Open-air Heidelberg site sold for $4.9 million

Marc Pallisco
May 31 2014

An open-air car park at a busy Heidelberg junction - billed when it hit the market 14 months ago as being at Melbourne's highest point - has sold to local developer Caydon and will now make way for a $150 million mixed-use project.

The 3360-square-metre triangle-shaped block at 443 Upper Heidelberg Road is also bound by Burgundy Street and the Bell-Banksia Street link, about 10 kilometres from town.

Opposite the Austin and Mercy hospitals, and walking distance to both Eaglemont and Heidelberg train stations, the property was offloaded by a Fairfield GP who in 2004 paid a company in liquidation just $175,000 for it.

It sold for $4.9 million despite hitting the market last year with price expectations of more than $6 million.

Caydon plans to develop a mixed-use project on the site, with a medical complex and about 300 apartments - some configured as part of a hotel. Upper levels of any redevelopment would capitalise on 360-degree panoramic views capturing Port Phillip Bay, the You Yangs and the Yarra Valley.

Marketing agent John Castran of John H Castran said the site attracted interest from the medical sector, also being close to the Warringal Private Hospital.

In 2005, the City of Banyule council and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal rejected an application to replace 443 Upper Heidelberg Road with an 11-storey commercial building which would have included just 26 dwellings. In 2012, council valued the site at $2.77 million.

The purchase comes three months after Caydon launched a $200 million residential project, Ettaro, in East Brunswick.

Caydon has also recently started construction of its tallest project yet, the 26-level S.T.K building in St Kilda - the first major residential building approved by Planning Minister Matthew Guy in 2011.

Spec project

Spec Property has applied to develop its biggest local project yet, in West Melbourne.

Spec is seeking permission from Mr Guy to replace a low-rise office at 15-31 Batman Street with a 32-level mixed-use building that will include 1023 square metres of commercial space, 299 flats and 249 car park bays.

The property, for years owner-occupied by scientific equipment manufacturing business Glass Expansion, was listed for sale last July without a permit and with price expectations of more than $10 million. Central Equity is the biggest developer in the immediate area, recently completing an apartment complex, Flagstaff Place, at 53 Batman Street.

Developer interest in the suburb has surged following a precinct structure plan encouraging high-rise buildings around the North Melbourne train station (which is actually in West Melbourne).

Elsewhere in Melbourne, Spec is replacing 96 Camberwell Road, Hawthorn East, with a residential complex, Elmington.

This site, for years occupied by a variety of small businesses, overlooks Fritsch Holzer Park. It is also developing a 20-level complex, Ella, in South Yarra.

Going, going …

A prominent Hawthorn development site, being offloaded by interests associated with a successful business that ran from there for years, is expected to sell for about $25 million and make way for a village. The former Going Going Green site is spread over 7000 square metres at 196-202 Burwood Road and 1-9 Drill Street.

For sale with vacant possession and targeting developers, the land is expected to make way for a mixed-use complex in three or more buildings. Between the Glenferrie and Hawthorn train stations, the site has 170 metres of street frontage.

CBRE's Scott Orchard and Mark Wizel are representing the former retail family, with Gross Waddell's Michael Gross and Andrew Waddell.

School sale

The Napthine government has offloaded another former education facility - pocketing $4.2 million for the former Doveton North Primary School at 25-35 Rowan Drive in Melbourne's outer south-east.

The school was one of nine closed by the former ALP government and listed for sale by the Napthine government this year after a rezoning (some to allow for medium-density residential projects).

In this case, that rezoning was unnecessary, with Fitzroys' Peter Weatherby and Dean Alexander selling the two-hectare Doveton North site to another school, Ilim College of Australia.

Mr Alexander said eight offers were received for the site.

The most valuable school within the portfolio, the former Brandon Park Secondary College in Wheelers Hill, sold earlier this month for $47.5 million to New Zealand-listed retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare. Savills, which sold that school, is expecting $9 million for another school in the Doveton area, at 64-70 Box Street.

Dive right in

Meanwhile, on the coast in Anglesea - nearly two hours south-west of Melbourne - the Department of Treasury and Finance is selling a former school on behalf of the Department of Education - seeking $3 million.

The Camp Road block, not far from the Great Ocean Road, is expected to make way for a 20-plus lot subdivision. Ian Lawless and Marty Maher of Great Ocean Properties Anglesea are marketing the site. The school relocated to a new facility, on a cheaper inland site, in 2008.

Controversial site

Boutique architect and builder Lustig & Moar - founded by Max Moar and his late father-in-law Ted Lustig in 1971 and now co-owned with his former wife Iris - has swooped on a controversial development site in Caulfield North.

Lustig & Moar is believed to be paying about $8 million for a collection of properties spread across 1307 square metres between 356-364 Orrong Road. The site was offered earlier this year with a permit for a 56-unit mixed-use complex and a ground-level supermarket.

The proposed development was opposed by locals who said such a medium-density apartment complex was out of character for the largely low-rise area.

Gross Waddell's Michael Gross and Jonathan McCormack declined to comment when contacted.

Regulars on the BRW rich list, Iris and Max about seven years ago paid record prices for works by artists Albert Tucker, Brett Whiteley, Sidney Nolan and John Olsen. In the 1980s the family amassed a substantial portfolio of office towers, hotels and shopping centres.

A few years ago, the group offloaded a development site abutting the West Gate Freeway at 42-48 Balston Street, Southbank, now making way for an apartment complex called Marco.

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