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The Age

Grocon sells part of wall collapse site

Author: Simon Johanson
Date: 30/07/2014
Words: 404
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: Business
Page: 32
Grocon will join a rush of developers and owners divesting key assets as a wave of Asian capital washes through Melbourne's CBD.

The construction company has put two large sites up for sale on the former Carlton & United Brewery site, the scene of the horrifying wall collapse where siblings Bridget, 18, and Alexander Jones, 19, and French academic Marie-Faith Fiawoo, 33, died in March last year.

Grocon and signage firm Aussie Signs face charges over the incident but the property developer has moved to sell two of its three remaining landholdings on the CUB site ahead of any resolution of legal proceedings.

Proceeds from the sale were expected to exceed $60 million.

Grocon's two blocks total 6600 square metres and are on the northern edge of the company's Swanston Square development between Queensbridge and Bouverie streets.

The land is split into two titles and will be offered individually or as one lot.

Grocon will keep a smaller holding on the Swanston Street side of the site for future development.

Probuild expects to complete Grocon's Swanston Square development on the southern portion of the land, which includes a commercial fitout in the heritage Maltstore building and a 536-apartment building over 34 levels, in 2015.

Singapore-based Chip Eng Seng also owns two portions of the site through its CEL Australia unit.

CBRE's Mark Wizel, Josh Rutman and Tom Tuxworth have been appointed to sell the site.

Mr Wizel said Asian developers had purchased sites valued at up to $1.8 billion in Melbourne since mid-2011. "There is no sign of any slowing in interest," he said.

Grocon has a $2 billion development pipeline that includes the $500 million-plus Parklands Commonwealth Games Village in Brisbane, $700 million Ribbon redevelopment of Sydney's IMAX cinema and apartments at 85 Spring Street in Melbourne.

"This sale will enable us to further diversify both geographically and across property sectors as we look to fund a number of new business opportunities around the country in what is the largest development pipeline in our company's history," chief executive Carolyn Viney said.

Recent development-driven deals in Melbourne's CBD include:

Lorenz Grollo's Makers Mark building at 464-466 Collins Street, which is on the market.

The Yankos family's Duke of Kent Hotel on La Trobe Street up for sale.

Suleman family's 15-level office tower at 468-478 Collins Street is looking for buyers.

Mark Rowsthorn sold the old Savoy Tavern on Bourke Street for $44.5 to Singapore-based Fragrance Group.

Harry Stamoulis parted with 555 Collins Street for $78 million, also to Fragrance Group.

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