The University of Technology Sydney bought a historic warehouse in Chippendale at auction on Monday night for $11.25 million.
More than half a dozen registered bidders competed for the 420-square-metre site, pushing the result about $4 million above expectations.
Harriet France, of Sotheby’s International, had a guide of $7.5 million that remained unchanged throughout the campaign, and confirmed expectations remained at that level when the opening bid of $6 million was placed.
The property has been partially used as advertising offices for the past 20 years. Photo: Supplied
Four active bidders, including owner of Pyrmont’s Terminus Hotel, David Mathlin, and an unnamed telephone bidder, tussled for the property at a capacity conference room at the InterContinental Double Bay on Monday night.
UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Resources) Patrick Woods said the university had acquired the Buckland Street site as part of its strategy to strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurship ”ecosystem” in the inner city.
“We’ll use this space to further support the thriving precinct startup ecosystem, of which we are a major partner,” Mr Woods said.
Mr Woods said that the site’s location put it at the heart of the startup precinct that had developed at the southern end of the CBD, including the Ultimo, Chippendale, Pyrmont and Darling Harbour areas.
“UTS is at the heart of a precinct that has become a hub of innovative activity, in fact one of the two largest startup precincts in all of Australia,” Mr Woods said.
“The university’s strategy focuses on student innovation and entrepreneurship and opening up UTS’s cutting-edge facilities and resources to startups and the community.”
The heritage-listed warehouse, built in about 1900 for shirt manufacturer W.A. Davidson on what was once the Blackfriars Estate, is currently classified commercial, and has served as a factory, the import headquarters of Alfa Romeo cars and a publishing house during its time.
Downstairs has been used as a smash repair business. Photo: Supplied
Most recently it has been used as advertising offices and a smash repair garage downstairs, but had been touted as a possible residential conversion during the sales campaign.
It was marketed as having vacant possession.
It last traded in late 1996 for $1.05 million when it was bought by Tibet Advertising directors Brian and Margaret Witts.
The site is 300 metres walking distance from the main UTS campus in Broadway.
There were 72 contracts issued ahead of the auction.
with Jack Needham