Kensington project fast tracked to stimulate construction for sale
Development “giants” and super groups are tussling to take over a Melbourne project fast-tracked to boost Victoria’s economy in the wake of COVID-19.
Last year authorities brought forward approvals for more than $1bn in large projects to stimulate construction jobs, including a $70m, six-building precinct slated for 346-350 Macaulay Road, Kensington.
After 10 subsequent unsolicited offers for the 424-apartment development, its proponents United Asia Group have listed it for sale.
They paid about $35m for the 8803sq m site, formerly home to Vision Australia, in 2018.
With plans and permits in place it is expected to snare close to $50m.
UAG founder Nicole Chow said they had fielded offers from development “giants” and “institutional groups” who “want to do it quick”.
Ms Chow added that with another project underway in West Melbourne and work shortly starting on a Toorak project, they already had construction commitments in the city.
UAG architect Tony Battersby said it was the first time the company had considered selling a development site.
“This is the first time we have done this, it’s an unusual situation with COVID-19,” Mr Battersby said.
“(And) our display suite is almost done on site, so we may still develop it.”
JLL’s Victorian head of middle markets and metropolitan investments Josh Rutman is working on the sale and said “build-to-rent players are making offers”.
“They like the idea of the precinct plan, and having good retail on the ground floor — plus with the two train stations it’s got a lot going for it,” Mr Rutman said.
He was not able to name groups who had made approaches due to the ongoing sales process, but said they included the Australian and international groups most actively pursuing build-to-rent options across the city.
Conjunctional agency Colliers International’s Trent Hobart said the booming residential property market was also driving developers to seek “prime development sites”.
Part of the Arden-Macaulay Structure Plan that is expected to revitalise the formerly industrial area into a sustainable work and home environment over the next 30 years, the Macaulay Road development will include a central courtyard, gym, pool, water features and a mix of gardens and laneways.
It has been designed by Battersby Chow Studio architects and Hayball Architects, while landscaping will be overseen by Openwork.
A four-storey office building and a warehouse are yet to be demolished to make way for development and engineering contractor John Holland have a short-term lease to use the space as they work on the nearby Metro Tunnel project.
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