Sullivan will remodel the facade of the Wellington Parade building, which looks south across the Jolimont railway line towards the MCG and Yarra River.
Multiple neighbouring property owners and the East Melbourne Group objected to Sullivan’s plans, saying they will impact the area’s heritage, character, amenity, and cause problems in rear laneways.
But planning tribunal members Michael Deidun and Ann Keddie approved the project, saying it was unusual because, rather than demolishing the entire building, “minor works” will convert it from office to residential use.
The three-storey car park at rear will tie in to the building to give future residents direct access to their parked vehicles.
Melbourne Council, which initially opposed the project, decided to support it after Sullivan amended the plans.
Sullivan tried to sell the building with a price tag of around $40 million in 2019, but the deal fell through.
The new project will have an end value around $80 million and take four years to materialise. Penthouse apartments in the area are fetching above $20 million, he said.
“I’ve owned the building for over 20 years. I’m doing this because East Melbourne has such strong demand for high-end residential and the building is suited to it,” he said.
Sites with development potential are commanding significant premiums.
Sydney developer Luxcon Group paid $30 million last year for a nine-level office building at 380 Albert Street, overlooking the Fitzroy Gardens, where it will build 24 uber-luxury residences with an estimated end value of $130 million.
Another developer, Orchard Piper, recently sold a penthouse apartment at its 370 Albert Street development for $16 million.
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