Ford pre-commits to 8.8ha Mickleham distribution centre; landlords sell it to Dexus for $73.5m

EXCLUSIVE

Merrifield Business Park will be Victoria’s largest industrial estate – spreading 415 hectares.

Ford Australia has pre-committed to an 8.8 hectare distribution centre at the Merrifield Business Park, in Melbourne’s north Mickleham.

In a twist, the landlords immediately sold the asset to Dexus Australian Logistics Trust for $73.5 million.

The car retailer will consolidate several spare parts operations out of Campbellfield, which is about 15 kilometres closer to the city.

In 2015, Ford moved its research and design division from Campbellfield to an office at Salta’s Victoria Gardens in Richmond.

Its new facility will include a 50,580 square metre warehouse with a 14.6 metre clearance height and super awning.

A 900 sqm office, café and large staff car park also forms part of the design.

Ford has committed for an initial 10 year-term.

The deal “represents the biggest investment in…[its]…spare parts business in 60 years”, a joint statement with the landlords, MAB and Gibson Property Corporation, added.

CBRE’s Daniel Eramo and Dean Hunt were the brokers.

The factory – which Melbourne-based specialist industrial developer Texco will design – is scheduled to open late next year.

“We’re excited to be building Ford Australia’s new parts distribution solution and will be working closely with them to deliver a facility that provides a more efficient storage and distribution outcome” Texco director Tom Bull said.

Ford Australia and New Zealand president and chief executive officer Kay Hart added the car maker’s focus “is on giving our customers the best experience possible, and that means making sure we have an efficient part supply system for both our dealers and Ford owners.”

“With space and great transport infrastructure links, this new site will enable us to store and distribute the parts we need for the current and future generations of vehicles, including electrified vehicles,” the executive said.

“It will also give our team the space it needs to grow our business into the future.

“We also need to offer exceptional customer service and to support our dealers to do that”.

Last month we reported Ford’s long-time former Australian rival, Holden, was looking to quietly dispose of an 877 hectare proving ground near Lang Lang, 85 kms south east of Melbourne.

Agents are also looking for occupiers to fill a 21,738 sqm Port Melbourne A-grade office Mirvac purpose-built for that car maker, in 2005 (story continues below).

Altis Property Partners now owns the vacated asset, 191-197 Salmon Street, after paying $85m five years ago.

Mickleham’s Merrifield Business Park

Dulux, D’Orsogna and Steritech are Merrified Business Park’s other occupiers.

Kaufland – which last March acquired a 28ha portion of the estate to build a 115,000 sqm distribution centre – is in the process of selling it after deciding two months ago not to open in Australia.

About 29kms north of town, the industrial park is marketed as Victoria’s largest and will spread over 415ha.

Upon completion some 25,000 people are expected to work there.

An adjoining master-planned housing estate has also been under construction in recent years – its population now 4000.

Later this year the first stage of a retail precinct will open; Merrifield City is anchored to Coles.

Construction of a primary school, community centre and sports ground should also be complete next year, the landlords said.

MAB general manager, Commercial and Industrial, Michael Martin, said “Merrifield Business Park’s close proximity to key rail, road and airport infrastructure, along with the ability to efficiently service the eastern seaboard” helped secure the deal.”

The estate “is becoming a preferred location in the north for large warehousing, manufacturing, distribution and storage facilities, due to its scale and proximity to the Hume Freeway”, he added.

Mr Eramo added “the preparation prior to the launch of Ford’s lease requirement has ensured that the right building solution is being delivered to meet…[its]…needs”.

The process we undertook identified Merrifield Business Park as the ultimate location, matched with competitive market terms”.

Adjoining Craigieburn – a major activity centre in government planning documents – Mickleham is about 16kms north of Melbourne Airport.

Elsewhere in the suburb, Pask Group last July acquired an 8.8ha farm from a family which held it for 84 years, with the intention of replacing it with a housing estate.

Developer Peter Spargo also banked $7.1m selling a BP leased service station at 470 Donnybrook Road, within the Merrifield precinct.

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Marc Pallisco

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

Marc Pallisco