Singapore group leads race for $350m East Melbourne office tower

An artist’s impression of Victoria Place in East Melbourne.
An artist’s impression of Victoria Place in East Melbourne.

Singaporean-based funds manager ARA Asset Management is leading the pack to acquire the $350 million Victoria Place in East Melbourne office project planned in the tightly held precinct.

The move on the site assembled by developers Golden Age, led by Jeff Xu, and the private Time & Place would see ARA fund and then own the planned A-Grade development.

The project will finish in 2022 ahead of an expected wave of supply. The East Melbourne office precinct is one of the city’s most sought after and both the developer and likely backer are keen to get started in order to win tenants looking for a home.

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There has been a run of such high-quality developments in inner-city Melbourne precincts, including Cremorne and South Melbourne, but the Victoria Parade project, which will span about 26,000sqm, has been pitched as being a cut above many of its rivals.

The move also demonstrates ARA’s ongoing focus on direct property acquisitions and management even as it supports a bid by Gary Weiss for a board seat at Cromwell Property Group.

The developers in June brought in JLL’s Nick Rathgeber and Leigh Melbourne to manage an investment process for the project even before anchor tenants were secured. But the pair did not return calls last night.

The contest drew big names in property including GPT, the powerful Investa property platform that was aligned with Canada’s Oxford Properties.

The project at 200 Victoria Parade has been designed by architect FJMT and Time & Place would remain and deliver the complex. It includes retail, cafe and associated amenities.

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