Landmark Geelong building’s demolition could have upside

Council to demolish the Belchers building on the corner of Moorabool and Ryrie streets. Picture: Alan Barber
Council to demolish the Belchers building on the corner of Moorabool and Ryrie streets. Picture: Alan Barber

Demolition work on the Belcher’s Corner building could create one of the city’s most sought-after high-rise development sites, according to a commercial real estate agent.

The scale of the demolition works could determine the potential value of the property at the corner of Moorabool and Ryrie streets, should it be placed on the market, Colliers International agent Andrew Lewis says.

Estimates based on recent sales of developable commercial properties in central Geelong show the entire site, which planning documents shows occupies 1081sq m of land, could fetch between $8 million and more than $9 million.”

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But Lewis says two smaller buildings that are not subject to the demolition order could hold the potential value as a development site.

“When you talk about the site, there is actually three sites there. The question is how much are they going to demolish?” Lewis says.

Belchers corner is opposite the recently restored T&G Building, owned by Deakin University as a student residence. Picture: Alan Barber

There are 28 separate properties occupying the condemned Belchers Corner building, Ryrie Street’s Hopetoun Chambers, and the former A & W. Roberts Store on Moorabool St. Owners in all three buildings are members of the owners corporation for the site.

The addresses stretch from 135 to 147 Ryrie St and 146 to 154 Moorabool St, and include common areas and street access to Shorts Place.

“If the council is going to knock the whole lot down then you’ve got a really nice valuable site and you could build a high-rise building tower like TAC or another of those and that would be a great outcome and there would be good developers out there looking for it,” he said.

“If the council could deliver an unencumbered site it would be really popular and probably one of the most expensive sites in Geelong I’d suggest.

The former Hopetoun Chambers on Ryrie St, is part of the wider Belchers site but is not part of the demolition.

“Some of the other sites have sold for $8000 to $9000 a square metre.”

But Lewis says the potential value is not as strong for a development if the two buildings remain.

“The clearer the site, the more valuable it is because you don’t have to work around an existing structure,” Lewis says.

“It’s the ability to go high, that’s the reason there is good prices being paid for development sites.

The former A & W. Roberts Store at 146-148 Moorabool St, Geelong, (centre) is part of the Belchers site but is not part of the demolition.

“It’s a ripper of a development site and bigger it is the better it is because it allows you to create something of more substance.”

Planning documents show all three buildings are heritage listed based on local significance, while a design and development overlay requires special permission to build more than 25m above ground level due to the flight path for emergency helipad at Geelong’s University Hospital.

This article from The Geelong Advertiser originally appeared as “The upside to a Geelong landmark’s impending demolition”.