Toorak Road, the commercial thoroughfare which runs through some of Melbourne’s most affluent suburbs, is emerging as a development hotspot after local firm Orchard Piper secured a 1000 square metre parcel where it plans to build $100 million worth of apartments, offices and shops.
Orchard Piper’s $20 million deal for the amalgamated corner site at 424-426 Toorak Road and 109 Mathoura Road follows Bill McNee’s Vicland paying $80 million in July 2019 for the Village Way shopping arcade across the road at 489-505 Toorak Road (where a $600 million office and retail development was approved last year).
Earlier this year, Melbourne developer Oreana Property Group paid almost $50 million for two neighbouring sites further up Toorak Road, next door to South Yarra Train Station. It is home to a retail and office complex, and Oreana plans to transform it into a luxury hotel and wellness centre.
Orchard Piper, founded by Rick Gronow and Luke McKie, focuses on developing high-end, boutique residential developments in suburbs like Toorak, South Yarra and East Melbourne.
It spent the last two years negotiating with the Butler and Mendleson families to amalgamate and acquire six individual properties into their latest development opportunity.
It plans to develop a seven-storey building featuring “super-premium” fronting Mathoura Road with high-end retail and commercial spaces fronting Toorak Road.
“This site, being the most prominent, north-facing corner of [Toorak] village, presents an opportunity for us to invest in the area in a really tangible, long-term way,” said Mr McKie.
“The architectural response to this site should reflect the significance of its location.”
Orchard Piper will collaborate with interior architect firm Jolson on the project and hopes to submit plans to Stonnington council in the coming months.
Construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2022.
The developer will retain the retail and commercial component of the building, with the top commercial floors to become its headquarters and permanent base in Toorak Village.
Local pharmacist C. Wallis & Son Est, which has occupied the corner store at 426 Toorak Road since 1981, has signed a pre-lease agreement to remain at the same location within the new development when it is completed.
Signalling its confidence in the project being approved, Orchard Piper has already begun discussions with potential apartment buyers, including one who has requested the inclusion of eight carparks which will require an additional basement level.
The Toorak Road acquisition is the third site acquired by Orchard Piper during the pandemic, including an amalgamated 1200sq m site at 364-370 Albert Street in East Melbourne
In March, Orchard Piper secured approval for a nine-storey apartment development in East Melbourne. There will be just 14 apartment in the $120 million project, and two floors of office space.
The $120 million project will comprise 14 apartments across six levels and two floors for commercial tenancies, all with views of Melbourne’s CBD or the Fitzroy Gardens