Skipping Girl Vinegar sign site up for grabs

For the first time in more than 30 years, Melbourne’s Skipping Girl Vinegar sign is set to get a new owner.
For the first time in more than 30 years, Melbourne’s Skipping Girl Vinegar sign is set to get a new owner.

The home of Melbourne’s iconic Skipping Girl Vinegar sign is up for grabs and is expected to skip past $20 million.

Being sold as a whole property for the first time in more than 30 years, it’s expected to attract the eyes of international investors and local developers.

Skipping Girl Place at 651 Victoria St, Abbotsford has hosted ‘Little Audrey’ — believed to be Melbourne’s first animated neon sign — since 1970.

The current sign is a replica of an original that was set atop the Skipping Girl Vinegar factory a few doors down the road for 34 years before that, and the icon has been a part of Melbourne’s skyline for more than 80 years.

The four owners of 651 Victoria St, Abbotsford have teamed up for the sale.

It has been heritage listed since 2007; was restored in 2009, and it’s believed a lease with AGL will ensure it remains lit up at night via a series of solar panels installed by the electricity provider.

The four-storey office complex, opposite Victoria Square Gardens Shopping Centre, is being sold by CBRE and Colliers International and is expected to be formally opened up to the market later this month.

Colliers International’s Peter Bremner confirmed the sign will be protected.

“The sign passes with the property to the next owner, but can’t just be removed,” Bremner says.

The area has seen significant redevelopment as Abbotsford transforms from an industrial past.

It’s expected to draw offshore interest, and some land-banking developer types.

“Maybe down the track it could be residential or mixed use,” Bremner says.

The site’s size would likely preclude it from a similar overhaul to the home of the Nylex Clock in nearby Cremorne, which is being transformed into a commercial and residential precinct dubbed the Malt District by Caydon.

The listing will catch many in Melbourne by surprise and was only made possible by the commercial building’s four separate owners, including one who owns seven of the titles contained inside it, teaming up to sell.

Along with Melbourne’s Nylex Clock, the Skipping Girl Vinegar sign is one of the city’s most famous pieces of rooftop furniture. Picture: Nicole Garmston

The property is expected to sell for $23-$25 million, adding millions to what the owners might have made separately.

“It was strata titled quite some time ago,” Bremner says.

“But the expectation is that they will get more for their sale price than if they sold separately.

“Individually they were going to come in short of $20 million.”

The property also has several metres of Yarra River frontage.

CBRE’s Josh Rutman says rare Yarra River frontage is expected to add to the appeal, as will the heritage aspect.

“This is truly a unique opportunity to own an iconic part of Melbourne’s historic fabric,” Rutman says.

“We expect wide-ranging interest in Skipping Girl Place, given Little Audrey’s iconic status, and the location and potential of the site.”

This article from the Herald Sun originally appeared as “Skipping Girl Vinegar sign’s Abbotsford home skips to market”.