Crowd funding comes through for offbeat island venture

Former Melbourne barrister and MP Clem Newton-Brown has raised $327,485 for an expansion of his island hospitality venture.

Mr Newton-Brown, who operates properties on Picnic and Flinders islands, has turned to crowd funding platform Birchal to raise between $200,000 and $1.5 million to help finance planning for his island resort ventures.

Clem Newton-Brown's Picnic Island getaway.
Clem Newton-Brown’s Picnic Island getaway.Credit:

“We’ve got options on several properties and down the track, we’ll be looking for investors to own the freeholds,” Mr Newton-Brown told Capital Gain.

“Islands are very hard to get approvals for and even harder to operate, but people will pay a premium if you can crack the nut and offer a seamless experience in wild nature but with some comfort.


“We have a pipeline of mainlanders just waiting to get to our island properties as soon as the borders open,” he said.

One of Mr Newton-Brown’s first island ventures was the Yarra River bar, Ponyfish, that operates under the foot bridge between Flinders Street station and Southbank.

Troon Group

Funder Maxcap and joint venture partner, the Ballarat-based Troon Group, are selling a refurbished three-storey office building in Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs.

The move to sell 3-7 Hamilton Street, Mont Albert, comes right in time for the renaissance of the suburban office market.

Records show the joint venture settled on the 3720 square metre office building a year ago for $19.8 million but can expect between $28-30 million in this cycle.

It’s on a large 1573 sq m parcel of land and fully leased to Laing O’Rourke and a Telstra Business Centre with a 3.5 year average lease term. It returns $1.71 million a year and boasts three floors of basement car parking and end of trip facilities.

Expressions of interest, through Colliers International agents Peter Bremner, Andrew Ryan, Hamish Burgess and Trent Hobart, close on December 3.

Maxcap and Troon have several joint projects underway and recently bought the huge 39,146 sq m Kaufland retail shell at Chirnside Park and the BMW site in Narre Warren.

Troon Group managing director Tom McInerney said early plans for Chirnside Park involve turning it into a large format centre.

Troon has plenty of experience in that area. The company is also selling its recently completed Ballarat Lifestyle Centre at 29 Cherry Flat Road, Delacombe.

The large format-based venue is opposite the Delacombe Town Centre and adjoining Bunnings Warehouse, also developed by Troon.

The 3765 sq m centre is on a large 11,710 sq m site and fully leased to five retailers, including The Salvation Army, Autobarn and Beds R Us.

Expressions of interest are being handled by Stonebridge Property Group’s Justin Dowers, Kevin Tong and Philip Gartland along with Colliers International’s Mike Crittenden, Tim McIntosh, and James Wilson. It’s expected to sell for more than $12 million.

Mr Dowers said generous stamp duty discounts for regional property purchases would help drive interest in the property, as would the rapidly growing local population.

Little Latrobe

A local Asian investor has snapped up 62-64 Little Latrobe Street, a three-storey office building near the new CBD North metro train station for an undisclosed sum believed to be around $4 million.

Colliers International agent Leo Ma, who did the deal with Oliver Hay and Chris Ling, declined to confirm the details but said it was the only unconditional transaction done in the city during the stage four lockdown.

A local Asian investor has snapped up 62-64 Little Latrobe Street.
A local Asian investor has snapped up 62-64 Little Latrobe Street.Credit:

The 368 sq m building was offered with vacant possession by the owners of private education group iAscend Polytechnic who bought it in 2013 for $2.2 million. It’s on a 123 sq m site just off Swanston Street.

In Broadmeadows, energy giant Jemena has sold its old 1500 sq m Broadmeadows office building for around $3.25 million.

Jemena recently completed a new 9500 sq m building next door and its old digs at 34-36 King William Street has been sold to a mixed-use developer.

It’s on a 1.4 ha site zoned commercial in Broadmeadows’ urban renewal precinct. A larger adjoining 3.2 ha site fetched $11 million at the market peak in 2017.

CBRE agents David Minty, Nathan Mufale and Alex Brierley did the deal but declined to comment on its particulars.

Bionic building

The Bionics Institute of Australia is offloading its gracious double-storey terrace headquarters on Albert Street, overlooking the Fitzroy Gardens.

The Bionics Institute has owned the building since 1990.
The Bionics Institute has owned the building since 1990.Credit:

Records show the Bionics Institute has owned the classic Victorian at No.384-388 since 1990, when it cost $2.15 million.

It’s now expected to fetch well over $12 million, given it’s on an 890 sq m site.

That’s more than half the size of the 1533 sq m property sold last year by the The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) at 254-260 Albert Street which sold for around $20 million.

The Bionics Institute is also offering its HQ on a leaseback arrangement to June 2024, at least. JLL agents Michael Godfrey, James Thorpe, Tom Foley and Steve Kelly are running the expressions of interest campaign.

Around the corner, JLL is also marketing a failed refurbishment at 458 Victoria Parade. The block of 12 art deco flats was being revamped by peninsula builder Nino Mimmo’s company Two Vic which is currently in administration. It’s expected to sell for between $5-5.5 million.

Flannel store

Lockdown didn’t stop jockeying for space on the city’s top strip, Church Street, Brighton.

Fashion retailer Flannel has leased an 81 sq m shop at 40C Church Street for its new menswear arm, Store Chance.

The retailer will pay $120,000 plus outgoings on a seven year term.

Further down the street, No.107 has been leased to a new high-end green grocer at $110,000 a year, also on a seven year term.

Fitzroys agents Mark Talbot and Tom Fisher negotiated the deals.

Burwood showroom

An owner-occupier, with plans for redevelopment, has snapped up a showroom in the heart of the Burwood Village shopping strip.

The property at 1360 Toorak Road, Camberwell, fetched $3.91 million after a campaign that started in early August.

The 1080 sq m showroom was most recently occupied by a Cash Converters outlet. It’s on a 921 sq m site with three street frontages.

Gross Waddell’s Michael Gross and Andrew Greenway and Gorman Kelly agents Nick Breheny and Aldo Galante negotiated the deal.

The campaign closed in the middle of stage four lockdown and sold a week after restrictions were lifted.

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