Geelong council’s massive payday from Civic car park sale

A Geelong property group has bought the Civic Centre car park for $22.6m at a private auction.

The sale of Geelong’s Civic Centre carpark will pour more than $22m into council coffers after it sold at a private auction.

Three groups contested the 4082sq m CBD landholding at 21 Gheringhap St, with a local property group emerging as the buyers.

The $22.6m sale is a bumper result for Geelong’s council, which was selling the asset as it looks to pay off debt and channel more money into infrastructure spending.

Bidding opened at $16m.

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Conditions on the sale included for the 500 commercial car parks on the site to be retained for at least 10 years, and for the City to retain a space in the car park for its projector for the next 10 years so it can continue the City Hall projections program.

The car park, along with ground floor tenancies on Lt Malop St, could generate more than $2m a year income.

The transaction will be settled in June 2023.

New owners must maintain the 503 commercial car parks for at least 10 years under terms of the sale.

It’s a significant footprint in Geelong’s central business district between the new office towers north of Malop St and the arts precinct, but its true value will be realised after 2033, when the owners can move on future redevelopment plans.

Selling agent Ben Young, of Colliers Geelong, said an office or residential project could emerge down the track on the site with a 190m frontage to three streets.

Mr Young, said the asset, expected to attract interest of around $20 million, received strong interest throughout the campaign from both local, national and offshore investors.

Existing lease agreements with Lt Malop St tenants will be honoured under the deal.

“We had strong demand from local and national purchasers, who recognised the future value of the site with its prime location in Geelong,” he said.

“With the council’s target of achieving 10,000 residents within the CBD, there is significant opportunity for mixed use and residential high-rise developments.”

Civic Centre carpark is identified in the draft central Geelong framework plan as a key development site with potential to build up to 28m, or eight storeys, but would need to reactivate the Gheringhap St frontage.

The carpark, built in the 1970s, was one of four key assets councillors want to sell.

The site represents a significant development site for a future mixed-use or residential high rise building.

A Reynolds Rd, Belmont property containing a tenpin bowling centre and a maternal child health centre is expected to be the next to hit the market

Councillors also want to sell the Busport carpark in Brougham St, Geelong and land at 200 Princes Highway, Corio, containing a KFC restaurant.

Mayor Trent Sullivan said the sale was a positive outcome in a challenging economic climate.

“Rising construction costs are placing pressure on the council’s budgets and the funds from this sale will go back into community assets, helping us deliver the facilities needed to support our growing population,” Mr Sullivan said.

“A sale of this significance is also pleasing because it shows there is confidence in the business sector about central Geelong’s future and long-term economic potential.”