Skipping Girl Melbourne: Iconic building sold for $20m in off-market deal

The 651 Victoria St, Abbotsford building has changed hands off market.

An Abbotsford building home to the iconic Skipping Girl sign has sold for more than $20m in an off-market deal.

The 651 Victoria St property features the recognisable Skipping Girl Vinegar brand’s logo of a girl holding a skipping rope, also known as Little Audrey.

The original sign was installed above the nearby vinegar factory at 627 Victoria St in 1936 — which Heritage Victoria considers to be the first animated neon sign displayed in Australia.

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Skipping Girl repaired

The famous Skipping Girl Vinegar sign is a piece of Melbourne’s industrial past. Picture: Alex Coppel.

When the factory moved to Altona in 1968, a replica of the beloved sign was installed on the roof of the former of the electroplating factory turned waterfront office complex in 1970.

Fitzroys director Paul Burns said the private purchaser plans to upgrade and re-let the building with the possibility of future redevelopment, which could include creating additional levels or the construction of a new building.

But its protection on the National Trust and Victorian Heritage Register ensures the sign must be incorporated into any changes of the prized 2971sq m site, as a piece of the city’s industrial past.

Mr Burns negotiated the sale, calling it “an ultra-rare opportunity to own a true Melbourne icon”.

“We were able to secure a buyer off-market during the pandemic through our contacts in the extensive Fitzroys database, after the property was offered to the market early in 2020 through other agencies, without a buyer being found,” Mr Burns said.

Skipping Girl

The signage must be included in any future updates to the commercial building. Picture: Sarah Matray

He said the asset’s rare riverfront position, opposite Victoria Gardens and “surrounded by median and high density residential” were among its drawcards for buyers.

It was sold by multiple strata title holders, including funds manager Vantage Property Investments, who banded together to sell the property.

The property returns $1.2 million per annum but could fetch up to $1.5 million when fully leased.

“Abbotsford is one of the last city fringe suburbs with genuine unrealised development potential,” Mr Burns added.

“Melbourne’s inner-city office markets have been in huge demand throughout Covid with flexible working arrangements in vogue, and businesses and employees are looking for highly accessible locations close to lifestyle amenity.”

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