Chinese businessman Richard Gu Makes A Significant Profit with Kinnears Site

Richard Gu, ambitious Chinese entrepreneur in Australia, offloads his Kinnears development for around $60 million, which was traded at $17 million in 2007. This 4-hectare site in Footscray has a long history of development, and the property tycoon saw the opportunities to attract premium owner-occupiers.

Only some six kilometres west of Melbourne’s CBD, the site is bound by Kinnear Street to the north, Farnsworth Road to the east and Ballarat Road to the south. Surrounding the precinct are the Boiler House, Mills, and the ‘rope walk’. 

Gu’s AXF Group aimed for a major urban renewal project in the site, bringing 1,400 apartments and a space of commercial and retail purposes. It also aspired to blend luxury residence concept with existing heritage elements. However, the entrepreneur always stays on the top of the market and see the site’s opportunities to premium owner-occupiers. 

Only some six kilometres west of Melbourne’s CBD, the site is bound by Kinnear Street to the north, Farnsworth Road to the east and Ballarat Road to the south. Surrounding the precinct are the Boiler House, Mills, and the ‘rope walk’. 

Gu’s AXF Group aimed for a major urban renewal project in the site, bringing 1,400 apartments and a space of commercial and retail purposes. It also aspired to blend luxury residence concept with existing heritage elements. However, the entrepreneur always stays on the top of the market and see the site’s opportunities to premium owner-occupiers. 

The property was bought by a R&F Estate Pty Ltd, a company directed by Jing Lu of Riverwood in Sydney, though the major shareholder is the Glen Waverley based Australia King Eagle Investment Pty Ltd, directed by Jiandong Huang. The ultimate holding company is Australia Star Tower Development Pty Ltd. 

Kinnears rope making business was established in 1874, and relocated for a larger site in Footscray, trading as George Kinnear & Sons, in 1902. The business was expanded steadily through Kinnears’ remarkable organisation and marketing, tariff protection and wartime demand. Kinnears expanded in 1970s when it made inroads into the carpet industry. 

The site has witnessed the business until 2002, with the property sold at $8 million. 

The municipality has been pinpointed to accommodate up to 16,000 additional households by 2030, with a dwelling yield of 1,350 dwellings representing 26% of private dwellings within the suburb of Footscray, based on 2006 ABS census data. 

Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy approved plans for around 1,500 homes in 2012 after the work by Tract Consultants.

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