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Bondi unit block nets $12 million after 80-year family investment

November 23, 2018

The corner property in Bondi, where the Fruitologist is, has sold for the first time in 80 years. Photo: Mark Merton Photography

A block of units in Sydney’s Bondi that has been in the same family for 80 years has sold for $12 million.

The Virgona family held the two-storey San Remo building at 151-157 Bondi Road, which is a local heritage item, for decades.

The Torrens-titled property, which was originally bought by the current owners’ grandparents in the 1930s, was part of the family’s extensive property portfolio across Sydney.

The San Remo building is a local heritage item and was purchased in the 1930s. Photo: Supplied The San Remo building is a local heritage item and was purchased in the 1930s. Photo: Supplied

The eight-unit Bondi Road building was snapped up by a private investor from the suburb on a 4.89 per cent yield with plans to “just sit on it”, CBRE selling agent Gemma Isgro said.

While they have no intention to develop it yet that could change if the strip is granted higher floor-space ratios and height limits, she said, though “nothing is concrete”.

Currently, the height limit is 13 metres, or about four storeys, with a floor-space ratio of 1.5:1, meaning the maximum floor space allowed on the site is 1485 square metres.

A few properties away on Bondi Road, Walker Corporation and Kemeny’s liquor store want to build a mixed-use development at number 137-147, with the floor-space ratio increased to 3:1.

The San Remo block is set on a 771-square-metre site with 990 square metres of floor space.

The property received 18 offers, 378 inquiries and more than 60 groups inspected the site.

Other interested buyers included owners of similar buildings around the eastern suburbs, as well as interstate and offshore buyers.

“Multi-unit blocks are defensive assets and (especially those) in prime locations in the eastern suburbs along busy retails strips along Bondi Road and Coogee Bay Road,” Ms Isgro said.

“There’s little risk for retail vacancy and demand from residential accommodation.”

The interwar free classical-style building is tenanted by two well-known Bondi retail stores, Fruitologist, operated by Alfredo and Danny Macri since the 1950s, and one of the suburb’s oldest bakeries Wellington Cake Shop, which has been run by the Brull family since 1976.

Both retail tenants pay a combined $367,417 in annual rents and have six-month demolition clauses in their leases.

The eight residential tenants generate about $220,000 a year in rental income.

Ms Isgro sold the property with CBRE colleagues Nicholas Heaton and Paul Grasso.

Not far away, a 2700-square-metre site in Bondi Junction is on the market and could fetch about $40 million.

The six properties included in the block, zoned for mixed use, are 45, 47-49 and 53-57 Oxford Street, 5-7 and 9 Denison Street and 2 Mill Hill Road.

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