Melbourne's Agosta family unveils $350m suburban office tower
An artist’s impression of Bamfa’s Swan Street tower proposal.

Melbourne's Agosta family unveils $350m suburban office tower

Melbourne’s Agosta family, whose interests span childcare centres, building supplies and property development, has unveiled plans to build a $350 million office tower in Richmond as it looks to cash in on strong demand and limited supply in the city’s trendy inner suburbs.

Plans for the 14-storey tower at 484-488 Swan Street have been lodged with the City of Yarra by the family’s Bamfa Properties, led by brothers Adam and Luke Agosta.

The brothers also run Nino Early Learning centres, a major childcare centre developer and operator in Melbourne.

The proposed 27,000 sq m Richmond office building neighbours a larger $410 million office development by Charter Hall and PDG Corporation at 480 Swan Street that last year secured Australia Post as the anchor tenant and institutional backing from the Victorian Funds Management Corporation.

Australia Post’s decision to relocate from Melbourne CBD to the Burnley precinct of hipster Richmond highlighted the growing appeal of the inner suburbs, which offer more affordable rents and good amenity for employees seeking to work closer to home.

Other blue-chip companies to call Richmond or neighbouring Cremorne home include Domain, Seek, Uber, Reece, Tesla, MYOB. Walt Disney and Bunnings.

“We are more than confident that we will have a tenant locked in before the end of the year and by the time planning is resolved,” Bamfa Properties managing director Adam Agosta told The Australian Financial Review.

“We are working with [leasing] agents and there’s enough breadth in the market to allow that to happen.

“There’s a really limited supply of quality office product in Burnley and Cremorne especially with larger floor plates and ours is the best out there in terms of design, location and amenity,” Mr Agosta said.

The proposal is a fresh stab at the developing the 3500 sq m site, which the Agostas have amalgamated through the acquisition of three neighbouring properties for around $33 million.

An earlier $190 million office tower proposal in a joint venture with developer Clement Lee’s Riverlee has been shelved with the Agostas choosing to go it alone on the more ambitious plans.

The Agostas also owned the neighbouring 480 Swan Street site – the former home of its Mitchell Building Supplies business – before selling it with a permit to Charter Hall.

The proposed 484 Swan Street development will offer large floor plates of up to 2,400sqm and substantial garden terraces on most floor levels as well as being carbon-neutral.

Importantly, the Burnley train station offering a short commute into the CBD or back out to the suburbs is across the road, while trams run up and down nearby Swan Street.

With business leaders battling the work-from-home revolution, Mr Agosta said making it easy for people to return to work was high on the agenda in the early conversations with prospective tenants.

“Undeniably they’re also attracted to rents in Burnley when compared to the CBD. For some of these businesses they could save up to a third of what they are currently paying,” he said.