Three months after quietly snaring one of Melbourne’s best-located factories, Little Projects has purchased the site next door and applied to replace the parkside Malvern East holding with a $150 million-plus shopping and residential village.
If the application is approved, the Dairy Bell plant, which produced ice cream from 1970 until February, would make way for 154 dwellings and ground shops, more than doubling the size of the adjoining Waverley Road retail strip.
Little Project’s complex would rise seven levels at its highest, with flats and a rooftop terrace overlooking the Waverley Oval across the road. The East Malvern train station is on the other side of the sports field, as is the Monash Freeway and Malvern Valley Public Golf Course.
Little Projects paid Dairy Bell’s owners $11 million for the 3000-square-metre manufacturing plant in an off-market deal revealed in January, shortly after it was announced the fully solvent company would close rather than be sold to a rival with a lesser focus on quality.
Across town in 2009, and in another “end of an era” type factory redevelopment, Little Projects paid $11 million for the 1.25-hectare Tip Top plant in a quaint pocket of Brunswick East, with the intention of also replacing the block with a village. The subsequent redevelopment, which incorporated historic buildings, later won the Australian Property Institute’s Heritage award.
In 2007, the then-new Little Projects paid $33 million for an ANZ data centre at 227-229 Toorak Road, previously described as South Yarra’s biggest eyesore. That eight-level concrete building has since been replaced with a 24-storey apartment tower, Ilk.