Donkey Wheel House: Gothic-style Melbourne building may sell for $25m
A Gothic-style Melbourne building named Donkey Wheel House that was previously home to a pioneering tram company is up for sale with $25m price hopes.
Located next to Southern Cross station, the former Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company headquarters at 669-675 Bourke St was built in 1891.
The four-storey property is being sold by Colliers Melbourne via an expressions of interest on behalf of One Fund Management Limited.
Nowadays, Donkey Wheel House’s Bourke St offices are leased by organisations including the Salvation Army’s Salvos Stores, The Big Issue Australia, SPELD (Support for Specific Learning Difficulties) Victoria and the Climate Council of Australia.
The building was originally designed by architectural firm Twentyman & Askew, known for creating the The Royal and Block Arcades, for The Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company which operated inner suburban horse-drawn trams.
By 1885 the business had more than 1600 horses, and was granted a 30-year contract to install and operate Melbourne’s cable tram system.
The state government took over the tram network in 1916 and the Bourke St building became the home to a new authority, the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board.
The structure later fell into disrepair but was purchased Donkey Wheel Trust in 2008.
The charity partnered with the National Trust (Victoria) to establish an appeal to fund restoration of the property, which is classified as a significant heritage site by Melbourne Council.
Donkey Wheel Trust and Ethical Property Australia have headquarters in the building where the features include a basement and 2990sq m of lettable space.
Colliers Melbourne head of investment services, Daniel Wolman, said the building had been refurbished to accommodate modern day commercial, retail and hospitality tenants.
“The vendor has also succeeded to enhance the environmental performance of the asset, increasing the NABERS rating from 2 to 4.5 stars, which is very high for a building of this vintage,” Mr Wolman said.
Donkey Wheel House’s tenants have leases that vary in length until about 2026, with options to extend.
Colliers Melbourne director of Melbourne city sales, Matt Stagg, said the site was suited to private investors, family offices and philanthropic foundations.
“Commercial owner-occupiers may also consider the property as a prominent Melbourne CBD headquarters, with naming rights potentially available as part of the sale,” Mr Stagg said.
Expressions of interest will close at 12pm on November 8.
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