white street hengmao
The already-approved 12-level project proposed for the site. Image supplied.
  • Chinese developer Hengmao has sold the White Street site to a Sydney-based developer
  • Price was not disclosed, however, industry sources say it would have sold for around $20 million
  • Residential and emerging build to rent groups fought for the site, says Savills

Chinese developer Hengmao has announced the disinvestment of its 19-21 White Street, Maribyrnong site as demand remains high for permit-approved sites.

An undisclosed Sydney-based developer acquired the 5,940sqm site in the inner Melbourne suburb.

Currently, the site’s existing permit allows for a 12-level mixed-use project designed by architects Elenberg Fraser, which features 280 apartments and retail assets.

Maribyrnong is home to Highpoint Shopping Centre, one of the largest in Australia.

The price was undisclosed – however, well-placed industry sources indicate the site would have sold for around $20 million.

The sale was brokered by Benson Zhou, Julian Heatherich, Nick Garoni and Tanya Su of Savills.

Mr Zhou noted the sales campaign attracted high levels of enquiries, with a battle between residential and emerging build to rent groups.

“An undisclosed Sydney developer ultimately out paid offshore groups and local BTR (build to rent) operators to secure the site and plans to deliver and sell the project in the coming years” said Mr Zhou.

“The strong interest in this site is a clear indicator of confidence returning to the suburban residential market, buoyed by continued migration and house price growth.”

Mr Heatherich added that there is an emerging trend for Sydney-based developers securing sites in Melbourne given the latter is a comparatively undervalued environment.

“Recently we have transacted sites to Sydney buyers for land subdivision, suburban apartments, luxury residential and office” said Mr Heatherich.

“The rise of BTR projects across Melbourne, which is now the leading BTR demand in Australia, is adding depth to the market for large scale permit approved projects.”

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