Chinese developer swoops on city-fringe development site

Colliers International sells permit-approved mixed-use project in up-and-coming Coburg

Benton’s Plumbing Supplies has sold its Coburg site to a private Chinese developer for more than $13 million to make way for an exciting mixed-use development at 200-216 Sydney Road.

Colliers International’s Trent Hobart, Hamish Burgess and Peter Bremner handled the transaction on behalf of the long-term owner, via an international tender campaign which closed late last month.

The 7473sqm site with three street frontages, including extensive 60.36m frontage to Sydney Road, has a permit in place for 124 apartments, five townhouses, a supermarket, three retail spaces and two offices.

“It genuinely is rare to be able to buy a true mixed-use developent site such as this,” Mr Hobart said.

Colliers International identified this retail/residenital opportunity as appealing to the Chinese and Singapore developer markets.

“Our Chinese clients are now looking to venture further from the CBD and they are seeking mixed-use, derisked projects,” Mr Hobart said.

“As one of our offshore underbidders said, ‘We, like the Chinese dragon, must spread our wings further to source the success we desire’. He went on to say that with no more supply in the CBD, they have to look further for their developments in the middle-ring suburbs, to the townhouse markets in the outer suburbs and to the subdivision markets.”

Local development manager Whiteman Property & Accounting managed the rezone and permit process for the vendor. International architecture firm Taylors designed the proposed development, with a net saleable area of 11,843sqm over five levels, comprising residential, retail and commercial spaces.

“This Coburg site had been used as an industrial and showroom facility for many years but has recently benefitted from a rezoning from Industrial 3 to Activity Centre 1,” Mr Burgess said. “The whole precinct has been rezoned, from Sydney Road to Brunswick, attracting an influx of lifestyle-focused business.”

Mr Burgess said the substantial landholding, versatility of the site and premium location close to Sydney Road were the key factors in the sale. Key players in the retail and aged-care sectors were among the interested parties.

“The sale highlights the strength of the market for mixed-use development sites, where the developer has the opportunity to create inbuilt amenity to enhance the lifestyle of future residents,” Mr Burgess said. “This was one of 2016’s most flexible development opportunities.”

Coburg is seeing significant gentrification taking place, Mr Burgess said, with an increasing number of first home buyers looking in the area.

“More and more young professionals are pushing further north, having been priced out of areas such as Fitzroy, Collingwood and Brunswick,” he said. “Coburg is the perfect inner-north location, with the growing population transforming what was once an industrial-focused suburb into a cultured residential and culinary hot spot.”

In the past month alone, Colliers International has sold more than $100million in sites to offshore developers throughout Melbourne, which shows a clear resurgence in the development site market across Melbourne.

Colliers International Sydney Road Coburg Benton's Plumbing multi-use development site

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