Qualitas, Gurner Back Newmark’s $1.4bn Jam Factory Vision

Melbourne’s famous South Yarra Jam Factory will be redeveloped under a new partnership between Newmark Capital, Gurner and Qualitas.

Newmark acquired the site in 2015, but the impact of Covid-19 scuppered approved plans for a commercial office and retail precinct.

New plans include a mixed-use precinct that would reshape South Yarra and have an expected end value of about $1.4 billion.

Plans include 20,000sq m of retail, 20,000sq m of commercial office space, a hospitality and entertainment precinct, a hotel and multiple ultra-luxury apartments, putting the Chapel St precinct back on the map as Melbourne’s shopping and lifestyle epicentre, according to the developers.

The 19,250sq m site on Chapel Street is the last remaining inner-suburban regeneration site in Melbourne, Gurner chief executive Tim Gurner said.

“[It’s] the most important contribution to Melbourne any developer could make, given the history and importance of the Jam Factory to Melbournians, at a time when Chapel Street is desperate for change and re-birth,” he said.

“We have the scale and location here to do something that is not possible on any other site in Melbourne.

“The destination will be highly sought-after by astute owner occupiers who understand the prestige and lifestyle afforded by the location.”

▲ The South Yarra Jam Factory site on Chapel St is almost 20,000sq metres. Image: Newmark Capital

The Jam Factory site has significant heritage, dating back to the 19th century: in 1876, the site was purchased by the Victorian Jam Co and by 1880 was the largest employer in the Prahran area, known locally as the Red Cross Preserving Co.

Newmark joint managing director, and former AFL player, Chris Langford said the project would unlock the potential of the site and transform it into a place to live, work and play.

“The new Jam Factory will become a signature, vibrant destination for Melbourne. It will also create a significant number of construction jobs and full-time employment opportunities with retail and commercial occupants,” Langford said.

He said they hoped to imbue authenticity, creativity and community into the Jam Factory precinct.

“This is a right-sized commercial and retail development that Newmark believes will be highly desirable to tenants and as an investment product—we have a strong belief in the area and the economy,” Langford said.

Qualitas co-founder and global head of real estate Mark Fischer said the group's second opportunity fund was focused on securing a pipeline for the next residential development cycle with proven locations and “great partners”.

“The ability to deploy capital in to one of Melbourne’s most iconic locations alongside Gurner and Newmark is a rare opportunity,” Fischer said.

“The scale and capital required for this transaction is of a size that few other local players could undertake and the ability to use our discretionary funds platform to help bring the revitalisation of one of Melbourne’s great precincts to life is compelling.

“The real estate fundamentals of the location are indisputable and the deal provides the opportunity to bring together great real estate, nimble large-scale capital and market-leading development capabilities.”

Architects are yet to be selected. A revised planning scheme is expected to be lodged with the council mid-year; construction is slated to begin early in 2022 and completed in 2025.

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Article originally posted at: https://www.theurbandeveloper.com/articles/south-yarra-jam-factory-melbourne-redevelopment