Melbourne

A perfect CBD hand as a pair of freehold buildings hit the market

After almost 40 years of combined ownership, two neighbouring Melbourne CBD buildings in one of the city’s fastest growing locations are being offered for sale via an international Expressions of Interest campaign.

31 Oct 2018

After almost 40 years of combined ownership, two neighbouring Melbourne CBD buildings in one of the city’s fastest growing locations are being offered for sale via an international Expressions of Interest campaign.

The highly recognisable, freehold buildings are situated on the north-east corner of Queen and Little Lonsdale Streets at the junction of the legal precinct and the city’s retail core. 

They will be offered together or individually through CBRE’s Melbourne City Sales team of Josh Rutman, Mark Wizel, Lewis Tong and Alex Brierley.

“Melbourne has become a truly international city and this has led to a significant uplift in investor demand for mixed-use freehold assets in the CBD, particularly those with strong underlying land components, which can provide for future development,” Mr Rutman said.

“As such, we expect to field a great deal of domestic and international interest in the assets being offered, particularly given the quality of this long-held portfolio.”

The larger of the two properties at 288 Queen Street is a prominent, six-level corner building, which comprises several ground floor retail shops, first level office space and upper level residential accommodation, including a double-storey penthouse apartment with a large terrace and sweeping views across the city. 

“The unique, mixed use nature of this building will be highly attractive to a range of investors and occupiers, given the diverse nature of the property’s income and the opportunity to further improve or utilise parts of the building,” Mr Rutman said.

The second asset up for sale is the neighbouring 328 Little Lonsdale Street, which was formerly the headquarters of Arnold Bloch Leibler solicitors.

The four-level retail building includes a basement bar and lounge. It once housed a well-known Chinese importer and became known as “China Square”, a name which is still goes by today. 

The property also offers a strategic rear access via McLean Alley, which provides direct access to Guildford Lane’s heritage listed culinary district.

“The building’s flexible open-plan floor plates allow for a myriad of future uses and would cater perfectly for a multi-level retail or hospitality destination, similar to several buildings in the immediate area. The rooftop is also ideal for additional activation,” Mr Rutman said.

The location of the two properties on the doorstep of the Queen Victoria Fresh Food Market, which is being revived and redeveloped, is expected to be another drawcard for investors - particularly overseas groups - seeking to purchase properties in prime CBD locations.

“Despite the recent negative commentary about foreign direct investment into Australian real estate, we are currently dealing with several qualified international purchasers, mostly based in Asia, who are interested in acquiring mixed-use real estate assets and own similar assets in their domestic markets,” Mr Wizel said.

“These properties would certainly fit into this category and, based on our recent experience with similar assets this year, we expect to field particularly strong interest from investors in mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore.”

Mr Wizel noted that precinct surrounding Little Lonsdale Street has undergone a rapid transformation, with the retail activation of several laneways, including Guildford and Hardware Lanes, as well as the construction of no less than ten high-rise towers accommodating a range of residential apartments and hotels. 

Malaysian developer Beulah International recently broke ground at the former Celtic Club for its 48-storey residential tower, following the recent completion of 56-storey, 478-room co-branded Novotel & Ibis Hotel, which is directly opposite the two subject properties.

Mr Wizel said both projects would bring a greater density of tourists and city-dwellers to the precinct, with the area also set to benefit from the redevelopment of the former Cobb & Co car park site into a new VOCO hotel as part of a twin tower complex, which will also house 780 apartments.

The complex, dubbed 380 Melbourne, will also create another pedestrian thoroughfare to Little Lonsdale Street known as Timothy Lane.
 
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About CBRE Group, Inc.

CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2017 revenue). The company has more than 80,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through more than 450 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.

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Neither CBRE nor its affiliated companies make any warranties or claims on the implied accuracy of the information contained herein.

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE: CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Dallas, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2021 revenue). The company has more than 105,000 employees (excluding Turner & Townsend employees) serving clients in more than 100 countries. CBRE serves a diverse range of clients with an integrated suite of services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at https://www.cbre.com.