Price is finally right for Fawkner Centre
Hot property this week includes the Fawkner Centre and its glorious views.
NINETEEN months after their building was listed for sale, the Sydney vendors of a popular St Kilda Road office building have found a buyer prepared to pay the price they wanted.
The Fawkner Centre at 499 St Kilda Road - the precinct's second-biggest office building after 380 St Kilda Road - is understood to be selling to local residential developer Las Group, which may propose a mixed-use redevelopment of the existing building and 6070-square-metre block.
Sources say the sale price is about $55 million, the same as when it hit the market early last year.
The Soundfirm building that has hosted stars Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts and Geoffrey Rush. Photo: Paul Harris
Lemon Baxter directors and selling agents Chris Curtain and Michael McClusky declined to comment. Las Group director Les Smith denied he purchased the property, which is no longer online as an active campaign.
Other office sales in the area this year include 484 St Kilda Road (for $68 million), 441 St Kilda Road ($58 million), 601 St Kilda Road ($30 million) and 607 St Kilda Road ($28.5 million).
The Fawkner Centre was offloaded by the Schwartz Family Corporation, one of the country's largest private hotel owners. It backs on to Fawkner Park and was marketed for its residential redevelopment potential.
Las Group's highest profile project is the twin-tower Guild complex under construction in Sturt Street, and towering over the CityLink tunnel entrance in Southbank.
The developer also built a shopping centre in former cinemas at 206 Bourke Street, a site withdrawn from the market after being offered for sale last June with price expectations of about $100 million.
Notting Hill Hotel up
A NOTTING Hill hotel owned and operated for decades by the late Kath Byer, credited as the oldest female publican in Australia, is for sale for the first time since 1936.
The Notting Hill Hotel at 260-262 Ferntree Gully Road is near the Monash University Clayton campus and the Forster Road junction of the Monash Freeway. The 6647-square-metre site includes a hotel with three bars, a courtyard, bottle shop and parking for 134. Ms Byer resisted lucrative pokies facilities within the pub, popular with students.
Over the years the site has become surrounded by business parks including the Omnico Business Centre and Axxess Corporate Park. The Australian Synchrotron is not far away.
John Castran, director of agency John H Castran, said he expects interest from developers who might either replace the hotel with a function centre, or a suburban office park.
He said somebody might continue running the existing pub, which is capable of accommodating about 1000 patrons.
The hotel's history dates back to the 1870s when it was known as the Halfway House Hotel, and was at a major point for a coach service that ran from Prahran to Ferntree Gully.
Ms Byer, who died in 2010, ran the hotel into her 90s ''in almost a schoolyard manner'' according to Mr Castran. Police were called to shut down Ferntree Gully Road for the funeral, which more than 1000 people attended.
The Byer family can now expect from $4.5-$5 million for the pub.
Victoria Street sells
A MALAYSIAN investor has paid $6.3 million for a collection of commercial buildings opposite the Queen Victoria Market.
The three adjoining properties from 280 to 298 Victoria Street in North Melbourne, and zoned mixed use, sold after an expression of interest campaign, which closed last week.
The new owner is expected to pursue a residential redevelopment permit for the properties, which cover 955 square metres of land. Apartments within any new project would offer view security over the low-rise QVM. The site also has access to Cobden Street and Cathay Lane.
''The sale is another example of buyers talking with their wallets in response to the proposed City North Structure Plan which the Melbourne City Council supports,'' selling agent and CBRE director Mark Wizel said.
''Properties located on the northern side of the QVM will continue to attract strong interest from both local and overseas buyers as this section of Melbourne undergoes growth and a transformation into medium density living.
''Strong interest was received from local developers who saw the opportunity to deliver a sub-150 apartment project in this location as lucrative.''
Star building offered
THE Port Melbourne building responsible for bringing some of the country's highest profile entertainers to Crockford Street is for sale.
Business Soundfirm can expect about $3.5 million for the prominent site at the north-east corner of Ingles Street, which it held as owner-occupier for about 20 years.
Actors including Eric Bana, Toni Collette, Guy Pearce, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving and the late Heath Ledger all attended Soundfirm for post-production work on their films. The company has also worked on movies Red Dog, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, Fred Schepisi's The Eye of The Storm and P.J. Hogan's Mental.
Crockford Street extends to busy City Road, which connects to the Arts Centre in Southbank.
The 1041-square-metre site, with the potential for future rezoning, includes 1020 square metres of building area and parking for 15.
Lemon Baxter director Nick Bade is the marketing agent. Soundfirm is moving to a site in nearby Ingles Street.
BEFORE the MotoGP on Phillip Island tomorrow, the Grollo family has made clear its intentions for a waterfront estate, one of the most historic properties in the South Gippsland region.
A huge board went up on Wednesday near the Phillip Island Bridge, in San Remo, marketing a 69-lot housing estate, Woolamai House.
Woolamai House, historically, is the name of the estate owned and used by the Grollo family as a holiday home since 1982, but built in 1876 for wealthy hotelier and horse trainer John Cleeland.
Late last year the developer successfully subdivided the eight hectare estate, which offers a postcard view over Cleeland Bight. At this stage the Grollo family will retain the historic home and 4.2 hectares around it, for personal use.
An official launch for the neighbouring housing estate is set for early next month. Construction of the first homes is expected to start in December. Alex Scott director Greg Price is the marketing agent.
RECEIVERS have been called to sell a prominent suburban office building, last in this column when it was listed for sale in March.
The former Transformers nightclub, now an office building leased predominantly to Centrelink, is expected to sell for about $26 million, which would translate to a high yield of about 13 per cent, assuming the asset was fully leased.
Less than 10 per cent of the 11,835 square metre office and retail building is vacant.
Knight Frank selling agent Paul Henley, and colleague Marcus Quinn, are the marketing agents.
At 973 Nepean Highway in Bentleigh, about 13 kilometres south-east of town, the building is at the corner of South Road, also the suburb divide to Brighton East, Hampton East and Moorabbin.
Developed in the late 1980s, the asset was at one stage owned by the Foster's Group.
In March the asset was listed for sale with price expectations of about $35 million.