VRC collect winnings from Flemington

THE Victoria Racing Club and China's largest developer Greenland have sealed the sale of two surplus parcels of land at Flemington.

Greenland and the VRC signed a memorandum of understanding in October to buy the sites for a rumoured price of $60 million.

VRC CEO David Courtney said the sale would inject more than $45 million into Flemington Racecourse, and remains subject to approvals development approval for the 10,500 sqm (1.05ha) of land on Epsom Rd and 30,174 sqm (3.01 ha) known as the Hill Precinct.

The development could potentially yield 2,000 apartment units.

Courtney said the VRC will now work with Greenland to facilitate a design competition process. The sale will be finalised once the VRC approves the final development concept and all necessary approvals are obtained.

“The sale is an important milestone in the implementation of the VRC’s ambitious masterplan, designed to deliver greater benefits to Members, patrons, the racing industry and the community.”

“The masterplan includes the construction of a new grandstand and enhanced facilities for all visitors to Flemington, and will ensure the Melbourne Cup Carnival remains Australia’s foremost major event,” he added.

Greenland managing director Sherwood Luo said the planned development of both sites would contribute considerably to Melbourne.

“We are committed to working collaboratively with the VRC to ensure the sale and development provide benefits to the VRC, Flemington and the wider community. Our next task is to undertake an internal design competition to ensure we deliver a final concept that reflects the character of Flemington,” Luo said.

The initial plans will be made available for review and discussion by the middle of 2014.

The acquisition by Greenland is another sign that foreign investors are no longer CBD centric and are actively pursuing opportunities outside the city.

Last week Singapore’s Chip Eng Seng paid $19.28 million for the prized infill development site at 154-166 Williamsons Rd, 5-17 Henry St & 59 Margot Ave Doncaster.

The 28,002 sqm former Morrison Brothers Nursery & Orchard site is located in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs and is the group’s second major property play in Melbourne this year, after paying $32 million for part of the former Carlton & United Breweries 170 Victoria St.

CBRE’s Victorian director Mark Wizel said mainland Chinese developers have shown a real liking over the past three years to develop outside the CBD, several high profile South Yarra projects are currently being delivered by Chinese developers.

It is not surprising to see sophisticated offshore groups now targeting key suburbs within Melbourne.

“As more and more players continue to come to Melbourne with the desire of developing mixed use projects, a real and exciting opportunity awaits particular Melbourne suburbs as we see a diversification from Asian developers away from being “CBD centric” and hedging their operations by doing projects in the CBD, immediate CBD fringe as well as in some outer suburbs,” Wizel said.

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