700 collins street

Real estate investor and manager Cromwell Property Group is lodging a development application to reconfigure its office tower at 700 Collins Street into a "new" $350 million mixed-use apartment, office and hotel tower, earmarking some apartments for "build-to-rent" leasings.

The 55-storey mixed-use development will comprise office, hotel and apartment living, as well as a four-storey podium car park with 199 spaces - extending the current 7-level, A-grade tower it purchased in 2004, to provide 360-degree views across Port Phillip Bay, Docklands and the Melbourne CBD.

The office aspect will consist of about 13,000 square metres of additional A-grade office space across 13 floors. The development application includes a 4.5-star, 182-room full-service hotel and proposes up to 265 studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments.

The group's plans to lease some of the new apartments onsite signals its entry into the new asset class of "build-to-rent" - mass apartments owned by institutions for rent. Development in this sector is increasing as more groups are exploring ways to making the sector viable in the face of housing unaffordability.

The property, adjacent to Southern Cross Station, currently comprises office spaces with large floor plates, retail space and a newly refurbished end-of-trip facility and lobby.

Cromwell’s Head of Property, Bobby Binning, said: “This is another exciting value-add development opportunity for Cromwell and follows hot on the heels of the $75 million development approval received at Chatswood on Sydney’s North Shore.

“The success of our asset recycling initiatives is evidenced by the recent sale of Northpoint Tower, following a $130 million redevelopment which boasts extensive culinary options as well as a rooftop bar, an eight-storey, 187-room Vibe Hotel complete with conference facilities, as well as a rooftop pool and gym.”

Cromwell has recently completed a $375 million institutional placement, executed a new three-year €225 million syndicated facility and announced the $300 million sale of its 50% interest in Northpoint Tower.

The site is located a short walk from Marvel Stadium and benefits from easy access to retail and other amenity along Collins Street and the wider Docklands precinct.