One of Geelong’s most under-utilised sites is finally being developed – as the city’s biggest mixed-use project.
The former Trans Otway bus depot at 44 Ryrie Street will by 2022 be Geelong Quarter, worth $200 million.
It will be identified by 14 and 15 level buildings, staring down the pier and yacht club.
The largest, West Tower, will contain a Holiday Inn & Suites hotel and luxury owner-occupier apartments above.
East Tower will include 109 dwellings – a mix of one, two and three bedrooms.
Both structures will sit over 1000 sqm of ground floor retail and a three level basement with storage according to marketing agent Nic Cuni.
Each tower is designed with an activated rooftop; West Tower includes a pool.
Geelong Quarter is also adding a landscaped laneway to the CBD.
Franze Developments’ Paul Franze acquired the 2700 square metre site making way for the project from furniture retailer John Orchard in 2017.
For a for a period prior to that, the parcel was shortlisted as a headquarters for the National Disability Insurance Agency and Department of Human Services, part of a Quintessential Equity tender.
City’s biggest mixed-use project
Geelong Quarter is the business district’s biggest mixed-use project – tied in terms of end-value with the City of Greater Geelong’s 137 Mercer St proposal two blocks away.
The Holiday Inn and Suites – an InterContinental Hotel Group brand – will contain 180 rooms.
The upper levels, known as Ryrie Residences, will include 15 high-end dwellings for owner-occupation; the priciest sold for more than $2.5m
Occupants can access hotel amenities – including housekeeping and room service. There’s also a pool and gym.
“Geelong usually welcomes around 2.2 million overnight visitors annually, but is dramatically under-represented by quality hotels,” IHG director of communications, Chris Waite, said (story continues below).
“We know that power of the world-class Holiday Inn brand, with the IHG Hotels & resorts engine behind it, will bring travellers from around Australia and the world when the borders reopen”.
The East Tower, Ryrie Home, fronting Ryrie St, will contain 109 contemporary units with between one and three-bedrooms.
Like West Tower, it will have a usable rooftop, this one with barbecue facilities, lounges and resident-only private dining room.
Mr Franze said Ryrie Home apartments are designed to take in the Corio Bay view (Geelong and parts of the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island are amongst the few Victorian places to offer north-facing water aspect).
In the town’s west, the project is walking distance to Geelong train station connecting Melbourne in about an hour.
In late 2019 the council and Paul Little launched a twice-daily ferry to Docklands, taking off from the pier.
Last year, Spirit of Tasmania operators announced it plans to dock at Corio Bay, instead of Princes Pier in Port Melbourne where it has arrived for 36 years.
Right time, right place
Geelong’s population, like its real estate capital values, have risen over the past 12 months – key drivers being the work-from-home becoming normalised, and people seeking regions for healthier lifestyles.
City of Greater Geelong has updated its economic and population forecasts for the first time factoring in the pandemic effects; all points to a solid trade and industry backdrop, it added.
The region’s Gross Regional Product fell 0.8pc in the September quarter (the state average was -11pc).
The research also estimates 64pc population growth over the next 20 years – an average 2pc annually.
In numbers, this means nearly 30,000 more people will call Geelong home in five years.
By 2041, some 154,000 new residents are expected to live there.