Tender won for alpine landmark

BY Marc Pallisco
THE AGE  MARCH 11 2017

The state government has selected Richmond developer Ben Genser from a shortlist, which also included Rino Grollo, to develop what was marketed as “the most significant site ever offered in the Australian alps”.

The Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board office occupies a 1905-square-metre plot acknowledged by the government in its tender last year as “universally regarded as the best location in Mount Hotham”.

Elevated and abutting the Corall car park on its eastern boundary, the block at 28 Great Alpine Road is opposite Hotham Central, White Crystal Apartments and a short distance to the helipad and Road Runner chairlift.

Mr Genser’s Belgrave Group is now expected to develop a five-level mixed use building including a new MHARMB headquarters, offices for ski patrol services, a medical centre, retail, residential apartments and a hotel component.

With a speculated end value of more than $100 million, the proposed new complex is allowed to cover a high 1600 square metres – or about 84 per cent – of the block.

Avid skier John Castran, director of Melbourne agency Castran which has an alpine real estate division, marketed the block for the state government last year. He said the site was hotly contested before the government shortlisted three contenders in about October.

Also in the Mount Hotham region in recent months, a Singaporean group paid $4.8 million for a day spa at 125 Big Muster Drive, Dinner Plain, which upon the lease expiring will be converted into a cancer clinic/wellness centre.

Wyndham Vacation Resorts South Pacific has also recently made a major Dinner Plain acquisition, acquiring the Peppers Rundells Alpine Lodge. It has also paid varying prices ranging from $195,000 to $1.75 million to acquire another 36 chalets in the popular winter holiday area.

Mr Castran also represented Wyndham to buy these chalets. The group has more than 53,000 timeshare owners in its Worldmark South Pacific Club.

The agent said that while there has been sales and development activity in Dinner Plain, little has been happening at Hotham “as buyers want to be in the village centre and there has been no land to develop until the EOI”.

The government’s shortlist of developers also included Hotham Heights ski business Hoys and Melbourne developer Rino Grollo, who mid-last year unveiled plans to build a luxury residential village, Whitehorse Towers, in another ski community, Mount Buller. That proposed complex will include three-level townhouses atop a garage.

In 2015 the Ski Club of Victoria turned property developer at Mt Buller, unveiling plans to replace a central property with a four-level apartment and hospitality complex, The Whitt, for its members and guests. The 12-unit complex was designed by renowned Melbourne architect and SCV member, Peter McIntyre.

It was also in this year when race car identity Garry Dumbrell paid Rino Grollo $1.7 million for the luxury Mount Buller Chalet Howqua penthouse. Mr Grollo also sold a strata-titled retail space in the pocket to businesswoman Rose Yong, who reopened it after a refurbishment as luxury restaurant Popo.

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