Site of former historic Kilkenny Inn hits the market
Developers behind a proposed $350 million revamp of iconic former Kilkenny Inn are “considering their options” after the prominent corner site hit the market.
Melbourne-based developer and builder Hickory has announced its intention in seeking a prospective investment partner or buyer “to share the vision” of the historic site at the corner of King and Lonsdale streets.
The site secured planning amended approval in 2022 and has since undergone demolition after fire tore through the building on May 24 last year.
The City of Melbourne endorsed plans in 2021 for an 80-metre office and retail tower behind the three-storey 1915-built Kilkenny Inn.
The building’s façade was kept during demolition to “unlock the project’s true development potential, offering world class amenity and landscaped terraces on multiple floors,” according to Hickory.
Commercial real estate agent Cushman and Wakefield is leading the sales campaign for 580 Lonsdale St, with its international director and co-head of investment sales Oliver Hay predicting it would generate significant competition.
“We are entering a unique time in the Melbourne CBD with the supply of developable land becoming increasingly tight, coupled with tightening planning controls, as time goes on corner sites of this scale will become virtually non-existent,” he said.
Given the amenity attributes in this location as well our current population growth rate and housing undersupply, we expect strong interest from luxury residential and multi-family sectors as well as tourism and commercial sectors.
Asked why Hickory was choosing to put the site on the market, Mr Hay said, they were “open to all options”.
“It’s been a hotly contested site; they’ve been approached many times so they’re considering their options.”
The site’s “flexible zoning” allows for multiple uses within various asset classes, including residential, student accommodation and hotel services.
Hickory CEO Michael Argyrou said the company was committed to revitalising the precinct with projects such as 570 Little Bourke St in joint venture partnership with Maxcap and Argo Group, ICD Property’s Aspire tower at 299 King St, and Melbourne’s first Meriton Suites Hotel at 140 King St under way.
“We see the vision of transforming this pocket of Melbourne’s CBD and are pleased to be part of this precinct’s vibrant evolution, creating better places for future communities,” Mr Argyrou said.
The building at 580 Lonsdale St is recognised for its architectural significance, with the site also located within the City of Melbourne’s heritage overlay. •
Caption: An artist’s impression of the proposed redevelopment of the former Kilkenny Inn.