Golden Age takes over Grocon project

Golden Age takes over $75m Spring Street site

Busy developer Golden Age, led by Jeff Xu, will take on one of central Melbourne’s most prominent projects after buying the Spring Street site from Grocon for $75 million.

Mr Xu is to rework the internal layout of apartments within the current building envelope and offer new product to the market.

The project at 85 Spring Street has approval for about 225 apartments after Grocon trimmed a 44-level proposal to 39 levels and reduced the number of apartments when it was initially refused a permit.

“It’s still early stages but I think we will improve the floor plan and the marketing, which we are good at it,” Mr Xu told The Australian Financial Review.

“The reason we like this one is it’s the best piece of land in east Melbourne.”

Depending on the extent of changes made to the project, it is likely deposits will be handed back to original off-the-plan purchasers as fresh product is offered to the market.

Grocon secured the Spring Street site, occupied by a 16-storey office tower, for $45 million four years ago.

In September last year, the private developer controlled by property scion Daniel Grollo appointed CBRE’s Mark Wizel, Lewis Tong and Josh Rutman to market the site after persistent approaches by local and offshore parties keen to get control of permitted sites in the Melbourne CBD.

The proposed tower is on a prime site close to the corner of Collins and Spring streets, overlooking the parliamentary precinct and nearby parkland.

Mr Xu has a number of apartment developments already under way, including at Macquarie Park in Sydney and the super-thin Collins House tower on Melbourne’s Collins Street.

The developer’s confidence for his latest project is undiminished, despite concerns voiced by the Reserve Bank of Australia for a potential oversupply in the Melbourne CBD and inner Brisbane.

Referring to a Warren Buffett aphorism, Mr Xu said that when people are fearful “you have to come into the market and when people are crazy you have to get out of the market”.

“You just need to know what exactly you are doing, what market you are going into. If you ask me to buy something in Southbank or Docklands I won’t.

“But something like this kind of location in Melbourne or Sydney, I just say ‘buy it’.

“Melbourne and Sydney are not only markets for China, and not just for Australia. It is a market for the whole world.”

Mr Xu, who arrived in Melbourne in 1998 to restore the fortunes of a family-owned restaurant, also developed the 32-level Sheraton Hotel and apartment project just behind the new Spring Street site.

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