The former site of the North Wollongong Bunnings store has new owners, in what is being claimed to be "the highest value sale of an inner-city development site in Wollongong history".
The site, listed for sale earlier this year, has sold for $40 million.
The 2.73-hectare site, located at 73-75 Gipps Street, was being marketed as "a significant development proposition poised to become a major residential mixed use apartment development".
The North Wollongong site was sold by Perth-based company BWP Management Ltd, the property trust which owns a number of Bunnings sites throughout Australia and is itself part owned by Bunnings' parent company Wesfarmers.
The property was being marketed through Colliers.
Wollongong Investments No. 7 Pty Ltd , a "special purpose vehicle" of Sydney-based developer Level 33 were the successful purchaser.
With the sale set to settle in June next year, managing director of Colliers Wollongong Simon Kersten said it was expected the company would eventually lodge a DA "for a mixed use development of some kind".
Bunnings announced the store's closure in September last year with its final day of trade in January ahead of the lease expiring in March.
Mr Kersten said it had been a "highly competitive" expressions of interest process, and the result was "the highest value sale of an inner-city development site in Wollongong history".
James Wilson, Colliers' head of retail middle markets said the sale process engaged more than 100 inquiries from developers nationally.
"The transaction reflects the land rich nature of the retail investment class given the strategically located sites featured mixed use development potential," he said.
Guillaume Volz, Colliers' national director of residential said the sale demonstrates the ongoing willingness of developers to acquire sites in prime locations on which they can develop large-scale projects.
Earlier this year, Mr Kersten told the Mercury the site would allow 68,250 square metres of gross building area.
At the time, Mr Kersten said depending on the size of the apartments, the site was potentially capable of containing more than 600 apartments, and estimated the site had a value of "north of $60 million".
However, speaking to the Mercury on Monday, Mr Kersten said while planning controls for the site allowed for more than 68,000 square metres of building area, after looking at the constraints of the site, it was determined that about 45,000 square metres of apartment space was more appropriate.
The old Bunnings warehouse is currently tenanted by the Australian Electoral Commission, whose three-year lease began in mid-2023.
The site has a gross rental of $2.16 million per year.
The hardware and garden chain opened on the North Wollongong site in 1997.
The site has a maximum height limit of 24 metres under the Wollongong Local Environmental Plan.
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