Prominent lawyer nets $26m from Melbourne CBD home office sale

A pair of Melbourne CBD buildings owned by the prominent Lewenberg family have sold for a rumoured $26 million.

A prominent Melbourne lawyer who has been shot at and stabbed has sold his family home and firm’s offices, along with a neighbouring building, for a rumoured $26 million.

It’s believed the sale has set a record of $35,000 a square metre for the city’s legal precinct.

Criminal lawyer Alex Lewenberg, whose firm Lewenberg & Lewenberg runs from 288 Queen St, said he and his wife Helena had plenty of memories after watching their children grow up in their home at the same address.

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“There are many memories, but it’s time to move on,” he says.

“It’s only a property, we will buy something else and we are looking forward to that.”

The two-building deal also included the former home of Arnold Bloch Leibler solicitors next door at 328 Little Lonsdale St.

The building at 288 Queen St was last listed for sale at $225,000 in 1997, while 328 Little Lonsdale St changed hands for $1.8 million in 2002.

CBRE’s Josh Rutman says the sale is one of the first for 2019, and a good sign of things to come.

“There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the headlines in the housing market, and yet people with money are still choosing to buy big commercial properties,” Rutman says.

“All signs point in the direction of continued strength. I’d say we are in for a pretty strong start.”

In the end, a Melbourne-based investor snared both properties. They may eventually look to take advantage of it as one of the last remaining undeveloped corner sites in the CBD.

“We had offers for each of the buildings … and those wanting to buy the whole thing,” Rutman says.

The two buildings were listed for sale with expectations of up to $30 million last year.

CBRE’s Mark Wizel says the sale is the latest in a string of strong results on the north and west sides of Melbourne’s CBD.

There are now other long-term CBD owners actively considering selling, some motivated by rising land tax costs, Wizel says.

This article from the Herald Sun originally appeared as “Prominent lawyer Alex Lewenberg snares monster CBD sale”.