Chinese developer buys former Wantirna South apple orchard

An old apple orchard in Wantirna South is now a major development opportunity.

One China-backed developer’s search for a Melbourne residential development site has borne fruit after the group snapped up a former apple orchard in Melbourne’s outer east for about $100 million. 

Nan Xin Investment Pty Ltd last week slapped a caveat on a 149,608sqm site at 1201-1211 High Street Rd in Wantirna South that had been in the same family since 1922 when it was bought by Arthur Scourfield Jenkins.

The block, about 23km from the Melbourne CBD, has been rezoned for residential and commercial use and could include medium to high-density housing up to five storeys high.

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The site could also accommodate a supermarket, specialty retail, childcare, aged care and a medical centre.

Agents on the deal were Savills’ Clinton Baxter, Nick Peden, Benson Zhou and Jesse Radisich, who declined to comment.

Nan Xin Investment’s directors are the Melbourne-based Xunwei Li and the China-based Tianfeng Hong, company records show.

The developer is also pushing ahead with a luxury apartment and mixed-use project Galleria, in suburban Glen Waverley, where 100 apartments sold in 90 minutes when first released in 2015.

The group is understood to have outmuscled several other local parties for the land parcel. It is understood Mirvac looked at the block but did not bid.

Nearby amenities include Westfield Knox shopping centre and Vicinity Centre’s The Glen, which is being redeveloped with about 500 apartments set to tower over the mall.

The Melbourne land market is still seeing interest despite a broader housing slowdown, as home buyers compete for the most affordable properties in the still-pricey city.

Residential land prices per square metre jumped 29.3% in the year to March, with the typical lot price hitting a new high of $359,000, according to research from the Housing Industry Association and CoreLogic released last month.

Recently a farm on Melbourne’s northern fringe changed hands for about $200 million, with Melbourne-based Zeng Xiong Lin buying the block from the Laffan family.

Sydney-based Goldmate Group earlier bought a site in Clyde North in the city’s southeast for $200 million that could be transformed into 1300 lots.

This article originally appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au/property.