Sources say the approximate 15 hectare North Geelong property, which adjoins a development site earmarked for a $100 million home maker centre, would arouse interest from shopping centre developers and owners such as Stockland and Centro, keen to get a foot in the growing Greater Geelong corridor.
Ford public affairs manager Sinead McAlary told Capital Gain it has no immediate plans to sell the site, on the high profile corner of Melbourne Road and North Shore Road, which it will vacate in mid 2010.
Knight Frank Geelong director Simon Jarman said the closure may pave the way for council to rezone a large parcel of industrial land around Corio Quay from industrial to comprehensive retail development. Such development would add to the existing high profile retailers across the road, he added.
About five years ago, private investor Frank Costa, chairman of the Costa fruit and vegetable empire and president of the Geelong Football Club, bought an adjoining 15.2 hectare block of land he plans to turn into a 41,000 square metre bulky goods centre. The development depends on the council’s rezoning.
Ms McAlary said that while Ford has supported Costa’s permit application, it is not linked in any way to its announcement that it will cease manufacturing at the site.