Veteran Sydney developer Harry Triguboff AO buys first Melbourne site

Harry Triguboff AO – a prominent builder in Sydney for more than five decades, and for a year in 2016 ranked Australia’s wealthiest person – has purchased his first Melbourne development site.

The 86-year old is paying a reported $29 million for the 792 square metre block at 140-146 King Street, within the city’s financial district.

The site was listed for sale last year with planning approval for a Rothelowman designed 57-level building with 263 apartments (artist’s impression, below).

An artist’s impression of the 57-level apartment tower permitted to replace 140-146 King Street, Melbourne.

Mr Triguboff, via his Meriton Suites brand, is instead proposing to build a serviced apartment complex.

Currently accommodating a vacant three-storey office and retail building, with a gross building area of 2260 sqm, the asset last sold for $10 million in 2013.

Vendor Besgate listed 140-146 King Street for sale last year – one of three properties, estimated at the time to be worth a total of about $120 million. The others, both in Melbourne, were 640 Bourke Street and 558-566 Swanston Street.

Colliers International’s Trent Hobart, Oliver Hay, David Sia and Jozef Dickinson managed the expressions of interest campaign for King Street.

An aerial image used in marketing showing 140-146 King Street relative to the corner of Bourke and Little Collins streets.

“The competitive sale process generated a total of 11 offers, which is a reflection of the ongoing strong interest in permitted apartment development sites in the Melbourne CBD and fringe,” Mr Hay
said.

“We had offers from a wide range of purchasers including residential developers, hotel developers, student accommodation groups and owner occupiers. In the end, Meriton and Harry Triguboff were the purchaser, representing their first investment into Melbourne.”

Mr Triguboff is a prominent apartment builder in Sydney, in recent years diversifying into other markets, including Brisbane, but never Melbourne.

Mr Hobart said permitted sites such as this were increasingly hard to come by.

The agent is referring to the consequences of a planning amendment – C270 – which put tighter restrictions on the density a developer can apply to a site.

140-146 King Street, Melbourne, as it stands today.

In practice, the amendment also sees greater setbacks and a focus on more liveable apartment design.

Following its introduction in November 2016, the base floor ratio for a building on most city land, was set at 18:1.

The site at 140-146 King Street was permitted for a much more substantial project with a plot ratio of 31:1.

One of the other properties Besgate listed for sale – 640 Bourke Street – also benefited from winning a permit for a dense apartment building, prior to the C270 amendment

“Planning permits like this one achieved by Besgate and Korda Mentha are fast becoming a rare commodity, with the adverse affects of planning amendment C270 only now becoming relevant,” Mr Hobart said.

“With only about four permits issued in the last three years in the CBD, we will be facing a significant undersupply of development sites and development of any kind in the CBD in the years to come. The race to secure the last development sites in the CBD and the city fringe is on.”

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Marc Pallisco

Marc Pallisco

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

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