Top property developers are sharpening their pencils for a $2 billion opportunity on the edge of the Melbourne’s CBD, with the state government set finalise a shortlist of bidders within days.
Bids for the Treasury Square site, part of which would be built above rail-tracks, could come in above $500 million.
Major players including Dexus partnered by John Holland, Mirvac, Canadian powerhouse Brookfield, Lendlease and super fund developers Cbus and ISPT have all shown interest in the opportunity and are considered strong contenders.
The site itself occupies 13,600 square metres at the bottom of Spring Street on the southern side of Flinders Street, overlooking a major rail corridor. The cost of works to enable engineering issues to be dealt with must also be taken into consideration.
Using a deck above the rail lines as many as three commercial towers could be built, creating the potential for 130,000 square metres of real estate.
Fund manager Charter Hall, which already has a busy workbook in Melbourne, has opted not to submit a bid.
The bidding process process is being run by Colliers International and EY.
“The expression of interest process to develop vacant transport land in Melbourne’s CBD has the potential to create jobs and attract new businesses,” a government spokeswoman said.
“A high number of submissions were received during the EOI process and these are being evaluated.”
The state government is keen to replenish its coffers after a half-billion-dollar writedown in GST receipts from the Commonwealth.
The legacy of the property downturn blew a $5.2 billion hole in the state budget in May over the forward estimates, which triggered higher taxes on foreign property buyers, a gold royalty and a steeper tax on luxury cars.
The countdown for the Melbourne opportunity comes at the end of a big year in commercial property, with a rush of bids for major projects including the sale of Macquarie Group’s metro station tower development rights at 39 Martin Place in Sydney.
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