UAG to Cash-In On Permit-Approved Kensington Site


Melbourne-based developer United Asia Group (UAG) has moved to cash in on a permit-approved site as large infill opportunities become increasingly rare across the inner city.

UAG picked up the former Vision Australia site at 346-350 Macaulay Road in Kensington for $30 million in 2018.

The 8800sq m site is currently occupied by a four-level office building and adjoining warehouse. It is in the Arden-Macaulay precinct, a former industrial area, that has been earmarked for mixed-use regeneration by the City of Melbourne.

The Macaulay area, once occupied by some of Melbourne’s largest industrial processing facilities, is forecast to accommodate approximately 10,000 residents and 9500 jobs by 2025.

UAG had planned to develop the site, but after the marked improvement in Melbourne’s residential market in the wake of a prolonged lockdown last year, the developer has decided to sell the site, which is expected to go for about $50 million.

UAG managing director Nicole Chow said the developer had worked closely with architects BCS and Hayball Architects to design a six building, 424 apartment plan for the site, which received planning approval in mid-2020.

“We have revised our usual build-to-sell strategy for this one project only due to significant approaches from local and international groups eager to acquire the permitted site,” Chow said.

“We are eager to see the design come to fruition and I think it will be an amazing project for Kensington and Melbourne.”

▲ Since the 1800s Arden-Macaulay has been a primarily industrial area supporting the city’s economy through manufacturing and production.
▲ The 8800sq m site is currently occupied by a four-level office building and adjoining warehouse.

JLL’s Josh Rutman, Noral Wild and David Hill with Colliers International’s Trent Hobart, Hamish Burgess and Jozef Dickinson have been appointed to steer an expressions of interest campaign for the site.

Agents said the rapidly improving sentiment in the residential sector looked set to attract a range of development groups wanting to be ready for the next upswing in the cycle.

“Development sites in city fringe locations such as Richmond, Collingwood, Fitzroy, North Melbourne and Kensington are becoming increasingly rare,” Hobart said.

“Affluent owner occupiers are demanding to be in these locations, close to retail amenity, public transport and within reach of the CBD.”

Early last year approval was granted to Impact Investment Group to develop a heritage-listed 100-year-old wool store in Kensington into a commercial property.

Assemble Communities is also set to begin a project in north-western Kensington that will mix social and commercial-market housing among the 400 build-to-rent dwellings planned for the former confectionery business site.

Assemble paid $30 million for the site at 402 Macaulay Road in February.

Plans have also been recently lodged for a 12-storey mixed-use residential building comprising office and retail at 287-313 Macaulay Road that is currently occupied by a two-storey light industrial warehouse building.

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