Coburg's Much-Loved Drive-In Is Up for Sale

But current owners Village Roadshow Theatres want to lease it back and keep the site operational for the next ten years.
Sarah Ward
Published on September 16, 2018

A mainstay of the city's cinema scene for more than half a century, and the only place within inner Melbourne where you can still watch a big-screen movie from your car, the Coburg drive-in has been put on the market.

Listed for public tender by JLL Melbourne, the Newlands Road landmark is expected to fetch more than $11 million — so if you have a rather large sum of cash sitting idle in your bank account for some miraculous reason, take note.

Also featuring a retro diner, kid's playground and ticketbooth with an old yellow Holden on top, the 8.16-hectare site is being sold by current owners and operators Village Roadshow Theatres, who run the three-screen drive-in. As part of the sale, the company would like to lease the space back and continue operating the outdoor cinema on a ten-year lease. And while that sounds like good news for the city's cinephiles, the sale listing does also note the spot's "multitude of future redevelopment options".

"Given the high underlying land value component, the sale price could go a lot higher," said JLL's Adrian Rowse in an article on the listing agent's website. "There are plenty of future options... and it's also likely to suit an e-commerce user, subject to council approval."

Accordingly, although it seems as though the drive-in will stick around for the next ten years, what happens after that — or of that will really prove to be the case — will be up to the purchasers.

Melbourne was actually home to the first drive-in in Australia, with a now-closed site at Burwood opening in 1954. Originally including just two screens, the Coburg site first opened back in 1965, and was closed between 1984–7 before re-opening. It's now one of just three left in the Melbourne area, alongside the Lunar Drive-in at Dandenong and the Dromana Drive-in at Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula.

Via The AgeImages: Brook James.

Published on September 16, 2018 by Sarah Ward
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