Client story

An office landmark transforms challenge into opportunity amid Melbourne’s changing landscape

HNWI reaps big rewards from bidding war


Capital Markets, Project & Development Services (PDS), Leasing, JLLT


Over $30 million


4,389 sqm


Abbotsford, Melbourne

Challenges of an icon: Revitalising a historic Melbourne landmark

When a high-net-worth individual (HNWI) purchased Trenerry Crescent in 2023, their goal was to restore the late-1800’s office building to its former glory. The stately art deco property, located in Melbourne’s fringe, had immense character.

But when it came time to sell in 2023, it also had some pretty big challenges. It was partially un-refurbished due to two main factors: it carried significant heritage restrictions as well as a mandate for unobstructed views of the Yarra River. A three-year vacancy also cast further doubts in the minds of many at a time when interest rates were rising, funding was difficult to obtain, and overall market confidence was low.

The search for the perfect buyer

Enter JLL, where we love a good challenge.

Through a comprehensive buyer identification process, we—along with the HNWI and Vinci Carbone, a local agency—determined an owner-occupier would be the most suited potential buyer. The problem? There weren’t many $30million+ owner-occupiers in the market at the time.

Create a compelling narrative

To shape the marketing strategy, the team delved into the building's history, recognizing its emotional appeal and the importance of branding in shaping the market's perception. One of the first moves was to reinstate the original name of the property to Yarra House, in recognition of its past as a textile shed in the 1800s. Next, the team created a video highlighting the opportunities as well as the challenges of the asset, and what could be done to mitigate those risks. This fostered transparency and trust amongst the target buying group.

Unlock the property’s potential and secure tenant interest

Because due diligence was going to be a major factor in any purchase, the JLL team engaged its Project & Development Services (PDS) partners to create a cost analysis for refurbishing the floors and converting the basement car park into office space as well as other ways to unlock value out of the property. Additionally, the Office Leasing team secured well-resolved Heads of Agreements (HOAs) from potential tenants, highlighting tenant interest and countering concerns about the building's vacancy. By introducing these tenants to active buyers, the team turned the long-standing vacancy issue into a unique selling point.

Leverage technology to find the “right buyer”

JLL’s proprietary AI buyer identification platform, Horizon, also played a pivotal part in generating interest. By analysing the property's credentials and leveraging trend data, it identified potential buyers based on their previous market activity. With a global dataset, the team was able to identify a wide range of active investors worldwide, expanding the pool of potential buyers for the asset.

A bidding war leads to repeat business

The well-rounded sales strategy, featuring deep insights, data research, technology tools, and creative marketing, went a long way in impressing the HNWI. But even more than that, the strategy impressed potential buyers, resulting in a bidding war that drove the property’s price well beyond market expectations.

And what’s a better measure of success than repeat business, which promptly happened when the client hired JLL on its very next asset sale.