Chinese developer Hengmao has divested a site with approved plans for a 12-level mixed-use project in Maribyrnong, Melbourne. 

The 4,940 sqm site at 19-21 White Street was acquired by a Sydney-based developer for an undisclosed sum, however industry sources suggested it would achieve around $20 million.  

The inner west property had an existing permit and approved plans for a project offering 280 apartments and retail space designed by architects Elenberg Fraser.  

Savills agents Benson Zhou, Julian Heatherich, Nick Garoni and Tanya Su brokered the sale.  

“An undisclosed Sydney developer ultimately out paid offshore groups and local BTR operators to secure the site and plans to deliver and sell the project in the coming years,” Zhou said. 

“The strong interest in this site is a clear indicator of confidence returning to the suburban residential market, buoyed by continued migration and house price growth.” 

There has been an emerging trend of Sydney-based developers securing sites in Melbourne as a comparatively undervalued environment, according to Savills.  

“Recently we have transacted sites to Sydney buyers for land subdivision, suburban apartments, luxury residential and office,” Heatherich said. 

“The rise of BTR projects across Melbourne, which is now the leading BTR demand in Australia, is adding depth to the market for large scale permit approved projects.”  

Last month, developer Time & Place and Corsair Investment Management bought a site in Alphington, Melbourne for about $48 million to develop a $500 million mixed-use precinct.   

The site came with a permit for a precinct comprising 25,000 sqm of retail, office and community facilities, as well as a BTR residential offering. 

In nearby Geelong, developer Gurner and Geelong property identity Dean Montgomery teamed up last month to develop a former wool store near the city’s waterfront into a $300 million mixed-use precinct.  

The site had an existing permit for a 12-storey commercial building, with plans to amend the permit to develop a sustainable precinct with a hotel and residential apartments.