A multimillion-dollar property “revolution” led by AFL star Dustin Martin and manager Ralph Carr is making commercial investing “sexy” in inner Melbourne.
Companies jointly owned by Martin and Mr Carr – including some that also include Queensland businessman Chris Bissiotis – have spent more than $16m buying properties in suburbs including Richmond and Abbotsford since 2016.
In March, one of the companies purchased a two-storey former photography studio at 23 Butler St, Richmond, for $2.75m.
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The building joins the portfolio of several others they own in the street, including 25 Butler St where Jane Hill Bridal recently relocated from Chapel St.
Jones Real Estate’s managing director Paul Jones worked on many of the deals through his Melbourne-based commercial property agency.
Mr Jones said the old, often disused warehouses and office sites were fitted out with end-of-trip facilities like showers, soundproof studios, polished concrete floors and recreation areas before being leased out to tenants.
“They are being transformed into New York City, Manhattan and Brooklyn-style warehouses,” Mr Jones said.
While many CBD offices have been sitting vacant since Covid-19 hit Australia in 2020, the “revamped” ex-warehouses in Richmond, Cremorne, Collingwood and Abbotsford were in demand, he said.
“Tenants are lining up to take them, that’s where they are bucking the trend,” Mr Jones added.
“It’s attracting people with entrepreneurial spirit wanting cool, sexy buildings in the entertainment centre of Melbourne.”
Among the renovated properties now available for rent are “The Lincoln” at 19 Lincoln St, Richmond, and 23 Butler St.
Mr Jones said creative businesses often leased the spaces although AFL players, actors and medical businesses have also expressed interest.
A florist, cafe and function space named La Fantaisie is a tenant of 297 Victoria St, Abbotsford.
Mr Jones described the interest in city fringe rental premises as an “industrial renaissance”.
“We have further sites coming to market in North Melbourne and West Melbourne,” Mr Jones added.
Carr’s own Richmond-based management company has been instrumental in the careers of entertainment stars including Tina Arena, Vanessa Amorosi, Richard Wilkins, Kate Ceberano and Pseudo Echo.
He also manages Richmond stars Shai Bolton and Daniel Rioli, alongside Martin.
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Story Credit: news.com.au