Valmorbida family sell ex-GJ Coles store to Chemist Warehouse executives

GJ Coles developed 117 Upper Heidelberg Road in 1940.

The Valmorbida family has sold the historic ex-GJ Coles Ivanhoe store, in the heart of a vibrant strip retail precinct, to executives who own Chemist Warehouse, which leases it.

Chemist Warehouse pays annual rent of $169,334 ex-GST at Ivanhoe.

On 749 square metres at 117 Upper Heidelberg Road, the c1940 Moderne building, which was 14 years ago recommended for an overlay as part of the Banyule Heritage Review, traded for $5.715 million.

Chemist Warehouse owners purchased a Forest Hill store (outlined) from a landlord.

The result, following an auction with five other suitors, was some 27 per cent over the ($4.5m) reserve.

It also reflects a low 2.96pc yield; Chemist Warehouse has been paying annual rent of $169,334 – a price up for review in September.

The pharmacy’s lease expires in 2026 when it will be presented with a five year option.

Gross Waddell ICR’s Michael Gross and Alex Ham represented the Valmorbida family which owns several brands including Conga Foods and Sirena – the latter which recently leased a premium historic Elizabeth St office for its headquarters.

National Retail Group’s Michael Spektor acts for Chemist Warehouse – held by amongst others the Gance, Tascone and Verrocchi families – which has in recent months been the subject of a float.

Chemist Warehouse stamps presence at Ivanhoe

Diagonally adjacent to Ivanhoe Plaza at its rear, where it has a second street frontage, 117 Upper Heidelberg Rd contains 415 sqm and eight open-air car parks.

Chemist Warehouse has occupied for eight years.

Prior to 2010, the property was split as two tenancies, one rented to now redundant video chain, Blockbuster.

Like many stores occupied by the pharmacy, it is opposite or near a road crossing stopped by a traffic light.

It is also close to the family owned Mount’s Pharmacy – which, like Chemist Warehouse occupies a multi-front store, but has serviced the area for more than 40 years (story continues below).

Part of a Preston business park Chemist Warehouse executives are offering for lease.

Spending spree

Chemist Warehouse executives have over the last 24 months individually or as syndicates purchased prime strip retail investments, some which the pharmacy occupies.

At Kew, two suburbs or five kilometres south of Ivanhoe, company owners last November paid $5.325m for neighbouring shops covering 630 sqm across 129-135 High St.

With five tenancies, including a Baker’s Delight which opens to a public car park at its northern boundary, this investment is expected to longer term be occupied by Chemist Warehouse, which rents #121-#123, and has had a presence in the pocket for about eight years.

In Richmond’s Bridge Rd, meanwhile, in September, 2021, the group acquired a prominent ex-National Australia Bank abutting the suburb’s town hall, facing a crossing, and a property the pharmacy rents.

Agency sources speculate the business will be moved to the newer, higher profile 685 sqm property, at the north west corner of Gleadall St, near the site of the Gleadall Street Market, which runs Saturdays.

Earlier this year, Chemist Warehouse stakeholders outlaid $4.1m, reflecting a 4.3pc return, for the high profile, long time ex-Mackelly’s department store in the New South Wales town of Grafton.

Containing 1228 sqm over two floors – and opposite a crossing – it is presently leased to Cotton On. Chemist Warehouse occupies the property next door which, it is expected, it will attempt to switch with the fashion store.

The Ivanhoe deal is the second recent one struck with a landlord; last December it acquired a double fronted store in a tiny but busy Forest Hill strip retail precinct on Springvale Rd. That investment set the buyer back $2.72m – a 3.1pc return.

Chemist Warehouse also owns a large and recently renovated Preston office park, part which it recently moved its headquarters to.

Other parts – up to 3500 sqm – have recently been offered for lease via Mr Spektor and Vinci Carbone’s Joseph Carbone.

Subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.

Share or Recommend article

Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of