University of NSW $10m richer after sale of childcare centre to property developer

No. 52-56 Barker Street, Kingsford, has sold for $10.11m.

The University of NSW has received a boost to revenue with the sale of a childcare centre to a property developer for $10.11m at auction, more than $3m above reserve.

The 1639 sqm block on three titles at 52-56 Barker Street, Kingsford, attracted 18 registered bidders at yesterday’s virtual auction hosted by auctioneer Damien Cooley.

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Universities have been struggling during the pandemic because of the decline in foreign students, although international enrolments at UNSW were up 39 per cent this year because of demand from China for online courses.

But the sharp rise came off a big drop in 2020.

The childcare centre.

Listed with Colliers agents Michael Crombie, Trent Gallagher and Angus Urquhart, the property — directly opposite the university — is earmarked for residential and could house up to 15 townhouses.

Apart from the large commercial building that had been used as a childcare centre, there were two residential duplexes on the property. There were also seven car spaces at the rear.

“It’s pretty rare to find any substantial land holding in this area so interest was phenomenal,” Crombie said.

“We had developers, doctors, childcare centre operators and a lot of guys who were happy to just land-bank it for the future.”

It’s located right opposite the university.

The campaign had started with expressions of interest.

“But there was a such a large amount of inquiry that we flipped it and made it into an online auction, which was quite fascinating.”

At the auction, 16 of the 18 competed and there were a total of 83 bids, 33 between the last two who were both property developers “neck and neck”.

The freehold site is conveniently located just 500m from Kingsford Light Rail Station and has two street frontages including 33m to Barker Street.

It’s set to benefit from the newly rezoned ANZAC Parade precinct just a block away, which will see new height limits ranging from 31m to 54m.