ABC sells Gordon St, Elsternwick studios that hosted Countdown
The ABC’s former Elsternwick studios have sold for $30m.
The 8 Gordon St property was the historic home of shows including Countdown, Seachange, Frontline and Kath and Kim.
It has sold to a Melbourne-based developer after a tender process closed on June 2.
An ABC spokesman said funds from the sale would replenish the $176m Melbourne Accommodation Project announced in 2014, and the deal marked the end of the broadcaster’s integration to its Southbank home.
It had been expected to sell north of $20m in a second-effort after Aunty pulled away from a deal in 2018 following wide community backlash including from long-time Countdown host Molly Meldrum.
The music icon said the sale marked the end of an era and the studios had been an important piece of an amazing period in Australian music history.
“From our side, and the Countdown side, it gave us an amazing platform and for all Australian music,” Meldrum said.
He is among a litany of famous faces from Mad as Hell funnyman Shaun Micallef, to regular show hosts and comedians Adam Hills and Charlie Pickering, to work from the studios in the 60 years that broadcasts and recordings were staged at the Gordon St building from the 1950s to 2017.
Savills state director Clinton Baxter brokered the deal and confirmed a Melbourne-based developer had won a “very competitive” tender process between 10 parties, including a handful of major international groups.
He said he could not confirm a price, but that it had “well and truly exceeded the vendor’s expectations”.
Industry sources indicated the sale came close to $30m.
Mr Baxter added that the site was prime for development and while the buyer hadn’t disclosed their exact plans, options suggested during the tender process included luxury apartments, a build-to-rent project, social and educational infrastructure, as well as aged care.
The ABC’s nearby Selwyn St studio sold to Woolworths for almost $50m in 2017, with the supermarket giant currently negotiating plans for a mixed-use development at that site.
Channel 9’s former Bendigo St studios in Richmond have been turned into a townhouse and apartment complex.
One-time City of Glen Eira mayor Mary Delahunty urged the local council to use its $27m open space levy to buy the studios for community use.
The council sought state and federal funding to support the idea, but in its absence did not make an offer for the property, however Ms Delahunty said given the site had been public land she would continue to campaign for the community to retain some benefit from the site.
“An element of public good should certainly come of it, and it should be open to the entire community,” Ms Delahunty said.
“And I think the local residents will be fighting for that and that the land parcel itself is not over developed.”
The 1.174ha property adjoins the Rippon Lea Estate.
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