Employment service provider Seek is speculated to be the latest tenant to be lured to the CBD, in the process of pre-committing to a Dexus Property Group building unveiled four years ago for a prominent Flinders Street site, opposite Federation Square.
Seek is expected to occupy most or all of the proposed 20,000-square-metre Flinders Gate development – a glass tower set to rise 11 storeys replacing a major car park behind two century-old heritage buildings, the facades of which will be restored.
With large floor plates of about 2200 square metres, the proposed A-grade office space will offer close-range views of the Yarra River and Southbank arts precinct.
Dexus will incorporate the former Ball and Welch building, developed in the 1890s, and rising eight levels from the 180 Flinders Street site, into the new commercial development.
The proposal unveiled in 2012 included a second Flinders Lane entrance around a lifestyle precinct with bars and restaurants.
A spokeswoman from the Sydney-based property giant declined to comment on “market speculation” from several agency sources that a lease deal to Seek is imminent. A Seek representative was unavailable.
It was reported last October that Seek had shortlisted Flinders Gate with another CBD building.
Seek is committed to 541 St Kilda Road, a building for which it has naming rights, until 2017. It would be paying considerably more to move to higher quality CBD offices.
Other office tenants to move to the CBD-Docklands from the suburbs in recent years include Viva Energy, formerly known as Shell, NEC and Philip Morris.
A Seek deal would cap off a busy month for Dexus. Earlier this week the fund manager was granted permission to build a $300 million high-rise apartment project with two towers rising 56 and 18 levels at 32-44 Flinders Street.
Dexus also recently sold its Southgate complex on the Yarra River for $578 million.
Long-forgotten Abbotsford block to be replaced
One of Australia’s most successful Greek immigrant businessman, octogenarian petroleum mogul, Andreas Andrianopoulos, plans to build a landmark apartment tower on an abandoned, super-prominent corner site, in Melbourne’s inner east.
The businessman has lodged plans to replace a former Mobil petrol station at the north-east corner of Victoria and Nicholson streets, Abbotsford, in the heart of the city’s “Little Saigon” precinct, with an eight-level mixed-use project containing 74 flats and six ground-floor retail tenancies.
Within the Victoria Street Major Activity Centre precinct, the developer’s application, being reviewed by the City of Yarra council, claims the proposed project will achieve a high standard of residential amenity including an open space, be it a balcony or terrace.
The one-bedroom units will measure a minimum of 48 square metres while the two-bedroom apartments will range from 70 square metres to 90 square metres.
Andrianopoulos’ empire reportedly includes some 50 petrol station properties, many in prime locations, which would make ideal apartment blocks longer term. He now runs a network of businesses with his sons, who are also listed as the owners of 329-341 Victoria Street.
Calder Park eras ending
The Calder Park Raceway site is set to be sold to residential developers. Photo: Kylie Northover
Two substantial sites connected to former race car driver Bob Jane – including the Calder Park Raceway – are set to exchange to residential developers.
Agency sources confirmed a 3AW Rumour File call on Wednesday that the motor racing circuit, established 54 years ago and for years known as the Melbourne International Raceway, is speculated to selling to a major but as-yet-unknown residential developer.
The Calder Park site, which includes the Thunderdome complex, opened in the late 1980s, around what was once considered Melbourne’s north-west outskirts, but is today a popular spot for new housing estates.
Meanwhile this week, around the corner, Bob Jane’s family home in Holden Road, Plumpton, has also been listed for public sale via RT Edgar.
The offering includes a 58.3 hectare parcel separate from a 13.8 hectare plot, which contains Jane’s large family home. The sites are also expected to generate builder interest.
Last July, Bob Jane’s ex-wife, Laree, pocketed a reported $2 million selling the Alexandra Avenue, South Yarra, penthouse, for years the couple’s marital domain.
The former model, or administrators for her, have also in recent years offered for sale commercial assets in Carlton, Wodonga and Chapel Street, South Yarra.
Hudson Conway HQ being shopped again
Hudson Conway is communicating with under-bidders and new bidders, after a $13.5 million deal to sell its Southbank headquarters to a Chinese developer, fell through.
Said to have failed because of funding issues, director Nick Williams told The Age “it was disappointing that the transaction didn’t take place, however these things happen”.
The billionaire Williams family obtained a permit to replace the 834 square metre site with a 16-level, 91 unit apartment complex before sale.
But with an end value of about $50 million the project is not large-scale enough for the developer.
“It is an ideal project and many years ago it would have been something we would develop ourselves but in today’s world it is just too small for us to deliver,” he said.
An earlier plan by the family to replace 250 Sturt Street with a 41-level, 304-unit apartment building was refused by planning authorities.
Hudson Conway also recently sold a 42-hectare housing estate in the regional town of Thurgoona at the Victoria-NSW border.
CBRE’s Mark Wizel, Bianca Butterworth and Lewis Tong are representing the Williams family, offloading 250 Sturt Street.
Not-for-profits behind two tower proposals
Not-for-profit organisations are behind two major apartment proposals.
At 130 Little Collins Street, the Uniting Church of Australia has applied to build a 33-level tower on its 605 sq m plot – replacing an eight-level, brown brick office completed in 1967.
The application, with architect firm Elenberg Fraser, comes a year after the group publicly sought a collaborative development partnership to replace the building known as the Uniting Church Centre.
South of the CBD, at 619 St Kilda Road, Jewish Care Victoria is also seeking to substantially increase the density of its prime site.
The group has called for a builder to construct what will be a 10-level, aged-care complex, with 156 beds and space for a medical, employment and education centre.
JCV’s proposal will also add a cafe and convenience store to the St Kilda Road pocket.
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