The Block buyers face a proposed 12-storey Richmond apartment block threatening their investments

The Block buyers face a proposed 12-storey Richmond apartment block threatening their investments
The Block buyers face a proposed 12-storey Richmond apartment block threatening their investments

A proposed 12-storey Richmond apartment block with shops is set to hurt the re-sale potential and rental income of the four homes sold recently on Channel Nine's hit TV series The Block.

The Coles supermarket group has revealed plans for a $250 million, 333-dwelling apartment complex immediately opposite the Cameron Street homes.

Coles has lodged plans with Yarra Council to demolish the Richmond Plaza centre between Bridge Road and Church Street.

The proposal, which includes 12,000 square metres of retail and commercial space, 530 basement car parking spots and 151 bicycle spaces, has yet to be put out for public consultation.

Yarra mayor Alison Clarke notes the site is in a heritage area, with low-rise residential immediately behind it, and is above the general council policy of five- to six-storey development.

Yarra councillor Steve Jolly told the Melbourne Times Weekly the proposal was a "medium-sized skyscraper in the heart of Richmond… This is not planning, this is an orgy of profit-driven development."

The Richmond cottages, bought by four investors, sold for between $855,000 and $1 million in August.

Prominent Melbourne buyers’ agent Mal James concluded after his August pre-auction inspection that “the position was a shocker.”

“Stand in the street or look on Google streetview and do a 360-degree turn – what do you see? Industrial sites, multistorey car parks. And who knows what is going there in the future?” James noted before the auction.

“This for me was the real killer,” he said.

“As a bit of fun we rated all The Block properties,” James said, noting his firm traditionally only dealt with prestige $1 million plus houses.

“While all contestants had done some great things, we are not sure we would put any on our shopping list.

“The internals may excite but the externals of no car parking, industrial street and commercial neighbours do not,” James added.

James Home Ratings examines pieces of information about a home and matches them against established buying criteria ranking them with a score out of 1,000. His rankings for the four Cameron Street houses ranged between 502 and 615.

A rating below 550 means the property “has issues”. Between 550 and 650 is at the low end of average.

None of the Cameron Street buyers contacted by The Age property editor Simon Johanson were aware of Coles’ plans.

One buyer, who did not want to be identified, said: ''We thought Coles was going to be doing some revamping but we weren't aware there was going to be an apartment block.''

Valuer Robert Bath said such a large development would have a ''detrimental'' impact for owners in the neighbourhood.

''Anything that's high density is going to have deleterious impact,'' he told The Age.

Coles spokeswoman Alecia Batten says Coles is working in conjunction with developer Gresham Property for the project.

Jolly says developers are “trying to rip the heart out of Richmond''.

If approved, it would be the latest in a string of major developments across Richmond, including the Jaques site in Palmer Street, the former Channel 9 site in Bendigo Street, and the Dimmeys redevelopment in Swan Street.

Coles’ bid to redevelop the shopping centre was first reported by the Melbourne Leader last month.

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Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.


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