Big ambition for little Geelong site after auction

The office/retail building at 82 Moorabool St, Geelong sold for $1.255 million at auction.
The office/retail building at 82 Moorabool St, Geelong sold for $1.255 million at auction.

City workers can have more reason to look up on Moorabool St in the future after developers swooped on a small commercial holding.

The local buyers bought the 210sqm retail and office site at 82 Moorabool St, Geelong, for $1.255 million at auction on Friday.

The price represents a 25% premium for the property, which Colliers International agent Andrew Lewis says was expected to sell for about $1 million.

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But Lewis says it represents the growth potential of the site after the buyer completes a vision of increasing the height of the building.

The site is adjacent to the buildings to make way for an eight-storey tower to host the head office of Geelong-based health insurer GMHBA.

The existing single storey building has about 150sqm of floorspace suiting retail, office or food outlets.

Several buyers saw potential in the modest commercial premises.

Lewis says the underbidder was a restaurateur.

Both buyers underlined the potential of the site to service an increasing amount of people working in a quadrant northwest of the corner of Moorabool and Malop streets.

The precinct houses the city’s big insurance industry players including the national headquarters of the NDIS, Victoria’s WorkSafe authority and the Transport Accident Commission.

GMHBA will represent the fourth pillar.

The modern complex will replace three buildings, including the health fund’s existing Moorabool St head office, which opened in 1963.

An artist’s impression of the planned new GMHBA building in Moorabool St. Picture: Supplied

The development will also end the fund’s reliance on leasing additional office space across the city centre to house its head office staff.

The GMHBA project is expected to start in mid to late 2019 and will take about two years to complete, creating around 600 jobs in the process.

Quintessential Equity, which built and owns the 1Malop tower housing the Victorian WorkSafe headquarters, is set to develop the 40m building.

Meanwhile, a retail and office building at 194-196 Moorabool St, Geelong, passed in on a $700,000 vendor bid at an auction also on Friday.

Lewis says price hopes were between $800,000 and $900,000 for the 202sqm site with an eight-metre street frontage.

This article from the Geelong Advertiser originally appeared as “Buyer pays premium for city site with view to increasing its height”.