started for the proposed 66-level, 616-unit Prima Pearl Apartment complex, at 31 – 49 Queensbridge Street.

The project is being proposed by furniture magnate and property developer Tony Schiavello, who recently paid $10 million for the QBH club, at 1 Queensbridge Street, near the Prima Pearl site.

The QBH property has direct Yarra River frontage – and as such, redevelopment potential down the track.

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Gordon Ramsay’s Maze Restaurant Opens in Melbourne

SWEARING chef Gordon Ramsay has opened his first Australian restaurant, at Crown’s new $300 million Metropol Hotel, in Melbourne.

The 300 seat restaurant opened in late March, but the chef attended the official launch of the Crown hotel in May.

The Maze at Crown restaurant focusses on delivering better value for money meals, than the high-end dishes the celebrity chef was dealing, when he first agreed to lease space in Melbourne, a couple of years ago.

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Schiavello Buys Queensbridge Hotel, Southbank

Queensbridge HotelMILLION dollar views enjoyed by residents at Australand’s luxurious Freshwater Place complex in Southgate have officially become a privilege and not a right, after furniture magnate and property developer Tony Schiavello picking up a prominent riverfront property next door, once home to notorious nightclub QBH.

Mr Schiavello is speculated to be paying about $10 million for the 717 square metre block which abuts other property acquired by the developer over the years.

The Queensbridge Hotel at 1 Queensbridge Street, was first speculated to have been on the market in February, when a dispute to sell the property to fashion designer Christopher Chronis came to light.

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ARC to Sell Southbank Car Park

IT will be the end of an era next year in Southbank, when one of its most prominent office occupants, the Australian Red Cross, relocates to a new headquarters, on the other side of town.

The ARC has listed for sale an open-air car park site, at 127 – 129 Kavanagh Street, near the corner of Balston Street.

The 1448 square metre site, which the ARC will sell with vacant possession or with an 18-month lease back, is expected to arouse interest from residential developers.

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Victorian Government to Hand Over One of Melbourne’s Largest Undeveloped Central Sites

THE State Government of Victoria is formalising a plan to redevelop one of central Melbourne’s largest undeveloped sites, at the riverfront junction the CBD merges with Southbank and Docklands.

Between the Mission to Seafarers building at the corner of Wurundjeri Way and Siddeley Street, and stretching almost the length to the Charles Grimes Bridge, the massive 1.24 hectare site, accommodating old industrial sheds in a precinct called Flinders Wharf, has a 230 metre frontage to the Yarra River.

A Registration of Interest campaign was quietly launched by the government this week, seeking advice from consultants and developers to propose a new future for the site, likely to incorporate offices, shops and apartment towers, possibly with a component of affordable and social housing.

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Two More Major Apartment Towers Set For Melbourne’s Southbank

MELBOURNE’s fast-gentrifying inner-city suburb of Southbank is about to see another major development.

Salvo Property Group has unveiled plans to develop two apartment towers totalling 850 units.

Construction of the project on City Road will start with pre-sales reach 70 per cent, director Mario Salvo told the AFR.

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