Fairfax, News shuffle real estate

Fairfax can expect 20-$25 million from its high-tech printing and distribution facility at Westmeadows near Melbourne Airport.

The media group paid $5.6m for the six hectare land in 1999 – then spent $220m constructing the factory which included machinery from Germany and Switzerland.

The press hall and canopy roof is same length as the Rialto is high.

Over five-levels, the Western Drive building has a large underground area agents say can be reconfigured as a multi-level car park.

With this potential, they speculate a retail buyer such as Bunnings, Coles, Costco, DFO, Harvey Norman or Woolworths may be prepared to pay more than an industrial user, like Toll.

A DFO-type retailer looking for a prominent site might also be interested – however, even though the holding is high profile from the freeway, it is not straightforward to drive to.

A hotel could also be considered, they added.

It is estimated more than 60,000 cars pass the block daily.

At Docklands, Fairfax is expected to sub-let part of its near-new 655 Collins Street headquarters after recently announcing it would cut its workforce.

News Limited

Meanwhile, News Limited is also quitting part of a property – in Melbourne’s east Blackburn.

It is expected staff will move to the Herald Sun base at 60 City Road, or another office.

Four years ago that media group issued a leasing requirement, but stayed put.

Fairfax and News have been active property sellers recently: in 2007 the former made $66.1m from its 1.5 hectare Spencer St headquarters, then two years later sold 3AW’s South Melbourne studio for $4.5m.

The latter banked c$12m in 2010 selling a 8767 square metre former Leader headquarters in Blackburn to neighbouring car dealer Lexus. 

The community newspaper owner-occupies a nearby office agents speculate would be worth about $10m if sold today.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.