Beauty is in the eye of the investor

Functionality rather than aesthetic value should be a strong consideration when weighing up a commercial property investment, property experts say.

While residential buyers are often swayed by the appearance of a home, commercial property transactions are driven by more practical considerations, such as the layout, available facilities and durability.

Cameron Kusher, director of economic research at REA Group, said it was vital that commercial buildings were practical with efficient floorplans, while visual appeal was generally more negotiable and well down the priority list.

“I think for some businesses aesthetics and how a building looks are important, but for the vast majority, it’s more about the layout and the internal features of the property that are most important,” Mr Kusher said.

“Obviously, a lot of businesses have to work to a budget and they probably can’t have it all.”

Mr Kusher said commercial purchases were often more level-headed, business-like transactions compared to residential property sales, which could be emotionally charged.

“I think if you’re the anchor tenant in a brand you’re building then the architectural design is important, but 99% of businesses are never going to be that so functionality takes priority.”

Perth architect Anthony Rechichi, who has worked on commercial developments including boutique offices, car showrooms, medical suites and hospitality ventures, said the look of a building was often derived from its function and how it would best work.

“Whatever the building looks like is one consideration, but its function is just as important, if not more,” Mr Rechichi said.

“So, if the building works really well in terms of its circulation space and its ease of access, its ease of identity, then generally speaking the building will be successful and appreciated.

“Residential properties tend to be more emotional and those developments draw at the owners’ hearts so they start to become more conscious about the holistic approach of what you’re trying to achieve.

“Commercial developments can sometimes be driven purely by the return that comes from a commercial building. Whereas the return that comes from a (residential) house can’t be measured just as investment because you’re going to live in it for however many years, so those factors get skewed.”

Mr Rechichi said reinventing tired, old buildings, particularly historical properties, and transforming them into cutting-edge commercial properties was a rewarding part of the job.

“We like the idea of finding a property that’s lost its way and needs a new ‘home’ and a little bit of love,” he said. “With a bit of respect, that building can have a new life – it can start again. You really don’t have to be constrained by what is already there.”

Here is a selection of aesthetically pleasing commercial properties currently available on

Industrial chic

Commercial redevelopments of older sites can create great looking properties. Picture:

The chic warehouse vibe has been taken to new heights with this stunning industrial conversion with four interlinking buildings being offered for sale separately or as one lot.

Uniquely positioned with an outlook over the Yarra River and parklands, the property, at 18-62 Trenerry Crescent, Abbotsford, was redeveloped by award-winning architect Daryl Jackson in 1984 and has undergone further refurbishment over the years.

With a pitched roof, exposed beams and ducting and a heavy emphasis on full-length windows and glass expanses, the property makes the most of its natural surrounds.

There are a range floorplan sizes available from 427sqm to 2323sqm and there are 48 on-site car parking bays, all in close proximity to Melbourne landmarks, including Abbotsford Convent, Collingwood Children’s Farm, Studley Park Boathouse and Dights Falls Reserve.

Art Deco

This Art Deco inspired office block is currently for sale. Picture:

This Art Deco-inspired office block in Hamilton Street, Mont Albert, has been substantially revamped with three levels of bright, spacious interiors and is for sale through an expressions of interest campaign.

Fully tenanted as the Telstra Business Centre and to Laing O’Rourke, the property spans 1573sqm with 3720sqm of internal office space and 114 car parking bays.

It also includes kitchen and end-of-trip facilities, and the net passing income has been quoted as $1.7 million a year.

Stylish salon

This shopfront was designed by Crone Nation.   Picture:

As part of an exclusive mixed-use development in the heart of Sydney’s CBD, this ground floor shopfront was designed by renowned architectural firm Crone Nation and constructed by Grocon in 2006.

The high-rise building comprises 42 luxury apartments, with the Macquarie Street shop listed for sale at $3.15 million.

It is tenanted to a hairdressing salon, with a current annual rental return of $166,651.

Sleek & stylish

FJMT Studios designed this commercial property. Picture:

With direct tram access, this sleek, contemporary commercial development on busy Victoria Parade offers expansive views of the Melbourne CBD and Port Phillip Bay.

Designed by award-winning architects at FJMT Studios and due for completion in 2022, Victoria Place offers a range of commercial options across its 11 storeys, including north-facing terraces on Victoria Parade and outdoor terraces, with large campus-style floorplates.

It is available as a per floor option or as a whole building occupancy and also includes on-site parking and end-of-trip facilities.

Heritage stunner

Eulabah was originally built in 1881. Picture:

Iconic Hawkesbury residence Eulabah sits in the quaint town of Richmond at the foot of the Blue Mountains and is one of the earliest examples of local architecture in the area.

Designed in the late Victorian Jacobean style by Sydney architects the Mansfield Brothers, the property was built for Reverend Dr James Cameron and his wife Eliza Bowman in 1881.

Charming traditional hallmarks including ornate fireplaces, timber floors and statement leadlight windows have been retained in the property, which has been mooted for commercial uses including medical suites, boutique accommodation, consulting rooms, office space or a function centre.

In addition to the four bedroom, four bathroom main residence, there is also a billiard room, library, cellar and separate servants quarters.