Collingwood 1870s church listed as heavenly development opportunity

Collingwood 1870s church listed as heavenly development opportunity
Collingwood 1870s church listed as heavenly development opportunity

An 1874-built bluestone church in Collingwood is listed for sale by tender as part of a divine trend in Melbourne's property market.

The former St Saviour's Church of England is described by heritage documents as a bluestone Gothic Revival church. It was built adjacent to a school on the corner of Oxford and Mason streets in 1874 to 1875 and enlarged in 1879. Since 1958 the church has operated as the Holy Virgins Protection Russian Orthodox Church.

The church reportedly cost £3,000 to build and was made of locally sourced bluestone. It was consecrated in 1880.

The original clergyman was the 29-year-old Reverend Charles Yelland, a man keen to help the poor, though his efforts did sometimes extend too far and he got in trouble on at least one occasion for practising medicine unlicensed. His congregation consisted of small landlords and local traders.

It only operated as a mission church until 1891, when Yelland died from an abscess of the liver. With the 1892 collapse and liquidation of the Mercantile Bank the church lost most of its funds, but it did survive the period. In 1900 the church reopened after renovations.

Agent Charles Atkins of Hocking Stuart Carlton is marketing the church as a development opportunity. 

He is looking to sell the property for in excess of $2.5 million based on a price of $3,500 per square metre.

The church is currently owned by a consortium led by the Russian Orthodox Church.

"There's such a  scarcity of properties like this it may be a great opportunity for someone to occupy and convert into their own residence or even for a commercial space, either way," says Atkins.

"We're putting it out to both avenues, but I personally think it will be purchased by someone looking to occupy. There's so much scope and room to do something pretty special here. It really is stunning.

"Inquiries have been solid. We've already spoken to a couple of owner-occupiers and a few developers and also those in the commercial inudstry looking for a commercial space. It's a broad mix of buyers demonstrating interest in the property."

The church is is on 715 square metres of land with mixed-use zoning.

Alistair Walsh

Alistair Walsh

Deutsche Welle online reporter

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