One of Melbourne’s daggiest and shabbiest shopping centres, Northcote Plaza, is poised for a revamp as developer Les Smith reveals plans for a $500 million redevelopment.
Mr Smith’s LAS Group has emerged as last year’s $35 million buyer of the soon to close Kmart and the smaller of the Plaza’s two Coles supermarkets, giving him control of 15,300 square metres of the 18,000-square-metre shopping centre.
“Northcote Plaza has held an almost iconic status in the community for almost 40 years. We see this as an opportunity to reinvigorate and revitalise the precinct,” Mr Smith said.
The Northcote Green plans, devised by Woods Bagot, include a new apartment tower, a cinema, a gym, a 5000-square-metre office and a new 3500-square-metre supermarket.
It will be the second apartment building to tower over the Plaza’s car park and neighbouring All Nations Park – the former Northcote tip.
It could be a shock to the neighbourhood which seeks comfort in the Plaza’s dim 1990s-era lighting and fit-outs.
However, trade will go on as normal at the Plaza because the strata-owned shops not controlled by Mr Smith are owned by individual investors.
Interestingly, Mr Smith promises a strategic re-weighting of Plaza’s tenancies, doubling its food and beverage tenants to 8.6 per cent in a bid to improve “footfall and dwell times in the centre.”
As if there weren’t already plenty of people sitting around drinking coffee and watching the passing crowds.
The Plaza sits back from the corner of Separation and High Streets on the old brickworks. A separate shopping centre, Northcote Central, fronts the High Street and is undergoing renovations.
A report by Macroplan indicates Northcote’s average retail spend is 11 per cent higher than the Melbourne average.
The moves at the Plaza come as retired footballer-developer Clint Bartram loses control of another Northcote development site, the prominent London Chartered Bank of Australia building down the hill at 342 High Street.
The Italian Renaissance style building and its neighbour have been put to the market through Gray Johnson by the mortgagee holder.
Both buildings on the 1050 sq m site are vacant and come with a permit for 23 apartments and four commercial spaces.
There is a two level basement carpark with rear access from Balgonie Place which provides access to the development.
Gray Johnson agent Matt Hoath said the site is expected to fetch around $5 million. Mr Bartram paid $3.75 million in March 2018. Expressions of interest close on August 27.
Records show another site in Mr Bartram’s Northcote portfolio, 43-47 Simpson Street near Dennis station, was bought by developer Srinivasulu Bandla, who paid $3.3 million, well short of its original $4.1 million price.
Aged care provider Blue Cross is selling off surplus land next to its Scotchmans’ Creek facility in Mount Waverley.
The 9642 square metre parcel of land at 454 Waverley Road is squeezed between the creek and Blue Cross’ existing facility.
The Scotchmans Creek centre’s website boasts of its “natural bushland” setting.
“If you appreciate the great outdoors, you will feel right at home with its meandering creek and walking paths running through the property for residents and visitors to enjoy,” its website promises.
Hopefully the residents won’t lose too much of that bushy ambience when the land sells.
CBRE agents Nathan Mufale, David Minty, Marcello Caspani-Muto and Jimmy Tat have the listing which they suggest could attract town house or child care centre developers.
It’s in the coveted Mount Waverley Secondary College catchment zone where house prices easily push past the $2 million mark.
It’s expected to sell for more than $5 million.
Financial planning outfit, the Yarra Consulting Group is off-loading its East Hawthorn office.
It’s made up of two adjoining buildings at 345-347 Riversdale Road, on an 878 sq m corner site between Auburn village and Camberwell Junction.
CBRE agents David Minty, Nathan Mufale, Scott Hawthorne and Sandro Peluso are handling the expressions of interest campaign.
Mr Mufale said the prime eastern suburbs location meant many buyers could at least walk by to check out the property.
“It’s likely to be in the 5km zone of most of our buyers. They won’t be able to inspect inside but they can look at it from the outside,” he said.
The owner-occupiers have owned it since 2017, paying $1.75 million. It’s carrying a $4 million-plus price tag this time around.
West of the junction in Camberwell, a vacant 1080 sq m showroom at 1360 Toorak Road in Burwood Village is up for grabs. It was most recently occupied by a Cash Converters outlet.
Gorman Kelly agents Nick Breheny and Aldo Galante are running the expressions of interest campaign with Gross Waddell’s Michael Gross and Andrew Greenway. They are expecting in the high $3- $4 million range for the corner site.
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