Prominent Piece of Port Melbourne History Up For Grabs

Posted on 19th February 2020

A prominent piece of Port Melbourne’s history will be up for grabs when the circa-1887 former home of the Port Melbourne Building Society, on an invaluable corner site within the prime of the Bay Street retail and lifestyle strip, goes to auction in March.

James Lockwood and David Bourke of Fitzroys are marketing 226 Bay Street on behalf of a long-term private owner.

Constructed in the Victorian Free Classical style, the vacant 508sqm two-level building is on a rare triple-fronted site of 254sqm, with a wide 10-metre frontage to busy Bay Street.

“This marks a generational opportunity for an owner occupier, investor or developer to acquire one of Port Melbourne’s landmark freeholds,” Lockwood said.

Interest is expected in the early to mid-$3 million range.

Lockwood said a majority of the early enquiry is coming from owner occupiers and builders/developers who would look to refurbish the property or value-add, as there is scope to add a level above and take advantage of the prime city views Port Melbourne has to offer.

He said the property’s prime position within Bay Street, and close proximity to the Melbourne CBD and Port Melbourne Beach, as well as multiple public transport routes and major arterials offers attractive hospitality, lifestyle and accessibility attributes.

“These have become key drivers for owner occupiers and businesses looking for new locations, particularly as the inner-city office market becomes increasingly popular.

“Investors have also taken note of the heightened demand for well-located office properties across Melbourne’s city fringe, and are seeking opportunities that will present solid future growth prospects.”

Located on the corner of Liardet Street, the property has exposure to high volumes of foot traffic, and is adjacent to the busy Coles Supermarket and carpark.

Of Melbourne’s iconic retail and lifestyle strips, Bay Street has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of medium and high-density development in recent times, revitalising the precinct and bringing crowds throughout all hours to the popular cafés, eateries and historic pubs. According to Fitzroys’ Walk the Strip report, Bay Street, Port Melbourne retail vacancies tightened 3.0% over 2018/19, one of the lowest across Melbourne.

Bourke said Bay Street has retained much of the Victorian-era shopfront architecture throughout its recent development-intensive period.

“Local 19th century icons dotting the famous precinct include the Town Hall, police station and post office buildings, as well as 226 Bay Street, while the influence of the port and its dockers is evident in prominent corner hotels that were also built through the 19th century,” he said.

“Character attributes such as these provide a further point of difference for owner occupiers and businesses, and consistently provide a drawcard for residents as Melburnians seek to live, work and go out across the inner-city.”

The Port Melbourne Building Society originated in 1884 and a provisional committee of more than 100 members was formed. The Society’s success in Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs prompted expansion within 18 months, and Allotment 20 of Section 20 was purchased due to its central location. The building was converted to a maisonette by a Dr. Potter in 1942. It has been home to Meeco (Australian Medical & Scientific Systems Ltd), and earlier this century travel agents Port Travel.

The property will go to auction on 4 March at 1pm on site.