Central Equity looks to suburban Armadale for side project

A company associated with Southbank apartment builder, Central Equity, is heading out to the blue-chip leafy eastern suburbs after splashing around $18 million on a development site in Armadale.

It would be a rare foray into the east for the 35-year-old Central Equity which only recently ventured out of the inner suburbs and into the lucrative subdivision markets on the urban fringe.

Donkey Wheel House, one of the CBD’s gems, is back on the market.
Donkey Wheel House, one of the CBD’s gems, is back on the market.Credit:

Records show a company sporting only its number as its name – ACN 662 469 141 PTY LTD – has put a caveat on 1087-1095 High Street. A trawl through the corporate registry reveals that blandly-named company is controlled by Central Equity directors Dennis Wilson and Darren Blankfield.

The property came with a permit for a five-storey building designed by Fender Katsalidis for ten big apartments and four shops. That doesn’t sound like the usual Central Equity fare and it is understood this is a side project.

The double-storey building on the corner of salubrious Huntingtower Road is on a large 1174 square metre site and was once part of the expansive manufacturing works belonging to Martin and King.

The carriage-maker made the leap to automobiles in the 20th century, building car bodies to fit chassis imported from overseas by the likes of Rolls Royce and Bugatti.

JLL agents Jesse Radisich, Nick Peden, Josh Rutman and MingXuan Li and O&Co’s Tony O’Callaghan and Patrick O’Callaghan handled the transaction. They declined to comment on either the buyer or the price which was significantly higher than the original $13 million estimate.

Two shops

The boutique-lined Armadale strip is also perennially popular with shoppers and investors. Down the road two shops at 1027-1029 High Street are going to auction on October 26.


The shops, covering 359 sq m, are leased by high fashion retailers Zimmermann and Rose Street Trading Co who pay $195,619 a year. Zimmermann’s lease is due to expire in 2028.

They’re on a 254 sq m parcel of land next door to the Country Road store. Last month’s auction of the nearby Dion Lee shop saw values hit a land rate of $24,444 a sq m and a building rate of $35,484 a sq m. The yield hit a low of 2.06 per cent.

At those levels, the Zimmermann and Rose Street shops could fetch up to $9 million.

Stonebridge Property Group agents Nic Hage, Rorey James & Sarah Xi are handling the auction.

Wheel house

Donkey Wheel House, one of the CBD’s gems, is back on the market, after several years in the hands of the Ethical Property Commercial Fund.

The Gothic-style building near Southern Cross railway station, at 673 Bourke Street, was built in 1891 for the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company and designed by architects Twentyman & Askew who also designed the Royal and Block Arcades.

The 2888 sq m four-level building is leased to a swag of social enterprises and includes a ballroom and commercial kitchen on the top floor and a roomy unrenovated basement at the bottom.

The vendor is One Fund Management, the trustee for the Ethical Property Fund which was established by the Donkey Wheel Trust and UK Ethical Property Company.

Donkey Wheel had purchased the property for $8.2 million in 2008 and undertook a major renovation before selling the property into a new unit trust in 2015 for $14.35 million.

They have their offices in the building along with The Big Issue Australia, SPELD Victoria, Waverley Industries and the Climate Council. A Salvos op-shop is on the ground level along with a wine bar.

Colliers agents Matt Stagg and Daniel Wolman are handling expressions of interest. It’s expected to sell for more than $25 million.

Bank building

The Brady Group has held the Bank of China building on Queen Street just long enough to get a permit for a new 13-storey mixed-use office tower.

Brady Group is selling the Bank of China building on Queen Street.
Brady Group is selling the Bank of China building on Queen Street.Credit:

Records show Brady paid $16.6 million for 268 Queen Street in early 2021. The Bank of China had paid $1.6 million in 1994.

The 767 sq m three-storey building is on a 455 sq m site next door to another Brady-owned property at 280 Queen Street, on the corner of Little Lonsdale Street.

CBRE’s Nathan Mufale, Alex Brierley, David Minty and JJ Heng are marketing the property.

Current values in the CBD and the uplift from a fresh permit suggest the sale price could reach $20 million.

It’s close to the Queen Victoria Market and Victoria Uni’s long planned 24,000 sq m vertical city campus under construction at 364-378 Little Lonsdale.

Hot rubber

Records show Bensons Property Group has paid $5.35 million for the Sam’s Tyres and Service Centre property in Brunswick.

The 1010 sq m site is at 253-259 Brunswick Road is right behind Peregrine Projects’ Sarah Sands redevelopment near the corner of Sydney Road. Mirvac’s Park Street project is close by.

The price equates to a strong $5297 a sq m land rate. The vendor was the same family company that has run the tyre and servicing operation for decades. Records show it bought the property in 1995 for $385,000.

Bensons Property Group is currently developing residential towers on the Gold Coast and Footscray and smaller projects in Armadale and Prahran.

Bensons boss Elias Jreissati has also put to market a whole floor raw apartment shell in the Eureka Tower with a $15 million price tag.

The deal was done by JLL’s Josh Rutman, Jesse Radisich and Mingxuan Li and Gross Waddell ICR’s Andrew Greenaway and Michael Gross. They declined to comment on the buyer.

Rare office

Five bidders in Brighton competed for a rare office building just off the blue chip Church Street shopping strip pushing the sale price to $8.38 million.

The office building at 28 Carpenter Street sold for nearly 20 per cent above its $7 million reserve.
The office building at 28 Carpenter Street sold for nearly 20 per cent above its $7 million reserve.Credit:

The 504 sq m office building at 28 Carpenter Street sold for nearly 20 per cent above its $7 million reserve and a sharp yield of 3.08 per cent.

Fitzroys’ Mark Talbot and Tom Fisher handled the auction for the estate of local businessman Tony Nanfra.

The building is on a large 589 sq m holding and leased to Dorevitch Pathology, Buxton Real Estate and Lifestyle Smiles. They pay $257,000 a year in rent and have leases with options running through to 2033. The buyer is a passive investor.

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