NEWS

Local investor secures prestigious freehold in fastest-growing pocket of Melbourne CBD

Colliers International sells former Bank of New South Wales premises

The former Bank of New South Wales premises at 375 Queen Street, Melbourne, has sold to a local investor for $2.35million, representing one of the most relatively affordable CBD assets to transact in recent years.

Colliers International’s Oliver Hay, Daniel Wolman and David Sia, in conjunction with Knight Frank’s Andrew Hansen and George Burberry, brokered the deal following a packed boardroom auction last week.

More than 200 enquiries were generated for the A-grade heritage-listed freehold, with Mr Hay saying the majority of interest came from locally based investors.

“The extensive interest was due to the highly affordable price point,” he said.

“The property was marketed at $2million-plus due to the nature of the works its facade required, and transacted at $11,500 per square metre of land.”

The iconic 350sqm property, which is located on the bustling corner of Queen and Franklin streets and metres from Queen Victoria Market, was subject to a council order for emergency repairs in late 2016.

“It features high ceilings, ornate finishes and classic period architecture but has fallen into disrepair since its construction in 1860,” Mr Hay said.

Mr Wolman said international investors from Singapore, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong also expressed their interest in the property.

“There were 20 registered bidders, which indicates the strong appetite for prime freeholds located in Melbourne CBD’s north,” he said.

“However, many of the interested parties in 375 Queen Street turned away after finding out the cost of refurbishing the façade, resulting in the successful purchaser securing the asset at a very affordable price.

“Despite the immediate requirement for capex, time will prove this to be exceptionally good buying.”

Mr Wolman said the investor had plans to restore the building to its former glory, a growing trend among many buyers of heritage-listed properties across Melbourne’s CBD.

Another iconic piece of Melbourne has come to market with the listing of 208 Elgin Street, Carlton, the former Melbourne Savings Bank premises.

Mr Wolman, Mr Hay and Mr Sia have again been appointed to manage the sale campaign, which is expected to garner more than $2.5million when it goes to auction next month.

With triple frontage to the intersection of Lygon and Elgin streets and a net lettable area of about 400sqm primed for office, hospitality or residential use (subject to council approval), the team is expecting strong enquiry.

“This property presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure a dominant building on Carlton’s most prominent corner, with imposing frontages to Elgin, Keppel and Lygon streets measuring more than 57 metres,” Mr Hay said.

“The short-term holding income provides flexibility for investors, owner-occupiers or value-add players, and the commercial use enhances the asset’s versatility.”

The two-storey freehold includes the bank’s original safe and comprises nine expansive offices or residential spaces with double-height ceilings and modern appliances. There is secure off-street parking.

Mr Wolman said the prime location, metres from the University of Melbourne, was a key selling point as properties in the area were becoming difficult to acquire in recent years.

“Elgin Street is immersed in the world-class Lygon Street lifestyle precinct, with Princes Park, Carlton Gardens and Carlton’s finest restaurants, cafés and luxury retail all within walking distance,” he said.

“With Carlton office space starting at about $8,000 per square metre on building rates, buyers are seeing significant value for money in what is a highly convenient, lifestyle-driven suburb with extensive CBD synergies,” Mr Hay said.

“At a more affordable rate, purchasers can make the move to Carlton, literally metres from the CBD, and invest in significant parcels of land among Melbourne’s best education institutions and amenity.”

Colliers International Melbourne CBD Investment Services city sales heritage office mixed-use building freehold commercial property Queen Street former bank premises Victoria New South Wales

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