International private-equity firm Pamoja Capital has acquired a Melbourne development site with plans to develop one of the world’s tallest student housing towers.
The Geneva-based firm is the investment vehicle of Canadian John MacBain, who founded the classified advertising company Trader Classified Media.
Located at 478-488 Elizabeth Street, the 1172-square metre site was previously occupied by Motorcycle City and Education Access Australia and overlooks Queen Victoria Market.
It was last purchased in September for $35 million by GreenFort Capital. Pamoja’s purchase price has not been disclosed.
The site comes with an approved permit for the construction of a 68-storey, mixed-use development for 399 apartments and 196 hotel rooms.
Pamoja’s Australian Education Holdings is expected to take advantage of an expected permit modification allowing 864 student beds and co-working space over 52 levels.
Greenfort Capital will remain involved assisting with development management.
"We saw an opportunity to enhance value for a student use given the site's prime location and the strength of the Melbourne education market,” Greenfort’s Adam Vaggelas said.
"We were considering a number of options for the project and are happy with the outcome. We look forward to working with the new owner."
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Pamoja has a major shareholding in student housing giant UniLodge, which it gained in 2013.
In 2015, it sought permits for two huge student housing towers in South Brisbane, which are now being developed by Scape.
Two years ago, Pamoja entered into due diligence to buy the planned Geelong building that would house Worksafe Victoria’s headquarters, being developed by unlisted property fund manager Quintessential Equity.
Pamoja owned Bedarra Island in Far North Queensland and nearby Dunk Island, which it put on the market in 2011 after the islands suffered extensive damage in Cyclone Yasi.