ABC lists former Elsternwick studio where Countdown was filmed
The ABC is selling the Elsternwick home of legendary music show Countdown.
Fans could still have a slice of the Australian classic in their homes though: the site could be redeveloped for apartments, aged care or even as a school or hospital.
The broadcaster’s 8 Gordon Street studios were also used to film Sea Change, Frontline, Kath and Kim, Bellbird and recently-renewed music trivia show Spicks and Specks.
It’s the second attempt by the ABC to sell the property, following a listing in 2018 that ended without a deal struck despite several offers.
Savills state director Clinton Baxter said the 1ha holding next door to National Trust mansion Rippon Lea was expected to notch a sale north of $20m.
Mr Baxter said it was possible someone may try to save the studios, but a heritage overlay would not stop developers bidding.
“Everything is possible for that sort of property, but whether they (those looking to save the studios) have the buyer power to out-compete the others, time will tell,” Mr Baxter said.
“It’s a huge parcel of land, the most significant metropolitan landholding to hit the market in Melbourne in 2021. It will attract a huge variety of interest from different buyers.”
Those with a sense of nostalgia for the property would include Countdown host Molly Meldrum and the countless Aussie acts whose careers were launched on the show, as well as international guests ranging from Cyndi Lauper to Elton John.
Meldrum previously campaigned to save the studios during a prior attempt to sell the site.
Mr Baxter said he was expecting interest from buyers ranging from residential developers to community groups and could even see it being overhauled for social infrastructure “like schools or hospitals”.
He’s also not ruling out an offshore purchaser for the 1.174ha property after recording numerous Foreign Investment Review Board approved sales over the past 12 months.
“There’s still a large volume of money coming into the country, despite the international borders remaining closed,” Mr Baxter said.
The ABC produced programs from the studios built in the 1950s for 60 years before swapping to their current Southbank home in 2017.
Some of the final programs filmed at the studio included Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell and Charlie Pickerings’s The Weekly.
In a farewell to the studios, the broadcaster reported there was asbestos in the walls and its lower levels were prone to flooding, but it was still much loved by those who had worked there.
A four-week tender process will commence this Wednesday and close on June 2, with a deal expected to be finalised shortly afterwards.
Mr Baxter worked on the 2018 attempt to sell the property and said he had not been privy to the ABC’s decision to reject offers made at the time.
But Savills did sell the ABC’s nearby Selwyn Street studio site to Woolworths for almost $50m in 2017. The supermarket giant is still battling to win approval for an apartment and supermarket development at the address.
Meanwhile Channel 9’s former studios in Bendigo Street, Richmond, are now a combination of townhouses and apartments.
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