Publisher: The Sydney Morning Herald
Author: Simon Johanson
Date: February 15, 2020

The proliferation of high-rise apartment towers, metro tunnel construction works and Melbourne Council’s decision to turn the street into a pedestrian thoroughfare forced their hand.

“Motorcycles have been sold on Elizabeth street since very early last century,” Mr Chiodo said.

“Operating a motorcycle retail business out of this location has and continues to be more and more complex,” he said.

The company has taken a mid-term lease with Longriver over its Elizabeth Street stores while it looks for a new location for its city dealership.

It has already moved its motorbike service centre out of the CBD. Elizabeth Street is a popular location with apartment developers.

Nearby Brady Group has built multiple residential towers and several years ago Malaysian developer Mammoth Empire completed two towers on opposite corners of A’Beckett Street that added 936 apartments to the precinct.

The Peter Stevens deal was negotiated off market by Gorman Kelly director Nick Breheny, with Thomson Geer lawyer Eu Ming Lim acting for Longriver.

Both parties refused to comment but confirmed settlement had been delayed by the need to remove an onerous Section 173 contract with Melbourne Council that placed controls on the use of the site.

The three sites were accumulated over several decades by the motorcycle group for a combined $2.8 million.

The deal also marks a closing chapter for auto retailing at the top end of Melbourne’s CBD.

In the not too distant past, the north end of Elizabeth Street was lined with both bike and car dealerships.

Now most have given way to other developments.

Further up the street, developer PDG broke ground last week on its landmark Elizabeth North biomedical precinct where it is building a new multi-storey office for biotech giant CSL on land that was formerly a sprawling Toyota dealership.

City Toyota has agreed to retain space in the site’s historic Melford Motors building once the redevelopment is complete, leasing 12,000 square metres over a 55-year term.

The Peter Stevens purchase revs up Longriver’s Melbourne development portfolio.

The group already owns a major corner site at the gateway to the city’s legal precinct which it bought last year from prominent criminal lawyer Alex Lewenberg for almost $26 million.

That block, on the corner of Queen and Little Lonsdale streets, houses two mixed-use commercial buildings, the six-level EOS Centre at 288 Queen Street and the four-level China Square building at 328 Little Lonsdale Street.

As well, the firm expects to finish construction of a 37-storey, $200 million apartment skyscraper at 843 Whitehorse Road, in Box Hill, this year.