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Brighton socialite Coral Knowles buys Sorrento’s Sportsgirl for $4.07m

March 14, 2019

There were nine bidders for the Sportsgirl shop in Sorrento. Photo: Supplied

Melbourne socialite Coral Knowles, the wife of rich lister John Knowles, has grabbed a slice of Sorrento’s Ocean Beach Road retail strip after securing the Sportsgirl shop at auction for $4.07 million.

Ms Knowles saw off eight bidders for the 54-56 Ocean Beach Road property, which sold on a sub 3 per cent yield and at a building rate of over $22,000 per square metre – a Sorrento retail property record, according to selling agents CBRE.

The Saturday auction attracted a large crowd, who watched the property sell under the hammer for more than $1 million above the reserve price of $3 million. The vendors were the Stringers, a prominent Mornington Peninsula family.

A spokesman for the Knowles Group, which runs aged care business Arcare, said Ms Knowles had acquired the Sportsgirl shop as a “long-term hold” with the potential for future redevelopment.

The upmarket Mornington Peninsula shopping precinct has been the scene for a number of big auction results in recent years with competition among wealthy Melburnian bidders and Sorrento locals pushing commercial property values to new heights.

Positive signs for strip retail market

CBRE selling agents Rorey James, Mark Wizel, Nic Hage and JJ Heng said over 200 people turned up to watch the auction of the shop.

“The strong bidding is a positive sign for the wider Victorian strip retail market, particularly given that there are only 2.5 years remaining on the Sportsgirl lease,” Mr James said.

“It highlights the depth of capital in the market seeking well-located retail investments. The campaign generated significant interest from locals who either own a holiday home or live nearby. We’re also fielding increasing interest in Mornington Peninsula investments from offshore parties.”

Last year, Melbourne’s Anna and Giuseppe Pollio paid $7.13 million for the 1905-built Post and Telegraph building, home to a Country Road store, at 10-16 Ocean Beach offered for sale by former Rothschild Australia chairman Peter Griffin. The deal was struck on a 3.6 per cent yield.

In 2016, the Mitre 10 hardware store at 80-98 Ocean Beach sold for $11.47 million, more than double the expected price, to Melbourne property developer Colin DeLutis. It followed a controversial auction, which saw bidding restarted after the hammer had fallen. The yield was 0.4 per cent.

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