Developer picks up Daily Planet brothel site for $8.85 million

The Daily Planet brothel along with two neighbouring properties will make way for apartments

Australia’s most famous brothel, the Daily Planet in Elsternwick in Melbourne south eastern suburbs, will make way for a mixed-use apartment development after the 18-room bordello was snapped up at auction on Friday by a local developer.

The unnamed buyer, with offshore ties and a number of projects on the go in Melbourne, paid $8.85 million for the brothel on Horne Street – well above expectations – as well as securing the two neighbouring commercial buildings auctioned separately for $1.9 million each, spending a total of $12.66 million.

Combined, the three adjoining buildings create a 1239 square metre potential development opportunity 10 kilometres from the city centre with almost 45 metres of street frontage.

The brothel at 7-12 Horne Street, founded by strip club owner John Trimble in 1975, made history in 2003 when its holding company, Planet Platinum, became the first sex industry business to be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

It was put up for sale by liquidators Ferrier Hodgson after the Supreme Court of Victoria ordered in December that Planet Platinum be wound-up. Planet Platinum was delisted from the ASX in March.

The next door commercial building at 13 Horne Street was also owned by Mr Trimble and was offered as a mortgagee sale while the third property at 15 Horne Street, is a privately-owned warehouse unrelated to Planet Platinum.

A large crowd of around 200 attending the on-site auction. The brothel, which continues to operate, was closed during the auction giving those attending a glimpse of the temptations that lie behind the bland grey walls.

The three properties were marketed by Alex Ham, Benjamin Klein and Michael Gross from Gross Waddell. Mr Klein said the purchaser’s intentions were to “design and develop a landmark mixed use project with the benefit of views of Port Phillip Bay”.

Mr Ham commented: “We received over 250 enquiries throughout the campaign mainly due to the recognition of this iconic asset and the substantial combined landholding. All three properties were purchased by the one group, a locally based development company.”

Planet Platinum also owned King Street strip club Showgirls Bar 20, which was recently sold for $13.25 million to Rialto Tower owners Grollo Group and Kuwaiti government-backed St Martins Properties.

With a Superman-inspired Daily Planet logo above the door, the 18-room brothel with spa baths and mirrored walls in some rooms, was voted Best Brothel in Australia 18 times at the Australian Adult Industry Awards.



  • With no ‘action plan’ for Elsternwick in the forseeable future, developers are having a field day.
  • With an outlay of over $12 million we do not expect that the developer will settle for a 6 or even 7 storey building. The sites are zoned Commercial – thus the sky is the limit, literally
  • Is the failure to address the planning issues in Elsternwick deliberate? If so, will council come clean on its intentions? simply arguing that a ‘survey’ conducted as part of the planning scheme review placed Bentleigh and Carnegie higher on the pecking order, is not good enough and certainly not when the area is undergoing dramatic and rapid development.
  • Given that council has basically drawn a few lines on some maps, we have to wonder why the same could not have been done for Elsternwick.
  • FYI, there is another application in for Seymour Road, Elsternwick on a property over 3000 square metres. The application seeks to change usage from ‘aged care’ to residential. The site is zoned Neighbourhood Residential – but the planning scheme ‘encourages’ large lots. Whether or not this ends up as another Wilks St., St Aubins Avenue, or a Wahgoo fiasco, remains to be seen. The writing is on the wall however. Elsternwick demands immediate attention and not in another 4 or 5 years when council just might get around to addressing the current planning scheme gaps and inadequacies that cover this suburb.