Defence department lists Melbourne’s largest remaining urban infill site

One of the many historic buildings on the site.

The Department of Defence has listed Melbourne’s largest remaining urban infill development site.

As we covered in this item, in March, the campaign, which began with a “market sounding”, could boost Defence’s coffers to the tune of between $200 million and $300 million.

The 127.7 hectare parcel in Maribyrnong (pictured top, left and bottom), about ten kilometres north west of the CBD, is flanked by the Maribyrnong River to three sides.

The land is highly contaminated – with only a small portion remediated by the Commonwealth.

Any incoming owner will need to complete the decontamination process – a move reported in this Star Weekly item from earlier this year could cost about $500 million – and take five years. Some sources, however, have speculated that the cost of remediating the site could cost much less.

Following that, the majority of the parcel known as 2 Cordite Avenue is expected to make way for some 6000 dwellings – a mix of low and medium density housing.

An employment precinct is also expected, as is parkland and new road infrastructure. A train station – something Maribyrnong doesn’t have – has also been mooted as a possibility for the site over the past decade. Retail will also need to be included if the site makes way for a new suburb.

The property, used for 86 years until 1994 to manufacture bombs, mines, detonators and hand grenades, contains dozens of historic buildings, some which may also be kept.

Its sale has been suggested for more than 10 years. In 2007 then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd identified the asset for its potential to curb local housing unaffordability, by creating supply.

Elsewhere in the suburb, housing has been developed on other tracts of land once controlled by Defence.

Highpoint Shopping Centre, built on the site of the former Essendon Quarry, is in the immediate vicinity.

CBRE has the listing. Its advertisement is promoting the site by the name of Remount Hill. Dean Hunt, Julian Hunt, Mark Wizel, Lewis Tong and Chris O’Brien are managing a Registration of Interest campaign closing on November 19, less than a week before a Victorian government state election.

Only the south-east corner of the site (marked, green) has been remediated.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of