Pace acquisition to spur $150m apartment project

Melbourne-based integrated property developer and builder PACE Development Group has emerged as the buyer of ‘Blackburn Place’, one of the largest permitted suburban apartment projects, purchasing the site for $23.85 million.    

The 8,767square metre landholding with Commercial 1 zoning, located at 160 Whitehorse Road, Blackburn, was sold by the CBRE Victorian Development Sites team of Scott OrchardChao Zhang and David Minty after an international expressions of interest campaign. 

The $150 million ‘Blackburn Place’ project will comprise of 263 apartments plus 3,663sqm of high profile ground level commercial and retail spaces across four separate towers. 

CBRE Director, Victorian Development Sites, Scott Orchard said; “This is a landmark sale for Melbourne’s property market, being the largest permitted suburban apartment project sold in 2018.” 

“With recent data showing a softening in Melbourne’s suburban residential market, this sale re-affirms that buyers are confident in the future market outlook,” Mr Orchard added. 

The property was sold to prominent local developer PACE, who out pipped a strong Chinese bid to secure the property. PACE Managing Director Shane Wilkinson noted; “Pace Development Group is extremely pleased with its latest development site acquisition given our confidence in the medium to long term outlook for Melbourne’s residential markets.

We also have a specific appreciation for the eastern suburban markets, with retail solutions and residential pre-sale success experienced at ‘Pace of Doncaster East’ in Jackson Court, which was acquired from CBRE in 2016. Blackburn Place will be a landmark project and is fitting of the PACE brand.”

Mr Orchard added; “Blackburn is not traditionally recognised as an apartment market with only 360 apartments having been built in the suburb, however with continual pressures on housing affordability and a median house price nearing $1.5million, the PACE Group saw an opportunity to capitalise on growing demand here.” 

The sale highlights confidence in the suburban apartment pre-sales market despite competing active projects such as Golden Age’s ‘Sky Garden’ project in Glen Waverley and nearby Box Hill projects ‘East Central Tower’ and ‘Panorama Box Hill’

CBRE Manager Victorian Development Sites, Chao Zhang noted; “Blackburn was once the quieter cousin to neighbouring Box Hill, but is fast becoming its own satellite city with several residential apartment projects recently delivered that have proven popular and shown confidence in this location. 

“Asian developers who are active in Box Hill took great interest in this property, recognising the future growth and value proposition of Blackburn, being only 3km away,” Mr Zhang said.