Blockbuster result for Coburg Drive-In

The Coburg Drive-in has been sold.
The Coburg Drive-in has been sold.

One of Victoria’s last remaining drive-in cinemas has been reeled in by a buyer for $12.5 million.

But those involved in the sale of the Coburg Drive-In have been quick to reassure fans its big screens will keep rolling for at least another decade.

Village Roadshow Theatres has sold the 8.17ha Coburg North site to Australian property group Charter Hall, but will lease it back for an initial 10-year term.

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Charter Hall managing director and chief executive David Harrison says the big-ticket property will make an “attractive investment” while the company “unlocks potential higher and better use options in the longer term”.

The sale well and truly exceeded initial $11 million-plus price expectations.

Film buffs have been watching blockbusters from the comforts of their cars at the heritage-listed cinema at 155 Newlands Rd since 1965.

The Victorian Heritage Database describes it as historically significant to the state as “one of three (drive-ins) that remain in operation in Victoria out of approximately 60 at the height of drive-in popularity”.

Coburg Drive-in

The drive-in has been a Coburg fixture since 1965.

The buyer will accordingly need to get permission from Heritage Victoria to make changes to the site.

It features three screens that, at 33m wide and overlooking a viewing area of 3.6ha, are considered the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

A retro diner, playground and ticket booth famously topped by a yellow vintage car completed the local landmark.

JLL selling agent Tony Iuliano says a mix of “private investors from around Australia, land-bankers and developers, and institutional investors” had expressed interest in the Industrial 1-zoned site after it hit the market in September.

Iuliano says the property represents the last “essentially undeveloped” significant parcel of land in Melbourne’s inner-north, with another drawcard being the “secure income stream” provided by Village’s lease.

The drive-in features three screens and is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Harrison says it offers a “unique mid-ring infill investment opportunity” for Charter Hall.

“Clearly the long 10-year leaseback to Village, with fixed (annual rental increases of) 3%, provides attractive investment characteristics for our investors and resilient accretive cashflow while our platform unlocks potential higher and better use options in the longer term,” he said.

Charter Hall is “one of Australia’s leading fully integrated property groups”, with offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, according to its website.

The ASX-listed group states that is has more than $26.4 billion of “high quality, long-leased property across the office, retail, industrial and social infrastructure sectors” and oversees a portfolio of 768 properties.

This article from the Herald Sun originally appeared as “Coburg Drive-In fetches eight-figure sum in blockbuster sale”.