GURNER AND Qualitas acquire full ownership of Jam Factory for $2.75 billion ultra luxury mixed use precinct

4 July 2024

GURNER™ and Qualitas have this week acquired the remaining interest of Jam Factory from primary development partner Newmark Capital. The developer and alternative real estate manager will now become the sole owners of the 20,000sqm iconic site in South Yarra, where they will deliver a $2.75 billion city-defining project.

GURNER™ and Qualitas are injecting $180 million in equity to settle on and develop the site. As one of Australia’s leading alternative real estate investment managers, Qualitas is in a fortunate position to be able to invest its funds capital alongside additional capital raised through private and offshore institutional investors.

GURNER™, Qualitas and Newmark have worked together to unlock the site’s potential and structure a transaction that is mutually beneficial. GURNER™ and Qualitas plan to create a world-leading mixed-use precinct with around 15,000sqm of commercial office, over 20,000sqm of retail, Village Cinemas, a large wellness precinct, two hotels and ultra luxury residential towers.

The revised ownership structure will allow the JV to phase the delivery of the project into smaller stages that are able to be built independently, which is important in this challenging construction environment, to de-risk the development site long-term.

The GURNER™ team is already collaborating with Council to ensure approval of the Stage One scheme within months, to allow demolition and construction of stage 1 to start at the beginning of 2025 and the entire project to have commenced construction by the end of 2025.

The Jam Factory redevelopment will anchor the transformation of Chapel Street to bring the energy back and reinvigorate it to become the iconic street it once so famously was.

Part of the GURNER™ revised scheme includes greater retention of the heritage façade, underpinned by the developer’s longstanding affinity with heritage projects, as well as a repositioning of the Village Cinema complex to anchor it on the north-facing, 1800sqm public piazza, which can play host to VIP launches and community events in years to come.

The revised scheme will build on the existing vision for the site, offering the community a new thriving retail, hospitality, entertainment and commercial heart of South Yarra to live, work and play – surrounding a world class piazza that will hero the original Jam Factory chimney, along with cafes, bars and restaurants.

Complementing the commercial offering will be two hotels and three luxury residential towers facing north towards the CBD skyline and north-west towards the bay with uninterrupted 360-degree views.

The amenities throughout the new precinct have been designed to reflect the grandeur of New York’s finest upper east side buildings and residences, and will take the intrinsic focus people expect from GURNERTM on best-in-class luxury to a whole new level, with over 15,000sqm of amenities throughout the precinct with warm, inviting and homely spaces and sophisticated bookable interior and exterior amenity spaces.

These spaces will include a 10m high library and lounge area, large outdoor pool with formal gardens and pool tea house, cigar lounge, afternoon tea drawing rooms, a large art collection, GURNER™’s signature wellness offering and so much more.

The residences are expected to start from $750,000 and range up to $30 million+ for the penthouses which GURNER™ is renowned for, with the four buildings each targeting a specific segment of the market.

The retail precinct will continue to target the world’s best lifestyle brands to reinvigorate Chapel Street on the ground floor and at the top of the heritage buildings you can expect to see some of Australia’s best known hospitality operators.

The stage 1 build is currently under negotiation, with the demolition expected to commence in early 2025.

GURNER™ Founder and Executive Chairman Tim Gurner said, “Building on the vision we created with Newmark, I truly believe this to be Melbourne’s most important and iconic regeneration site.

We are very excited to be able to deliver this incredible project with our long term strategic partner in Qualitas and we know together we can revitalise this critical site for Melbourne.

There is no other site like this in Melbourne with 20,000sqm of prime South Yarra land sitting on Melbourne’s most important retail strip of Chapel Street, it’s an iconic site that we know we can bring back to its glory days.

We are truly humbled to be able to have creative control of such an important Melbourne icon and feel immense pressure to ensure we do it justice for all Melbournians and visitors to enjoy.

With this transaction now finalised we can turn our attention to fast-tracking construction and making this city-shaping redevelopment happen. We’ll breathe new life into the site and deliver our signature level of amenity, service and residences alongside world class retail and commercial.

The retail, hospitality, hotels and commercial creation is what is most exciting about this site to be able to bring back an icon to Melbourne’s entertainment and shopping heart land with world class operators and brands.

We have been working very closely with Village to re-design a brand new, world class cinema offering which will anchor the retail and provide an opportunity in the piazza for all of the best events, cinema openings and awards nights. I can very clearly see the red carpet arrival from our hotel port cochere down into the piazza and into the incredible cinema and entertaining space.

We’ll be taking opulence, sophistication and luxury to a whole new level with our sky-high mansions, delivering a level of residence that was previously only found on Toorak’s most exclusive streets.

Think arch-shaped pools, basketball courts and recreation areas, private events, exclusive resident services, and amenities that rival those of the world’s most exclusive hotels.

We’ll be taking all our learnings from the likes of Saint Moritz and Hawksburn Place and delivering custom ultra luxury high-end residences, with a real focus on home and warmth.

We are incredibly proud to be injecting $180 million to deliver an amazing legacy project that Australians will be proud of.”

Qualitas Global Head of Real Estate and Co-Founder, Mark Fisher stated, “It’s great to be partnering with GURNER™ on this project as we look to deliver on the world class vision that the project team has set for the Jam Factory redevelopment. Our ability to provide flexible capital for this large project demonstrates our equity investment capabilities.”

Newmark spokesperson Chris Langford mentioned, “After 8 years of ownership, the decision to divest aligns with our commitment of delivering an outcome for our investors in the Newmark Jam Factory Property Trust. This sale provides a clear pathway forward and delivers investors with certainty in an unpredictable market.

We look forward to GURNER™ and Qualitas consolidating the vision for the site that we have collaborated on.”

Village CEO Clark Kirby & Executive Chairman Robert Kirby said, “Village Roadshow, with 70 years of experience building innovative cinemas world-wide, is excited beyond imagination to partner with GURNER™ to literally recreate ‘the best cinemas in the entire world’ in this extraordinary new Jam Factory development.

The new Village Cinemas will now be on the ground floor and integrate beautifully into the GURNER™ vision of a central piazza, exciting eclectic retail and five-star hotel.

The intricate design flexibility of these cinemas – which will include a new super luxury gold class offering – will be the first choice for premium functions, events and especially Hollywood and Australian film premiers.

The new GURNER™ inspired, deeply articulated Jam Factory and new Village Cinemas will become the most iconic lifestyle/entertainment destination in Australia.”