After obtaining a permit to build one of suburban Melbourne’s tallest towers, the owner of a central Box Hill development site has sold it for a price thought to be in excess of $16 million.
A Chinese builder outmuscled other offshore and local developers to snare 9-11 Prospect Street, a 1475-square-metre block with approval for a 25-level building with offices and 187 flats.
Development sites in Melbourne’s suburbs have reported boom like conditions this year, with one driver being interest from offshore developers spooked by oversupply fears in the CBD.
The site, 14 kilometres east of town and serviced by the Box Hill train station and trams, is within a precinct government planners have for decades earmarked as an activity centre.
It is near 545 Station Street, which made headlines in 2010 when its then owner proposed a 39-level building, which would have been Melbourne’s tallest suburban skyscraper (that title will soon belong to the Capitol Grand building in South Yarra which is under construction and set to rise 50 storeys).
In 2012, amended plans to replace 545 Station Street with a 33-storey building (the lower levels of which would have been a car park) were also met with local controversy.
But today it is hard to find a developer buying into Box Hill with plans for anything less than 30 levels.
In June, a Chinese developer paid more than $30 million for a 2650-square-metre property at 826-830 Whitehorse Road, a site which could make way for two towers of more than 30 storeys.
A 35-level apartment complex has also been proposed for 837 Whitehorse Road, which sold in May for $13 million. Skyscrapers of about this height are also expected to rise from 517-521 Station Street and 525 Station Street, which exchanged recently to builders.
Box Hill’s first skyscraper – a 20-level office at 990 Whitehorse Road leased to the Australian Taxation Office – has just been completed.
Asian Pacific Building Corporation is also building two towers of 26 and 35 levels at its Whitehorse Towers complex at 850 Whitehorse Road.
Even organisations not typically in the development game have decided to join in the Box Hill development boom. In 2014, Freemasons Victoria teamed with Little Projects, the construction company owned by billionaire Paul Little, to replace a 1923 Masonic Hall with an 11-level building containing 100 dwellings.
“We’ve had a really strong year in the Box Hill market selling several sites for very strong prices,” Clinton Baxter, one of the selling agents from Savills, said. “The landscape of Box Hill is set to change dramatically” he added, making reference to the towers set to sprout over the next three years.
Mr Baxter marketed 9-11 Prospect Street with colleagues Nick Peden and Julian Heatherich, who said the multiple offers were submitted following an expressions of interest campaign which closed on November 30. The vendor was a Melbourne investor.