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High society restaurant for sale in Bourke Street

Menzies Institute is selling 563 Little Lonsdale Street. Photo: SuppliedThe Bourke Street home of Society restaurant, in its heyday one of Melbourne’s best eateries, is about to hit the market with an asking price of about $8 million.
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The three-level building, listed as notable under city planning laws, has been owned by the Codognotto family since 1981.

The Italian-themed Society restaurant was first opened by immigrant Guiseppe Codognotto in 1924 when southern European food was still a novelty in Melbourne.

It continued to trade for more than 90 years under various owners at the top end of Bourke Street near other establishment venues Pellegrini’s and Grossi Florentino before closing last year.

Gross Waddell associate director Raoul Salter said few buildings under $10 million in the city centre had been offered for sale over the past two years.

“They are generally tightly held,” he said.

The property sits in a heritage overlay with a 15-metre height limit and backs onto the rear of the Hotel Windsor, itself undergoing a revamp and rebuild.

Mr Salter said recent volatility in equity markets was likely to spur more investors to focus on property. Commercial property strength

Another owner is also looking to take advantage of the strength of the commercial property sector, offering a similar-sized building with expectations of about $6 million.

The two-level brick building at 563 Little Lonsdale in the heart of the city’s legal precinct is being offered with vacant possession, CBRE’s Nick Lower said.

The building will be offloaded by an investment fund controlled by training and education group the Menzies Institute.

“There’s a really strong flow-on from 2016. There’s a lot of active buyers in the market,” he said.

Late last year, the heritage-listed Tavistock House in in Flinders Lane sold for $7.9 million at a well-attended auction.

Earlier in the year a building in Bourke Street occupied by the Spaghetti Tree restaurant changed hands for $9.8 million.

Society founder Guiseppe Codognotto was awarded an OAM for his culinary contributions to .

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