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Commercial Market Update

Iconic Victorian properties steal the show in 2018

One of Victoria’s last remaining drive-in cinemas, an unassuming building that featured in a cult Aussie film and a pub linked to an underworld figure were among Melbourne’s most notable commercial property listings this year.

Here are some of the most famous businesses and commercial buildings to hit the market in 2018.


One of Victoria’s last remaining drive-in cinemas was reeled in by a buyer for $12.5 million in November.

But those involved in the sale of the Coburg Drive-In were quick to reassure fans its big screens would keep rolling for at least another decade.

Village Roadshow Theatres sold the 8.17ha Coburg North site to Australian property group Charter Hall, but will lease it back for an initial 10-year term.

Coburg Drive-in

The Coburg Drive-in has been sold.

Coburg drive-in

The property has 670sqm of buildings, including the traditional candy shop.

Charter Hall managing director and chief executive David Harrison says the big-ticket property would make an “attractive investment” while the company “unlocks potential higher and better use options in the longer term”.

The sale well and truly exceeded initial $11 million-plus price expectations.


The former Carlton home of Australia’s longest-running theatre restaurant Dracula’ssold for about $10.3 million in May.

The two-storey building at 100 Victoria St changed hands for a suburb record square metre rate of about $21,600.

Dracula's Melbourne cabaret

The property was purchased by a Melbourne-based Chinese investor.

Dracula's cabaret

Dracula’s features a fully serviced theatre.

It was the first time the site — which was home to Dracula’s Cabaret Show & Dinner for 37 years — had been sold since 1990, when it fetched $860,000, according to CoreLogic.

The buyer was a locally based Chinese investor entering Melbourne’s commercial property market for the first time with plans to lease the space.


A colourful Collingwood pub famously frequented by the late Mark “Chopper” Read was served up to the market in November.

The Leinster Arms Hotel, which was established at 66 Gold St in 1863, remains up for grabs after passing in on a $3.25 million vendor bid at auction. The pass in came despite the pub attracting two genuine bidders.

It has a $3.75 million asking price and is being offered with vacant possession.

The Leinster Arms Hotel has a $3.8 million price guide.

Glen and Wilhelmina McGee, who ran the popular watering hole for 18 years, closed it on AFL Grand Final day.

Their closure announcement described the hotel as “a second home to many” and “one of the cosiest destinations in town”.

When Read died in 2013, Ms McGhee told Fairfax Media the notorious crime figure always had a story to tell at the pub, and that “raspberry lemonade” became his drink of choice there in his final years.


The fictional office building of fumbling lawyer Dennis Denuto hit the market in Brunswick in October.

A filming location for the 1997 film The Castle, 728 Sydney Rd remains for sale with a $1.2 million asking price.

Walshe & Whitelock agent Jane Sowersby says the building, owned by the parents of comedian and The Castle writer Santo Cilauro, has been in the family since the mid-1970s.

728 Sydney Rd, Brunswick — a filming location for The Castle — was put on the market.

The office scenes for the much-quoted Denuto were filmed there.

“They’ve called in a favour — I think they had a really low budget for filming of The Castle,” Ms Sowersby said.


Bourke Street Mall building fetched well above $40 million in its first sale in more than 60 years in July.

Colliers International agent Oliver Hay says the gold rush-era property — leased by crystal merchants Swarovski and shoe shop Windsor Smith — was snapped up by a private family based in Southeast Asia.

Bourke St Mall

The property attracted interest from offshore and local buyers.

Bourke St Mall Swarovski

Swarovski occupies the Bourke St building.

It sold amid fierce competition from local and offshore investors.

Vendor Elbaum Holdings paid just $402,000 for the three-storey 1859 building at No. 274-278 in 1955.

Hay says he and Colliers colleagues Matthew Stagg, Daniel Wolman and David Sia received more than 200 inquires about the “high-profile asset” after it hit the market in April, generating “multiple bids”.

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