League’s best offer a hand to Jets

Jets players Jack Maher and Matt Renshaw got the chance to train with O and M stars Adam Prior and Brayden O’Hara. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSON
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STARS of the Ovens and Murray Interleague squad are the latest footballers to throw their support behind the Wodonga Jets.

Only weeks after training at Collingwood’s Melbourne base, the all abilities football team found themselves at Martin Park last week at the same time as the interleague squad.

Coach Matt Deegan said some of the stars of the Ovens and Murray competition were only too happy to help out.

“Brayden O’Hara and Adam Prior were keen to get involved and not only worked on their football ability but at the same time provided a thrill for the Jets,” he said.

“In association with Volunteer Friends Wodonga and the Wodonga Bulldogs Football Club, over the past five years the Jets have gone from playing one game a year to participating in four home and away games, three round-robin carnivals and of course, culminating in what the players see as the pinnacle, their half-time game at the O and M grand final.”

The Jets’ next game will be after the Wodonga Bulldogs v Wangaratta Magpies OandM clash on June 6.

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Melba makes name return

ABOVE: The original Wodonga Shire Hall.LEFT: The former Melba Theatre.Pictures:WODONGAHISTORICALSOCIETY Dame Nellie Melba biographer Ann Blainey says the name Melba Square could be a great choice for Wodonga’s new city square. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL
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COULD a dark horse be making a last-minute dash across the finish line in the race to name Wodonga’s urban square?

Well, perhaps not so much dark horse as divine diva — a Border Mail poll suggests Melba Square is leading the people’s choice as a name for the new public space at the corner of High Street and Elgin Boulevard.

The unofficial online poll showed 51per cent of people chose Melba Square, 35per cent Junction Square, 6per cent Drover’s Rest, and 4per cent each for Aurora and Harmony squares.

The Melba square name is not in fact direct reference to opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, but to the theatre named for her that once stood opposite the square, where the Woolworths supermarket now stands.

Either way, historian Ann Blainey reckons it’s an excellent choice, and one the dame would approve.

Mrs Blainey — wife of historian Geoffrey Blainey — was on the Border yesterday for a talk about Melba, coinciding with the singer’s birthday.

As a Melba biographer, Mrs Blainey said she’d found Melba actually had several links to the area, with several performances on the Border in the early 1900s.

Her father owned Bethanga Park for many years, meaning as a child she would have spent time here, although her formative years were spent in Melbourne.

“She was the first person to sing at the Albury Mechanics Institute … and at that concert for those who couldn’t get seats she made sure they opened all the doors so everyone could hear,” she said.

Wodonga Council had previously stated its preference for a name reflecting the precinct’s railway heritage, but Mrs Blainey thinks the Melba name can almost encompass that too.

Melba did after all travel regularly on the line from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and, upon her death in 1931, a procession was held at Albury station as her coffin was moved from one platform to the other for the journey from Sydney to Melbourne.

Wodonga Historical Society members have agreed the Melba name could be perfect, but pointed out one key factor: the council has stipulated it does not want to name the square after a person, living or dead, in order to ensure it is inclusive.

Society member Uta Wiltshire said that the name wouldn’t, however, necessarily be commemorating a person, but a place.

“To have Melba square would be fine, as long as in 20 years time people do remember there was a theatre of that name was once stood by that site,” she said.

The Melba Theatre was in use for 60 years which was of significance to Wodonga.

The council is taking feedback on the five names until May 28.

A report will go to next month council’s meeting, where councillors will choose a name to put forward to the Registrar of Geographic Names.

The council has stressed it will consider the public response.

People can go to makewodongayours南京夜网419论坛 to vote, or leave a dot on polls posted at the council offices and other venues including The Cube, Library, community centres and the Visitor Information Centre.

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4000 nappies to help mums in need

Albury Wodonga Regional Foodshare manager Peter Matthews, The Nappy Collective Albury-Wodonga team leader Sophie Richards and volunteer Penny Collis boxed nappies donated to help mums in need. Picture: KYLIE ESLERMORE than 4000 nappies have been packed for mums in need.
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The Nappy Collective group has been collecting the baby essential for the past two weeks to donate to families who can’t afford them.

It was the second time a nappy drive has been held on the Border, the first was in October and only 500 nappies were donated.

A volunteer with The Nappy Collective group in Albury, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she could see the benefits of the nappy donations after once being in need herself after escaping domestic violence.

“I was left with nothing and it’s the first thing you notice,” she said.

Nappies were collected at drop off points at the Lavington library and the Albury Library Museum, set up by Halve Waste, and the Wodonga library and Target.

The Nappy Collective Albury-Wodonga team leader Sophie Richards said she was overwhelmed by the generosity.

“I’m thrilled with the response and hopefully it’s enough to meet the demand so we don’t have to get any from Melbourne,” she said.

“A woman who was 33 weeks pregnant with twins was even keen to help.”

Ms Richards said nappies were not always affordable and she often heard of them going to waste due to babies growing out of them.

They boxed the nappies according to size at Albury Wodonga Regional Foodshare and manager Peter Matthews said often people were asking for those types of products.

“People who need emergency food have an income that’s under stress,” he said.

“They won’t just go to people with a low income but also those with sick children or other issues.”

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Floating palaces: Luxury houseboats build up on Lake Eildon

Luxury cruise: The $2 million boat Legacy is owned by the Wilson family who operate Eastern Plant Hire. Luxury cruise: The $2 million boat Legacy is owned by the Wilson family who operate Eastern Plant Hire.
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Luxury cruise: The $2 million boat Legacy is owned by the Wilson family who operate Eastern Plant Hire.

The filling of Lake Eildon after a dust-dry 2007 drought and new houseboat regulations have prompted a luxurious change in the lake’s leisure craft.

Moored at the Eildon Boat Club is the largest houseboat the lake has seen, a new three-storey behemoth built at a cost of $2 million.

The boat is comparable in size to the floating palaces frequently seen on Australia’s other houseboat mecca, the Murray River.

The $2 million Legacy’s black and white, steel and glass exterior was commissioned by a Melbourne-based businessman.

The high-tech craft is leading a houseboat transformation where luxury suites, solar power and app-based remote monitoring and management systems are common.

Two other similar-sized watercraft are under construction in the small township of Eildon and will be on the water before the next season, said boat broker and Lake Eildon Houseboat Industry Association president Mike Dalmau​.

Mr Dalmau said the renewal of houseboat stock was prompted by a change to regulations two years ago allowing boats to be built up to 7.25 by 18 metres.

Previously they were restricted to 13.7 metres in length.

That has underpinned local industries – five local boat builders now construct new, or refurbish existing, vessels.

“It’s given people confidence. They’re getting significant interest in building larger, bigger boats.”

Five other million-dollar vessels have recently been completed.

Lake Eildon, when full, holds the equivalent of six Sydney Harbours.

More than 720 houseboats are moored on movable pontoons that change location as water levels rise and fall with seasonal fluctuations for irrigation.

The lake is now just over half full, Goulburn Murray Water’s Daniel Irwin said.

The irrigation season ends in May and winter inflows will boost capacity, he said.

It has not always been so – a drought that peaked in 2007 reduced water levels to within 5 per cent of total capacity, exposing kilometres of dry, cracked lake bottom.

The regulatory changes will also add significant costs for all houseboat owners who are required to install grey water systems over the next six years.

About 70 vessels (10 per cent) change hands each season, costing between $150,000 and $1 million, Mr Dalmau​ said.

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Market wrap: Malvern post office shop sells for $3.55 million

A private investor paid $3.55 million on a tight 3.5 per cent yield for a freehold retail property leased to Australia Post in Malvern. A small Chapel Street shop leased to Vietnamese restaurant, Kin, sold under the hammer for more than $100,000 above its reserve.
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A small Chapel Street shop leased to Vietnamese restaurant, Kin, sold under the hammer for more than $100,000 above its reserve.

A private investor paid $3.55 million on a tight 3.5 per cent yield for a freehold retail property leased to Australia Post in Malvern.

A small Chapel Street shop leased to Vietnamese restaurant, Kin, sold under the hammer for more than $100,000 above its reserve.

A private investor paid $3.55 million on a tight 3.5 per cent yield for a freehold retail property leased to Australia Post in Malvern.



A private investor looking for strong industrial yields has paid $8.84 million for an office and warehouse in Melbourne’s western suburbs. Number 2-10 Bliss Court on the Gilbertson Industrial Estate changed hands on a 9 per cent yield. Savills Australia’s Chris Jones and Ben Hegerty​, who brokered the deal, said the property was sold subject to a secure five-year lease to Australian Automotive Distribution for $798,406 per annum net.


A private investor paid $3.55 million on a tight 3.5 per cent yield for a freehold retail property leased to Australia Post. Teska Carson’s Adrian Boutsakis​ and Michael Ludski​ said the property was knocked down in front of a large auction crowd with multiple bidders pushing the price well past the reserve. The shop at 117 Glenferrie Road sold with a five-year lease and five-year option for $126,800 per annum net.  Meanwhile, A site leased to a Mitre 10 outlet in the popular Malvern Village shopping strip sold at auction for $3.51 million. Gross Waddell’s Jonathon McCormack and Andrew Greenway said 1473-1475 Malvern Road’s two street frontages, location and 697 square metre size attracted strong interest from developers. “The buyer was a local who plans to do a mixed use development on the site,” Mr Greenway said.


Prowse Burns Commercial’s Philip Prowse​ has sold a specialist medical centre at 260 Cotham Road for $3.8 million. The property opposite the Cotham Private hospital has a new five-year lease with two five-year options at a commencing rent of $190,000 net(reflecting a 5 per cent yield). More than 150 inquiries were received, showing the current strength of the market, he said.


A small Chapel Street shop leased to Vietnamese restaurant, Kin, sold under the hammer for more than  $100,000 above its reserve. A local private investor snapped up Lot 1A at 233 Chapel Street after five bidders pushed the price to $1.365 million on a tight 4.76 per cent yield and at an exceptional building rate of $21,666 a square metre, Teska Carson’s Tom Maule​ and Adrian Boutsakis said. The property’s new, five-year lease returns a net rental of circa $65,000 per annum.


The high turnover in suburban shopping strips hit another peak with 403 Hampton Street selling for $1.31 million under the hammer, about 20 per cent above the reserve. Fitzroys’ Mark Talbot has sold $6.7 million worth real estate, across five properties, in the strip since October 2014. The two-storey building at 403 had a ground floor retail space and separate first-floor apartment. It sold on a 2.7 per cent passing yield with both floors subject to monthly tenancies.


An owner occupier has paid $1.95 million for 97-99 Dover Street Cremorne, a two-level modern office building with ample off street parking, Patrick O’Callaghan of POC Commercial said.



Which bank will move to a key corner site in Eltham? The Commonwealth Bank has taken 224 square metres in a seven-year deal with two five-year options, a deal negotiated by Fitzroys’ Dean Alexander. It will pay commencing rental of $110,000 per annum for 980 Main Street after moving from a nearby larger property. “This type of move is consistent with the major banks reducing their branch sizes to have a more flexible retail footprint as they seek out high-profile foot-traffic locations,” Mr Alexander said.


All Star Comics has leased a prominent retail space at 53 Queen Street. The comic book store took the ground and first level in a deal negotiated by Colliers International’s Adam Shirley on a $400-$450 per square metre gross face rent.


Australian Catholic University has leased an office building at 38-40 Brunswick Street close to its main campus on Victoria Parade. The two-storey heritage-listed building, constructed in 1886, has a net lettable area of 650 square metres and was leased at $252,000 per annum ($385 per square metre) on a five-year lease term, Gross Waddell’s Tamara Gross and Alex Ham said.


CVA Property Consultants’ Leo Mancino​ has sold two new retail shops/offices within one week of each other. Both properties (Units 1 and 2, 503 Keilor Road) sold prior to completion of construction for an average of $6100 per square metre. One sold to an investor, the other to an owner-occupier. Both had secure onsite parking and exposure to passing pedestrian and vehicle traffic.


A series of lease deals has soaked up more than 700 square metres  of office space in 190 Queen Street, Melbourne. Abacus Home Loans, Empire Institute and TATA Education have all taken office suites in the building, in deals negotiated by CBRE’s Mark Bolis​ and Patrick Mount. Expansion prompted all three moves with rentals in the mid $300s per square metre with minimal incentives.


Knight Frank has recruited Adam Jones to its office leasing team in Melbourne. Mr Jones will run the city-fringe leasing business. He has more than 10 years’ experience in the leasing industry having worked at Colliers, CBRE and DTZ.

CBRE has appointed senior Westpac executive David Torrens to a new role as director of quality and risk. Mr Torrens worked for 10 years at Westpac, where he was most recently Director, Property Risk.

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Hello Australia, can we have your points please? Australia votes at Eurovision

Australia’s jury for its inaugural Eurovision Song Contest is, from left, music presenter Ash London, journalist Richard Wilkins, music producer Amanda Pelman (who is also the chairperson of the jury), singer/songwriter Danielle Spencer, musician and host Jake Stone. Photo: SBS The jury’s favourite … ABBA took first place in Eurovision for Sweden in 1974 with ‘Waterloo’ and went on to become the song contest’s most successful group. Photo: Veronique Mandray
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ABBA’s Anni-Frid Lyngstad belts out ‘Waterloo’, representing Sweden in Eurovision in 1974. Photo: The Washington Post

Hello Australia, can we have your points please?

For the first time in the Eurovision Song Contest’s six decade history Australia is competing, assured of a berth in this weekend’s final alongside the host country, Austria, and the so-called “big five” – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

And for the first time, our vote matters. Although we cannot vote for our own competing artist – Guy Sebastian – we, along with all the other competing countries, are required to score our competitors, to determine the ten leading songs in each of two semi-finals.

This weekend’s final will feature 27 performances – the host country is guaranteed a place, as are the “big five”. This year, Australia’s “wild card” also puts us straight into the final. But for the remaining 20 slots in the final, more than 30 countries are slugging it out through two semi-finals.

The rules of Eurovision, like the contest itself, are somewhat archaic. Voting, on the other hand, is high tech, done via either the official app, telephone or SMS. Australia’s viewing audience and jury vote in both semi-finals and the final. The only major rule is that we cannot, obviously, vote for ourselves.

But this is where it gets tricky. The voting window opens after the last song has been performed, and ends just 15 minutes later. That isn’t a major hurdle for most European countries, which will air the live semi-final in primetime. But it will air in Australia early Wednesday morning, local time.

The broadcast of the first semi-final kicks off at 5am on Wednesday, May 20. The second semi-final airs live two days later at 5am, on Friday, May 22. And the final airs live at 5am, on Sunday, May 24. SBS is repeating all three broadcasts in primetime but votes, obviously, can only be made during the live broadcasts.

The number to dial to register a vote will be announced during the broadcast. And there is a limit of 20 votes which can be recorded against a single phone number.

As well as the “televoting”, there is a professional jury each country who also vote. The two votes each account for half of the total and from the two groups Eurovision’s governing body, the European Broacasting Union (EBU), determines a final result.

There is one caveat – if the audience “televoting” does not reach a high enough level to be considered a fair sample – a benchmark around 2000 votes or so – the EBU may opt to use only the professional jury’s scores.

In the semi-finals, the winning countries are announced without breaking down their scores.

In the final, the ten best-scoring countries, according to each other country’s voters, are ranked. Those ranked 10th through 3rd are each given one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight points respectively. The second highest scoring country is awarded 10 points. The highest scoring country is awarded 12 points.

Each country’s professional jury is comprised of five music professionals. Australia’s jury for its inaugural Eurovision Song Contest is music producer Amanda Pelman (who is also the chairperson of the jury), journalist Richard Wilkins, singer/songwriter Danielle Spencer, musician and host Jake Stone and music presenter Ash London.

Though their tastes will be difficult to predict, Fairfax Media has assembled this pre-Eurovision primer on the jurors earliest memories of the competition and the performances that had the most impact on them. It should offer some insight into how they might vote through the two semi-finals and the final. (Editor’s note: the short summary is, ABBA.)

Amanda Pelman

Earliest Eurovision memory: “I begged my mother to make me a dress like Olivia Newton-John wore to Eurovision representing the UK. Poor Livvy lost out to ABBA in 1974 but we all won as they both went on to have incredible careers.”

Favourite all-time Eurovision performer: “I’m torn between Ukraine in 2004 performing in an early Game of Thrones costume drama (never have so many performers delivered so little) and Serbia’s winner in 2004, Marija Serifovic. Probably the latter as the drama of not having a clue what she was singing about added to the hilarity of the moment.”

Richard Wilkins 

Earliest Eurovision memory: “Probably ABBA and Waterloo. I don’t remember if I saw the exact “live” moment but certainly the endless repeats of that performance are indelibly stamped in my memory.”

Favourite all-time Eurovision performer: “I think Conchita stands tall. Her winning performance last year ticked a lot of boxes. A very Euro song, great performance, unique artist, lovely person, strong message. That is until Guy this year, of course.”

Danielle Spencer

Earliest Eurovision memory: “I spent half my childhood in England so I remember sitting on the couch with my mum avidly watching the Eurovision Song Contest.”

Favourite all-time Eurovision performer: “ABBA, because I absolutely loved ABBA when I was a child.”

Ash London

Earliest Eurovision memory: “I was only two when she performed, but growing up I was a huge Celine Dion fan. Eurovision launched her career back in 1988. Her song Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi is a ‘choon’ and her ’80s drop waist tutu skirt is on point. Legendary.”

Favourite all-time Eurovision performer: “Up until Guy Sebastian’s entry this year, I could never go past ABBA. They epitomise everything Eurovision is about, Europe, catchy pop, spandex, and amazing hair.”

Jake Stone

Earliest Eurovision memory: “My favourite Eurovision moment was Conchita’s win last year – a genuinely different proposition. She’s a great performer, and an important marker for social change. That’s what I like about Eurovision – it’s progressive, fun, and genuinely focuses on bringing people together.”

Favourite all-time Eurovision performer: “Christopher Pyne and I don’t generally agree, but I’d hazard a guess that we share a favourite all-time Eurovision performer. My reasoning is fairly simple – the education minister is a big ABBA fan, and the legendary Swedish pop act are the most legitimate band to have won Eurovision.”

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No GST-free ride for Uber warns Australian Tax Office

Thousands of Uber drivers across the nation will have to register for GST by August 1, which could mean the cost of rides taken by consumers on the popular ride-sharing service rises by 10 per cent.
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The Australian Taxation Office has confirmed that people who provide ride-sharing services such as Uber are providing “taxi travel” under GST law.

The decision may be viewed as slap in the face for fast-growing companies such as Uber, which has long argued that it’s a “ride-sharing” service and its drivers are not taxi drivers, and, therefore, do not need to have an ABN and pay GST.

The move could mean that Uber’s cheaper option, uberX, becomes more expensive as the 10 per cent GST rate is applied on rides.

For the first time, the Tax Office has issued guidance for taxpayers who provide “sharing economy” services like Uber and Airnbnb, warning that they may be up for GST, income tax and capital gains tax.

The ATO has said that people who occasionally rent out rooms or homes on Airbnb are not operating a bed and breakfast-style business, and, therefore, not required to register for GST. Individuals making money from renting out their rooms will still have to declare it as income on their tax return.

However, people driving Uber cars and similar ride-sharing services are being warned that they have until August 1 to register for GST –regardless of their turnover – or risk being caught under tax laws.

The penalties would be significant if the drivers failed to register by that date, the ATO said.

The taxi industry has been lobbying to have Uber drivers sit within the same rules and regulations as taxi drivers. To date, more than 9000 uberX drivers operating across major states in Australia have been able to avoid GST payments by arguing they fall under the $75,000 turnover threshold at which GST applies.

However, the ATO’s new guidance states: “If you drive passengers in a car for a fare, you may be providing ‘taxi travel’, and if you are, you need to register for GST.”

“Affected drivers must register for GST, charge GST on the full fare, lodge business activity statements and report the income in their tax returns,” Deputy Commissioner James O’Halloran said. “We’re of a view that ride sourcing is, in fact, providing taxi services and falls under the provisions of GST law.”

The ATO has held discussions with the taxi industry and the rapidly growing sharing economy services such as Uber and Airbnb.

Treasurer Joe Hockey recently noted concern that Uber drivers were not paying GST.

He said there were significant tax and regulatory issues that needed to be addressed in the tax white paper.

The ATO would not speculate on the revenue that could be collected once sharing service providers were brought into the tax net.

“This is not a revenue issue, it’s a level playing field issue,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“If those providing ride sharing have not obtained an ABN and not registered for GST, then we will undertake compliance activities – that means reviews and audits – and assessments may be raised.”

The current penalties are $220 for the non-lodgment of a BAS and there are additional fines that may be given depending on the circumstances, including paying outstanding GST on supplies already made, as well as interest, penalties and potential prosecution.

The ATO has also issued guidance for other sharing economy services such as Airbnb. The company, which has more than 1.2 million properties rented through its site worldwide, including 35,000 in Australia, has argued its new services do not fit in with outdated state and territory laws.

Mr O’Halloran said the ATO’s guidance only dealt with tax law and did not extend to other issues such as regulations around safety and insurance.

“We want to give people certainty [that] whilst these things appear new, the foundations of the [tax] law still apply,” Mr O’Halloran said.

The ATO would work with taxpayers to help them meet their obligations. Thereafter, it would analyse various information it has on taxpayers –through risk-rating profiles and third-party sources – to determine who may be dodging their GST and income tax obligations.

He said there may be those that challenge the ATO view, and if they could not work to resolve potential disputes, some cases may end up in court.

The chief executive of taxi booking app GoCatch, Ned Moorfield, had complained to the ATO about its competitor, alleging uberX was evading tax.

He told Fairfax Media in March that by not paying GST, uberX drivers got an immediate 10 per cent price advantage.

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Barangaroo casino: Planning Minister Rob Stokes says Barangaroo design panel negates need for hearing on Packer casino plan

The high rise development as viewed from Barangaroo Point, Photo: Dallas KilponenDeveloper creep put Barangaroo back in the spotlightBarangaroo parking, traffic concerns raised by Transport for NSW
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Planning Minister Rob Stokes has ruled out asking an independent commission to hold a public hearing into a proposal to modify the Barangaroo development to accommodate James Packer’s proposed $1.5 billion hotel and casino.

Mr Stokes has the power to ask the independent Planning Assessment Commission to convene a full public hearing into the application, lodged by Barangaroo developer Lend Lease.

But he was  confident that having the application examined by a new independent design advisory panel before it was sent to the commission for determination would provide adequate scrutiny.

Mr Stokes said the panel  be chaired by NSW government architect Peter Poulet and include architect Shelley Penn and planning expert Meredith Sussex, who completed a review of Barangaroo for the government in 2011.

“I do not intend to make up new processes or treat Barangaroo differently to other projects,” Mr Stokes said.

“I am confident that between the two separate independent panels we have sufficient expert advice and oversight of the modification application.”

Mr Stokes said the advisory panel would be required to consider agency and public submissions made to the planning department and may recommend “how to improve built form outcomes, mitigate amenity impacts, and enhance the qualities of public domain areas”.

The panel was due to provide a preliminary report to the department “identifying any key urban design issues” in the first week of June.

The Lend Lease modification application would mean a 7.4 per cent increase in gross floor area for Barangaroo.

It proposes a 275 metre height limit for Mr Packer’s hotel and casino building – significantly higher than the 170 metre limit for a hotel over the harbour in the original concept plan.

A public park on the foreshore would be shifted back towards the city accommodate the complex.

The application has been strongly criticised by the City of Sydney Council, which says it is such a departure from the original concept plan it should be the subject of a fresh application instead of a modification.

Mr Stokes also ruled this out. He said that after receiving and reviewing the design panel’s report, the department would formally advise Lend Lease of “the key issues that need to be addressed”.

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Developer pays record for East Melbourne site overlooking MCG

132-142 Wellington Parade: Agents said the final price was about 30 per cent above expectations. Photo: Supplied 132-142 Wellington Parade: Agents said the final price was about 30 per cent above expectations. Photo: Supplied
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132-142 Wellington Parade: Agents said the final price was about 30 per cent above expectations. Photo: Supplied

A local developer has swooped on a key East Melbourne development site, paying around $13 million or a record $18,000 a square metre.

The two-storey building at 132-142 Wellington Parade has been purchased by a local developer planning an elite residential development.

The site is on the corner of Powlett Street, opposite Jolimont train station and up the hill from the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Gorman Kelly agents David Minton and Robert Kelly sold the property through an expressions of interest campaign which attracted more than 200 enquiries and 22 offers.

Mr Minton had expected to sell the property for more than $9.5 million but the final price, around $13 million, was about 30 per cent above expectations.

Potential development sites in East Melbourne are tightly held and contested. The nearby Hilton Hotel is expected to be converted into apartments in the future and Mirvac has plans to demolish Dallas Brooks Hall, on busy Albert Street and build a 14-storey apartment project.

Mr Minton said the top four or five bidders were major developers but passive investors, including high-net worth families also made offers.

“It’s a very rare opportunity. Sites like this don’t come up very often,” he said.

The property is leased to a range of small office, retail and hospitality tenants, who pay a total $529,391 a year in rent. The final sale price reflects a yield of around 4 per cent.

Its seven existing leases, including Il Duca​ restaurant and a 7-Eleven, include demolition clauses that allow for the site to be redeveloped in the next two years.

The building is on a 709-square-metre site which could be developed up to eight storeys, with clear views south over the MCG.

The vendor, Wamberal Investments – controlled by the Paton family – had held the property many years and consolidated the site in 1992 before a refurbishment.

Mr Minton said all the developers had plans that involved retaining the building’s historic Powlett Street facade.

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Colourful businessman and Woolworths plan supermarket on Caulfield site

Frank Penhalluriack outside his famed hardware store in Caulfield. Photo: Luis AscuiColourful businessman Frank Penhalluriack has struck a deal with retail giant Woolworths to develop a supermarket and apartment complex on his Caulfield building supplies site.
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Mr Penhalluriack withdrew the 5152 square metre block at 333-345 Hawthorn Road from sale earlier this year after listing it with price expectations above $15 million.

The property failed to get “satisfactory” offers, resulting in a partnership with Woolworths.

“We will do a deal to develop underground car parking and a supermarket on the ground floor and then quite possibly sell off the airspace above to someone else,” Mr Penhalluriack said.

Mr Penhalluriack would not disclose how much the deal was worth.

The businessman’s father, a plumber, acquired the Caulfield site, on the south-east corner of Briggs Street, 70 years ago.

The hardware business was expanded to include a residential property at 4 Briggs Street despite another home in between blocking complete consolidation of the site.

In March this year, Woolworths quietly struck a deal with the fortunate owners of the home that formed an island in Mr Penhalluriack’s site, paying $2.35 million, documents show.

“Woolworths has purchased a site at 2 Briggs Street in Caulfield, as we continue to investigate opportunities to bring a new supermarket to the local area,” a company spokesman said.

Mr Penhalluriack is well known for prompting change to the state’s Sunday trading laws after taking a stance to defy them in the 1980s which saw him serve a short stint in jail.

Last year he invited sexual abuse victims to witness him paint over a wall mural in his store created by recently-convicted paedophile Rolf Harris 25 years ago.

Woolworths has a knack for taking on difficult development projects to expand its retail footprint in built up suburban areas.

This week it reignited its campaign to find a buyer for a North Melbourne mixed use development site it failed to offload last year.

The retail powerhouse has relisted through CBRE its $100 million project on Canning Street which includes planning permits for a full line supermarket topped with two high-rise residential towers containing 300 apartments.

The project remained substantially unchanged but number of car parks had been reduced to save costs for prospective developers, CBRE’s Mark Wizel said.

The supermarket chain overcame bitter opposition from local residents and the City of Melbourne in 2013 to gain approval for the development which will be sold with a 20-year pre-commitment in place for a 4400-square metre full-line Woolworths supermarket.

The former industrial block was up for sale in March last year but failed to find a buyer despite a rush of offshore interest in development sites with permits.

Mr Wizel said the premium paid by developers for sites with permits had started to rise again after dropping substantially in 2012.

“We anticipate that premium will drift out to 20 per cent in next 12 months,” he said.

Woolworths and Mr Penhalluriack may face similar difficulties gaining approval for their plans in Caulfield.

Glen Eira Council rejected an attempt in February to rezone the site to commercial to allow for the supermarket development.

“We will have to reapply, perhaps under Woolworths’ guidance. It’s been commercial for 70 years,” Mr Penhalluriack said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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