Vision Australia Sells More Property

The sale of the 5000-square-metre High Street site is expected to reap about $15 million for the charity, which it has used as offices.

The charity is also expected to make around $30 million from its 1.5-hectare Royal Institute of the Blind property at 557-563 St Kilda Road.

The Prahan site at 201-209 High Street comprises a 13,711 square-metre building on 4507 sq m of land. Steve Bolton of Jones Lang LaSalle said the property was an “agent’s dream”.

“This is quite rare _ how often do you come by 5000 square metres of business-grade land in an inner-suburban location?” he said.

The building fronts High Street , Clifton Street and Anchor place and is zoned Business 1.

Part of it has five levels, including a basement and four upper levels; the rest is two-storey. The site also includes a paved, 463 sq m carpark zoned Business 2.

Mr Bolton said the site was ripe for development, and new buildings could go up to about six or seven storeys. There was also potential for an owner-occupier to buy the property with a view to refurbishment.

Meanwhile in nearby St Kilda Road , Vision Australia is close to selling its landmark Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind building and land holding.

Ernst & Young national real estate advisory services director Marcus Willison, who is marketing the property, told The Age a shortlist has been defined for the property, and that an announcement about a buyer is a couple of weeks away. Stockland is understood to be the early favourite vying for the site.

The sale of Vision Australia ‘s two properties can be explained by the latest property buzzword: “under-utilisation”.

That is, organisations that have valuable properties on city and inner-suburban land, and which are not making much money from them, are cashing in and letting others develop the

Andrew Dawkins of CB Richard Ellis South Yarra said Vision Australia ‘s sales were “part of an ongoing trend in the city fringe”. “Companies are looking to get out of older-style, under-utilised accommodation and take advantage of a strong market.”

Other recent examples include the Australian Red Cross Blood Service, which sold its Balston Street Southbank headquarters to Central Equity and Berry Street Victoria which sold its headquarters of 128-years, at 1 Berry Street, to Becton.

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Marc Pallisco

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