The Hardware Lane home of Australia’s oldest snow gear retailer, Auski, fetched $11.57 million at auction this week, $3 million above its reserve price, on a sharp 2.8 per cent yield.
In front of a 100-person crowd stretched out along Hardware Lane, four parties bid for the prized building,which included the Corner and Bench cafe on the corner of Bourke Street.
“It’s a CBD corner, mate. They’re hard to find,” said one observer to another, who was surprised at the large turnout.
It was another case of generational change in the CBD as the deceased estate of Auski owner and Olympic skier Tony Aslangul sold the building at No.9 for $38,956 for a square metre. Auski has occupied the site since 1949 and has another seven-year lease term.
Last month the Theosophical Society sold its Russell Street headquarters – held since 1972 – for $23 million, a price which equated to more than $40,000 a square metre.
And the owners of the Kozminsky’s building at nearby 421 Bourke Street, held for 40 years, sold their empty building in July for $7.6 million or $25,600 a square metre to the Giannarelli family.
Last week, the family who own Sires menswear fashion chain sold the basement freehold of their shop at 241 Collins Street for $3.86 million. The family had owned the site at the foot of old House of Merivale and Mr John retail emporium for more than 20 years but had leased the shop for more than 30 years.
Nearly two years ago, the three-storey Campari House, at 23-25 Hardware Lane, fetched $8.1 million or $45,505 per square metre on a yield of 3.98 per cent. The sunny strip is one of the city’s premier bar and restaurant precincts.
Gross Waddell director Michael Gross, who handled the 9-11 Hardware Lane auction with Raoul Salter, said, “It would be a prized asset in any portfolio. It’s on the corner of Bourke and Hardware, just 200 metres from the Bourke Street Mall.
“We had buyers from all over the world. They’re buying for the next generation”, he said.
The Prahran-based Dakis family secured the 506 square metre three-storey building, which is on a 297 square metre parcel of land, beating three other potential investors. The property returns $325,600 rent a year and was sold with a two-year demolition clause.
Just two doors up, the Rowan family, which has held Cyclone House for 48 years, is also moving on. The family paid just $86,000 for the picturesque three-storey building at 17-19 Hardware Lane and is expecting more than $5.5 million at auction on September 20.
Allard Shelton director Joseph Walton said, “Opportunities such as this one, are becoming progressively more scarce in Melbourne’s CBD and as a result, we have had an outstanding response to the campaign so far from both local and off-shore buyers.”
The 402 square metre vacant building got a funky $1 million refurbishment at the end of 2015 for its new tenant tenant Careers Australia. However that tenancy was short-lived.
After it was stripped of federal funding, Careers Australia was put into voluntary administration by its private equity owner White Cloud Capital, in May, shutting 13 campuses around Australia and leaving 15,000 students in the lurch.