South-eastern skyline to rise up at Highett
September 17, 2011
THE Victorian government’s development arm is poised to seize control of a highly anticipated infill site within a south-eastern suburb that may soon have its own skyline.
Well-placed industry sources say VicUrban is negotiating to buy the CSIRO’s outgoing Land and Research Highett Laboratory 16 kilometres south-east of town near Southland Shopping Centre and an as yet undeveloped railway station.
It has been anticipated for years that the CSIRO laboratory site would be used for a residential development, particularly since 1996, when council rezoned land in Highett and in neighbouring Sandringham and Cheltenham from Industrial 1 to Business 3, and increased height limits to 14 metres to allow for the construction of commercial premises.
VicUrban would not comment about its involvement with the site when contacted by BusinessDay.
It is expected that the group, which is soon to undergo a structural and name change, will redevelop the site as a joint venture with a private-sector partner, according to sources.
Six months ago VicUrban paid $7 million for a 15,000 square metre site at 329 Bay Road abutting the southern edge of the CSIRO laboratory. Currently configured as an office showroom, this site is now expected to form an entrance to a major residential redevelopment of the CSIRO laboratory.
As part of any redevelopment, between three and four hectares of the CSIRO site known as the Grassy Woodlands is expected to be retained for public use. Earlier this week it was reported that supermarket giant Woolworths had invested in the Vantage Highett mixed-use project to be developed on land abutting the northern edge of the CSIRO site on Highett Road.
Woolworths will trade from a supermarket and own another 18 specialty stores, which are currently for lease via Nichols Crowder. A low-rise, 126-unit apartment building will be developed by Accord Property Group above the shopping centre.