Melbourne's iconic 'Skipping Girl Place' on the market
Melbourne's iconic 'Skipping Girl Place' on the market
| 12 February 2020
One of Melbourne’s most recognisable landmarks – the Skipping Girl – and the waterfront office complex upon which it sits have been listed for sale.
Located within the Victoria Gardens Riverside Precinct, 651 Victoria Street – dubbed Skipping Girl Place – is going to market through an international Expressions of Interest campaign.
The Skipping Girl Vinegar sign is a Melbourne icon; part of the city’s skyline for more than 80 years and immortalised in pop culture through artwork and music.
Understood to be the first animated neon sign in Melbourne, ‘Little Audrey’ and her skipping rope was the vinegar brand’s logo and originally erected atop its factory at 627 Victoria Street in 1936.
The current sign was constructed at its present site in 1970, Victorian Heritage Listed in 2007, restored in 2009 and continues to mark the industrial heritage of Abbotsford and Richmond.
The property will be offered for sale in a campaign managed by CBRE’s Melbourne Middle Markets team of Josh Rutman, Scott Orchard and Lewis Tong, in conjunction with Peter Bremner, Rob Joyes and Rachael Clohesy of Colliers International, with the transaction managed by Vantage Property Investments.
“This is a truly unique opportunity to own an iconic part of Melbourne’s historic fabric,” Mr Rutman said.
“It is also buying into a fundamentally sound piece of commercial real estate; a large landholding in a highly desirable locale with a strong income stream and several future options for adding value.
“We expect wide-ranging interest in Skipping Girl Place, given Little Audrey’s iconic status, and the location and potential of the site.”
The four-level office complex of 3,677sqm sits on a 2,971sqm, Commercial 1-zoned landholding directly opposite the Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre.
It has a range of quality tenants, plus additional laneway and extremely rare 39m frontage to the Yarra River, providing a range of future conversion and development outcomes.
The immediate area is home to an abundance of major mixed-use developments supporting high density residential accommodation, with several receiving industry awards.
Abbotsford is one of Melbourne’s fastest growing city fringe precincts, underpinned by quality demographic, educational and commercial demand drivers.
The listing follows the sales of nearby 45 and 50 Grosvenor Street and 36 Grosvenor Street – both to mainland Chinese investor interests for $37 million and $17 million respectively – and a major carpark transaction next door by Forza Capital for $12 million in April 2019.
Developers including Salta, Hamton and Icon have also completed major residential and mixed-use developments in the immediate area.
“The demand for sites in Abbotsford and the precedent set by adjacent buildings suggest there is strong opportunity for a high-density, mixed-use development benefiting from views over the Yarra River and unrivalled retail and lifestyle amenity,” Mr Rutman added.
Colliers’ Mr Bremner noted that office vacancies across Melbourne’s city fringe markets had tightened to historic lows, which was driving interest in Abbotsford as the next near city hotspot for commercial activity.
“Tenants occupying older style offices in the surrounding area are increasingly seeking alternative accommodation as these buildings make way for new developments,” Mr Bremner said.
“These tenants are generally reluctant to move further away from the CBD and are preferring to relocate to affordable CBD fringe suburbs like Abbotsford.”
The Zagame Family, assisted by Fife Capital, has already tapped into the trend by embarking on an office repositioning project in nearby Trenerry Crescent after acquiring the property for $21 million from the Australian Education Union.
Terraplex has also acquired an office in the Victoria Street with a view of capitalising on future rental growth in the area.
The Skipping Girl Place listing follows a flurry of activity in Melbourne’s sub-$100 million market, with $400 million in sales negotiated in the final two months of 2019, underpinned by rising interest in metropolitan assets.
“A shortage of opportunities has led to heightened competition from private investors and smaller unlisted funds when sub-$100 million assets are listed for sale,” Mr Rutman said.
“Investors have also become increasingly comfortable with metropolitan office investments as the risk premium versus the Melbourne CBD continues to narrow, underpinned by strong tenant demand and effective rental growth.”
The International Expressions of Interest campaign is set to close on Friday March 20, 2020.
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