Carlton’s landmark Post Office has changed hands for just the second time in nearly 140 years.
Fitzroys’ Chris Kombiand Ervin Niyaz negotiated the $5.525 million sale of the vacant 146-154 Elgin Street, Carlton, on behalf of a private local family that has owned the property for almost 30 years. It had previously been owned by Australia Post.
The sale price reflected a high building rate of $14,540 per sqm.
Constructed in 1883 in a classical style between conservative and boom classicism, the two-level building is listed on the Heritage Register of the National Trust and offered with vacant possession, having been home to the post office for over 135 years on the ground floor, with offices above. It is on a 645sqm site zoned Commercial 1.
The purchaser plans to initially lease out the premises to retail and office tenants and then potentially occupy the premises in the future.
“This was an incredibly rare chance to be a part of Carlton’s history,” Kombi said.
“Historic inner-Melbourne buildings such as the Carlton Post Office are very tightly held. We had owner-occupiers, investors and value-add players all pursuing the rare chance to be a part of this celebrated suburb’s rich history,” he said. More than 120 enquiries were generated during the Expressions of Interest campaign.
“Owner-occupiers were looking to take the opportunity to acquire their own landmark premises on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD, while investors and value-add players noted the popularity of inner-city offices with flexible working arrangements in vogue.
“Character buildings provide a point of difference for owner-occupiers and businesses. They never go out of fashion,” Kombi said.
The building is also just a short walk to the famous Lygon Street precinct and the suburb’s multitude of popular eateries and wine bars. The location is well serviced by multiple tram routes along Swanston, Lygon and Nicholson Streets, and multiple bus routes, and is a short distance from Melbourne’s universities precinct that includes the University of Melbourne and RMIT.
“The Carlton Post Office provided the highly sought-after qualities of character elements, close proximity to hospitality amenity, and an easily accessible inner-city location,” Niyaz said.
He noted that self-contained buildings have been identified by tenants in the COVID period as allowing for greater control over health security and logistical issues.
Completed in 1883, the Carlton Post Office building was designed by J. H. Marsden and erected by James Kennedy for the Public Works Department.
The Victorian Heritage Database Report describes the listing as ìa fine example of the palazzo type post office”.
ìIt is a dominant and essential feature of the neighbouring area,” the Report says
The brick building has rendered façades and a notable composition with arcades on both floors creating a solid and void effect. Unusually for this type of building, it features superimposed trabeated systems and two tier arcades. The original ground floor arcade has been enclosed to form part of the main postal chamber.
The freestanding quality of the building is also notable.