South Melbourne: Businessman spends millions on Clarke House while on holiday in Italy

Clarke House at 101 Clarke St, South Melbourne.

A businessman holidaying in Europe has splashed $6.56m on a South Melbourne commercial property without even setting foot inside.

The Australian buyer snapped up Clarke House at 101 Clarke St before its scheduled auction earlier this month.

Previously the Guides Victoria headquarters, the multi-storey building was sold by surfwear label Piping Hot’s former owner Mark Johannsen.

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Jones Real Estate managing director Paul Jones and fellow executive Luke Peric had the listing.

Mr Jones said the buyer saw Clarke House on social media while enjoying some time off in Italy.

After watching a virtual video tour of the building and sending his chief financial officer to check it out in person, the purchaser went ahead with the deal 24 hours before the Commercial 2-zoned building was set to go under the hammer.

Mr Jones said the man wanted to shift his operations to South Melbourne after his company had been operating from Melbourne’s CBD for several years.

“Having their own freestanding building in one of Australia’s premier lifestyle and mixed-use areas was a main reason for buying,” Mr Jones said.

Clarke House has a total floor space of 1025sq m.

Inside the building which is located at the prominent corner of Ross St.

Clarke House’s 16 basement carparks, storage capability and the potential to have a showroom with offices on the levels above also appealed, he added.

“The property was on the market for 38 days and we received 49 qualified inquiries during the campaign period, with much of these coming from social and digital media channels,” Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones and Mr Peric took on Clarke House after it was previously listed through two other agencies across a period of more than 300 days.

Unit 5 at 422 Collins St, Melbourne, also sold to a buyer on holiday in Europe, earlier this year.

The listing described the address “as a blank canvas for the astute occupier or investor with incredibly rare rear loading dock access”.

Mr Peric said using social media to help sell the address was an important part of their marketing campaign.

Another Jones Real Estate listing, a ground floor retail and commercial space at 422 Collins St, Melbourne, sold for $4.15m to a buyer who had never set foot inside earlier this year.

“The buyer of that property also finalised the sale while on holiday in Italy,” Mr Jones said.

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