Bondi’s iconic Bates Milk Bar site has sold for $19.12 million after a marathon auction during which some of Sydney’s most recognised developers battled it out for ownership.
At least 100 people watched for close to an hour as a massive 47 bids were made on the prime site at the corner of Campbell Parade and Hall Street.
Judging by the capacity crowd at Colliers’ Grosvenor Place offices, it was the listing everyone had come to see – and bidders made sure it was worth their while.
The building occupies a prominent corner site on Campbell Parade. Photo: Supplied
At the start there were nine bidders, including a party from Hong Kong. But by the time auctioneer Damien Cooley had declared the property officially on the market at $18 million, he was dealing with just two – each one of the biggest developers in Sydney.
At the front of the room sat Theo Onisforou, the owner of Darlinghurst’s Astoria Hotel.
Two rows behind him, just behind the Bates family, sat the part-owner of nearby The Bondi and Pacific Bondi Beach, Allen Linz, bidding on behalf of a group consisting of himself and fellow owners Eduard Litver and Gil Baron.
Mr Onisforou was the more vocal of the two bidders, with Mr Cooley answering one of his low-ball bids with “Don’t be smart”.
Mr Onisforou replied: “It’s my money.”
Auctioneer Damien Cooley during the marathon bidding session. Photo: Supplied
His money it may have been but by Mr Onisforou’s own admission, he didn’t quite “have enough” to top Mr Linz’s winning bid of $19.12 million.
Mr Linz said the site would eventually be developed in a locally oriented vein as a continuation of the group’s other Bondi purchases, with a focus on incorporating retail with public art and fixed outdoor seating.
However, in the short term there would be no dramatic changes.
“It’ll be developed, exactly what into I can’t say now,” he told Commercial Real Estate after the auction.
“Not because I don’t want to say, but just because there are so many options. It’s the most prominent retail site in Bondi.”
Prime real estate – the site sits next to Australia’s most famous beach. Photo: Supplied
The Bates family opened the in 1951 and it stopped trading in 2001. Tenants including Platypus Shoes, Gelatissimo, Natalie Alamein and Mezi Retail now occupy the site and there are residential tenancies above.
Joint-listing agent Miron Solomons, of Colliers International, said the property had generated a massive amount of interest.
“I think it was a record number of inquiries and there was strong bidding from the nine bidders in the room on the day which is a reflection on the strength of the Sydney market, particularly in beachside suburbs where there’s a short supply of freehold assets and where corner-site freehold assets attract particular interest,” he said.
“The campaign registered close to 200 inquiries.”
Mr Solomons, who sold the property with colleague Matt Pontey and Cushman and Wakefield’s Anthony Bray, said the selling price was unprecedented considering the size of the building.
“It equates to around $57,000 per square metre … I’m not quite certain if that’s a record, but I sure haven’t seen anything like that during my time as an agent,” he said.
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