A taste of France settles in Bourke Street

Bonjour Rue de Bourke

In a vote of confidence in the CBD, French cultural body Alliance Francaise de Melbourne (AFM) has made its shift to the CBD permanent, buying level one of 140 Bourke Street for $4.5 million. AFM will run language classes out of the space, which will add fresh foot traffic to the city streets and cafes.

Alliance Francaise president Gilbert Ducasse promised the “vibrant location will establish the AFM as a key player in the cultural life of Melbourne”.

140 Bourke Street, Melbourne.
140 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

The off-market deal, reflecting a strong $15,000-a-square-metre price, was done in a week through Cushman & Wakefield’s George Davies, Anthony Kirwan and Jeff Ha, with Honos Property representing Alliance Francaise de Melbourne.

The former Hoyts Cinema Centre was converted into strata office space by investor-developer Michael Drapac in 2012.

The 300 sq m office, which comes with a 300 sq m terrace, last changed hands in 2015 for $2.21 million.

AFM has been working out of several city offices since vacating its former St Kilda digs about 18 months ago.

The cultural and language centre sold Eildon Mansion at 51 Grey Street to art dealers Gary Singer and Geoffrey Smith for $10.45 million in June 2022.

The pair relisted Eildon last year after an extensive renovation. It is for sale through Gross Waddell ICR’s Andrew Waddell and Raoul Salter and Kay & Burton’s Peter Kudelka and Damon Krongold at about $12.5 million.

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Bunnings

Hardware giant Bunnings is looking for a sub-tenant for the Preston warehouse it vacated last year for new digs down the road on Bell Street.

The 8225 sq m warehouse at 120 Chifley Drive is across the road from Northland Shopping Centre on busy Murray Road.

Hardware giant Bunnings is looking for a sub-tenant for its Preston warehouse.
Hardware giant Bunnings is looking for a sub-tenant for its Preston warehouse.Credit: Andrew Quilty

It’s on a large 33,118 sq m site backing Darebin Creek. Bunnings has two years left to run on its lease and according to the warehouse’s ASX-listed owner, the Bunnings Warehouse Property Trust, the hardware retailer pays $2.15 million rent a year.

Knight Frank agents Thomas Dodd and Nathan Edgar are handling inquiries.

Bunnings’ new Bell Street store was bought by ASX-listed Newmark Capital in 2021 for $85 million in a deal that effectively funded the warehouse’s construction.

The unfinished building was valued at $93 million in December 2022, but by the time it opened in mid-2023, interest rate rises and falling capital values reduced it to $84 million – slightly less than its purchase price.

This week, BWP announced a $247 million merger with Newmark. The merged entity will have a $3.5 billion portfolio of 84 properties, the majority of which are leased to Bunnings or its parent company, Wesfarmers.

Parkdale

A former bayside private hospital has changed hands for the third time in five years, with Lowe Living snapping it up before Christmas for $8 million.

The hospital at 152 Como Parade West, Parkdale, was bought by property developer Steller in 2018 for $11 million, but the company collapsed before settlement.

Calvary Healthcare was leasing the 3500 sq m property while its Caulfield South hospital was redeveloped, and bought it for $10.2 million in late 2019.

With the Bethlehem hospital revamp completed in early 2022, the Parkdale facility, which is on 4765 sq m of land, went back on the market last year with Savills agents Julian Heatherich, James Latos and Benson Zhou.

152 Como Parade West, Parkdale.
152 Como Parade West, Parkdale.

Records show a holding company owned by Lowe Living boss Tim Lowe and Liberman family-backed funder Monark Property recently popped a caveat on the title.

It is Lowe Living’s third project in Parkdale. It has a $500 million development pipeline.

Hospitality

The owners of the giant Chemist Warehouse retail operation have emerged as the buyers of the Waterfront restaurant freehold at 23-27 Church Street in Brighton.

Records show a company owned by Chemist Warehouse founders Mario Verrocchi and Jack Gance and a slew of other company directors settled on the property last week, paying $9.95 million.

Tenants, including frock shop Eco D, pay $357,600 a year in rent. The 400 sq m building is on a 552 sq m parcel of land.

Gross Waddell agents Alex Ham and Michael Gross did the deal but declined to comment.

Chemist Warehouse has an outlet at 72 Church Street and another at 363 Bay Street.

Further north, the old NAB bank on the corner of Glenferrie and Wattletree roads in Malvern has changed hands for $6.75 million.

The double-storey building at 84 Glenferrie Road, in the heart of the bustling Malvern retail strip, has been acquired by a hospitality operator with plans for a swank new restaurant with a rooftop bar.

84 Glenferrie Road, Malvern.
84 Glenferrie Road, Malvern.

Cushman & Wakefield agents Alexander Leggo and Daniel Wolman negotiated the off-market deal.

In South Yarra, a private investor has snapped up 91-93 Toorak Road, paying $5.15 million on a very sharp 1.8 per cent yield.

The 415 sq m shop on nearly 600 sq m of land is leased to a La Porchetta pizzeria and an optometrist.

Lewis Waddell, David Bourke and Ben Liu of Fitzroys sold the property, which last changed hands in 1995 for $1.235 million.

According to Fitzroys’ latest Walk the Strip report, vacancies on Toorak Road, South Yarra, have almost halved since 2021 to 5.6 per cent.

91 Toorak Road, South Yarra.
91 Toorak Road, South Yarra.

Industrial

One of the last infill landholdings in Braeside, at 260-280 Governor Road, has set a new benchmark for land rates in the south-eastern industrial precinct, selling for more than $23 million.

The Found joint venture between Spectre Property and Hexa Group bought the 29,730 sq m parcel of land in a deal negotiated by Colliers’ James Stott and Gordon Code.

It is understood to have sold around the quoted $800 a sq m rate.

The entire south-east precinct has only 227 ha of land remaining – likely to be absorbed in the next 2¼ years – which made for strong competition, and eight bids were received.

“A notable shift in the market has seen owner-occupiers, buyers and private developers outpricing institutional buyers for opportunities of this scale,” Stott said.

The land will be developed into a new industrial estate offering small warehouse-office and storage spaces.

In other industrial moves, Stott, Jonathan Mercuri and Richard Wilkinson leased an 8333 sq m warehouse at 2/1090-1124 Centre Road, South Oakleigh, at about $150 a sq m.

The prime office-warehouse was built by Texco Construction in 2017 and sublet by Stockland to World Wire Cables.

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Source: Thanks smh.com