Geelong’s Balfours building listed for sale with development potential

The former Balfours building at 155 Mercer St, Geelong, has been listed for sale.

A historic building on one of central Geelong’s busiest street corners is being touted as a prospect for potential development.

The former Balfours Motors building at 155 Mercer St, Geelong, has been listed for sale, with MP Burke Commercial agent Pat Burke illustrating a potential outcome for the site by using planning rules that would allow a development up to 8 storeys.

The property was being offered for private sale, with price hopes circa $8.4m.

RELATED: Deakin rings bell on T&G building in test for CBD vision

Geelong West shopping centre sets benchmark in sale

Buyers sought for massive North Geelong warehouse complex

The red brick building opposite Johnstone Park was for decades a motor garage before being converted into an office complex and used by local organisations including Harwood Andrews, Barwon Water Alliance and City of Greater Geelong.

Potential development could see a glass building above the low rise brick structure to match the skyline between Wurriki Nyal Civic Precinct and the WorkSafe building at 1 Malop St.

An artist’s impression showing how a potential development could look above the Balfours building at 155 Mercer St, Geelong.

Mr Burke said the owners had recently secured a new tenants for the building – Utilitise IT and Gray Funston Innovations – on a four-year lease with lease incentives.

He said the lease contained a redevelopment clause that could be enacted from 2026, if the tenant exercised an option to continue their occupation of the site, giving 12-months notice to terminate the lease.

The building was original constructed for wool brokers Dennys Lascelles in 1918 to the design of Geelong architects Laird and Buchan.

Mr Burke said a potential owner-occupier could emerge to secure the 1162sq m property.

The building is listed under a heritage overlay with external paint controls but does not specifically rule out development, while a Heritage Victoria report shows it’s of local interest.

The former Balfours building at 155 Mercer St, Geelong, is close to landmarks such as WorkSafe, City of Greater Geelong, TAC and Deakin University, and also the site of the Geelong convention centre.

“I think the intent would be to retain some of that facade to enhance the project really,” Mr Burke said.

“It’s (heritage is) considered notable, but we’re saying you can develop it and we’re being told from eight to 10 storeys, but that’s something that will leave to the market to decide.”

The tenant provided new owners with an income stream while deciding what path to take for the address.

“Geelong is still very popular for people. People are keeping an eye on it because they are a bit sick of Melbourne. It’s got too much office supply, it’s got difficulties with getting construction up out of the ground, funding issues.

“Geelong has still got some of those issues, but it’s more boutique.”

Mr Burke said the property offered great exposure and was the centre of a development zone, with projects set to come out of the ground on several fronts.