Fitzroy Rent-Free Property Sells For $15 Million

The only building within Melbourne that allows many of its tenants to go about their business rent free has been sold for an extraordinary $15 million.

Kindness House, located on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy houses over 30 humanitarian and environmental groups and was owned by philanthropist and former Citibank vice president Phil Wollen for 25 years.

The rundown three-storey structure has seen many activist groups and wildlife and animal rights groups throughout its time including Greenpeace, Save the Whales and Sea Shepherd. If you are a tenant, then meat is not allowed to be eaten in the building and this is written in the lease.

Two thirds of the tenants paid no rent, according to Mr Wollen, and the purpose of selling this property was to raise more funds. “I want to raise some capital to redeploy into some pressing projects for children, animals and the environment,” he said.

However, this sale does not mean Mr Wollen is abandoning these groups that use this building. Instead the majority of the tenants were locked into 10 year leases upon the building’s sale.

The sale of the building achieved a new land record for Fitzroy with a rate of $14,354 per square metre, according to Jamus Campbell, the selling agent from CBRE. This was helped by Melbourne’s competitive property market. However, the new owner has yet to be disclosed, but Mr Campbell believes it is unlikely that the property will be developed during the next 10 years.

The ground floor retail tenancies, such as the Endis Cafe were the main sources of income for Kindness House, which produced an annual income of $711,000.

Surprisingly, the property received close to double the land rate which had been achieved by the Wellington Street headquarters back in August to the Smith Family in Collingwood, the neighbouring suburb. This building had attained a sale of $8.8 million. With such strong sales in both suburbs, developers are starting to gain interest in both Fitzroy and Collingwood suburbs.

Mr Wollen stated that the funds from the sale of the building would be put towards good causes including medical clinics, schools, anti-rabies clinics for dogs as well as kindness farms for animals.
Published on 24th of November 2014 by Marty Stanowich
Marty Stanowich
Marty Stanowich

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