The Block South Yarra? Octagonal Hotel Saville mystery

The Block South Yarra? Octagonal Hotel Saville mystery
The Block South Yarra? Octagonal Hotel Saville mystery

The eight level, 34-room octagonal-shaped Hotel Saville in South Yarra has been sold. And the whisper is to Channel 9’s The Block for $7.35 million.

But there's no confirmation from Ben Baines and Ted Dwyer, the Colliers International selling agents, simply saying the property had sold to a local developer.

The property was sold with a permit for 51 apartments by the vendor, Simpo Solutions Pty Ltd directed on purchase by Ray Huang.

The 3.5 star hotel has been trading since the early 1970s, when it was built with 360 degree views including the city across Fawkner Park. 

Located at 1-5 Commercial Road, and currently trading as Hotel Saville of South Yarra, the property was marketed as a "premium opportunity well suited to residential developers, hotel/motel developers, home owners and investors".

The Herald Sun reported it sold on Friday to Channel 9’s The Block for approximately $7.35 million - and will be the biggest site the series has taken on.

“We’ve had no contact with Channel Nine or The Block,” the agent reportedly told the Australian Financil Review, though that's not the final word as the Watercress Production company typically utilises the services of their architects, Brenchley Architects. 

So Property Observer isn't yet convinced either way, as previous reports of The Block's next intended location have been awry.

Channel 9 doesn't offer confirmatory comment on The Block's acquisitions until the filming is underway, as part of its 'keep'em guessing' marketing strategy.

Despite some doubting by Property Observer, The Age has pinpointed the likely next location elsewhere in South Yarra after the forthcoming Prahran series.

Property Observer notes Brenchley Architects has recently lodged a $2.4 million 10 apartment, development application at 27 Darling Street, South Yarra which has a caveat on it pursuant to a purchase by Watercress Productions, suggesting the 10th and possibly subsequent series could be undertaken at the popular Melbourne suburb.

Following an influx of interest from potential purchasers, Colliers International sold 1-5 Commercial Road, South Yarra in one line with a nearby 450 square metre car parking block at 270 Punt Road.

The Hotel Saville, which was sold with vacant possession, obtained in excess of 200 enquiries with 10 formal offers.

"Interest came from local and offshore residential developers as well as hotel/motel operators," Ben Baines advised.

“It was a very rare opportunity to acquire a landmark property offering such substantial upside potential.

"Local developers fought off offshore interest to secure the property.

“Local developers are still dominant in Melbourne’s suburban markets given their knowledge of owner-occupiers who will ultimately be purchasing the end product,” Mr Baines said.

“This is in contrast to many of the CBD developments which are targeting investors, particularly those based overseas.

“That being said, offshore groups are increasing their activity and enquiries on suburban sites and as such we are likely to see high profile sites in the suburbs start to be snapped up by offshore groups, in particular larger sites with potential for in excess of 60 apartments.

“Market confidence within the suburbs is as strong as we have seen since before the GFC, with residential development sites now consistently transacting for in excess of around $130,000 per potential apartment.

"Looking back 24 months, it was rare for apartment sites to achieve more than $100,000 per potential apartment.” 

The South Yarra address also made the site more attractive, with the suburb’s median two-bedroom apartment price currently sitting at $620,000.

“The properties have great access to popular attractions and amenities such as the Prahran Market, Chapel Street, Fawkner Park, the Botanical Gardens and Albert Park Lake. St Kilda Road, the Monash Freeway and public transport are all nearby, while The Alfred Hospital is just down the road."

In fact the in the 1990s some of its rooms were briefly rented to the Alfred Hospital.

In 2002 the hotel was in the news after it was alleged Reservoir man Shane Chartres-Abbott violently raped a client in a hotel suite, with part of her tongue missing.

The gigolo Chartres-Abbott was arrested shortly after the attack with the victim's blood on his pants and her phone in his bag. With the forensic evidence, medical reports, the victim's testimony and witness statements, Chartres-Abbott presented a bizarre, headline-grabbing defence that he was a 200-year-old vampire.

Chartres-Abbott was subsequently executed outside his Reservoir home in 2003 as he left for the County Court during the rape trial.

The hearing for Mr Chartres-Abbott's murder is under way at the moment.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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