Modscape pre-commits to automated facility

Modscape has delivered over 500 projects from its Brooklyn factory.

Modscape expects to more than triple its manufacturing capacity from a four hectare plant it has just pre-committed to at Essendon Fields, in Melbourne’s north west.

A Coles-anchored shopping centre at Essendon Fields.

Set to contain a 20,000 square metre heavily robotic factory, offices which will dub as headquarters and a display suite, the property (artist’s impression, top) will replace a c2.6ha Brooklyn facility which, since the company was established in 2006, has delivered over 500 pre-fabricated projects – a mix of residential and commercial.

The initial lease term is 15 years however, with options, it can stay until 2054.

Founder and chief executive officer, Jan Gyrn, said the move – to the tightly held Essendon Fields/Airport West industrial precinct, 10 kilometres from town – will bring work closer to home for 70 per cent of its c60 staff.

It is also six kilometres from Melbourne Airport “making it an ideal location for Modscape, as approximately half our clients are interstate,” he added.

Essendon Fields grows again

Essendon Fields is being developed in stages by Lindsay Fox and Max Beck on 305ha of the ex-Essendon Airport acquired on a 99-year leasehold in 2001.

Last September, Canada based aviation manufacturer Bombardier opened a 4700 sqm Fixed Based Operation (maintenance) hangar there, with a lounge and meeting rooms for guests, pilots and crew to use while jets are serviced.

In 2020, meanwhile, Verifone rented the historic Beaufort Building, facing Matthews Avenue, while Serco sub-let another office in the estate vacated the year earlier by The Good Guys which merged with JB Hi Fi and moved to Southgate.

Several car dealerships, which relocated from nearby Keilor Road, North Essendon, and a Hyatt Place have also opened, as has a Bounce trampoline centre, medical facility, childcare complex, Coles anchored mall and DFO.

“It is evident now, more than ever, that creating a work-life balance is crucial for every organisation,” Essendon Fields chief executive officer, Brendan Pihan, said.

“By providing staff access to these diverse services, close to where they live, we hope to positively impact the way people work and the ability of businesses to attract employees,” he added.

“This new facility marks the continued growth of the light industrial precinct – which is already home to innovative aviation and tech companies like Leonardo Helicopters and Elenium Automation,” according to the executive (story continues below).

Bombardier opened an Essendon Fields hangar last year.

As well as the Modscape building, the landlords will construct a 5500 sqm office/warehouse, now for lease.

Both assets are due for completion next year.

Best years ahead for sector: Modscape

Established in Melbourne, Modscape now has offices in Brisbane and Sydney.

Its portfolio includes aged care, community, education, infrastructure, hospitality and retail product; its focus is on residential though, where it anticipates demand from build to rent providers.

Mr Gyrn also expects the share of prefabricated Australian homes to multiply from 5pc to c30pc by 2035 – bringing the market in line with Asia and North America.

“The move [to Essendon Fields] will enable Modscape to triple its current manufacturing capacity and produce up to 2000 modules per year,” he said.

“The…state of the art facility will be one of the largest offsite manufacturing facilities for modular construction in Australia, with close to 40,000 sqm of total space – roughly the size of the MCG,” according to the executive.

Some 90 per cent of construction modules are completed in the factory.

“By moving the bulk of the construction process into a controlled and undercover factory environment, the company provides an efficient and sustainable alternative to traditional building methods for commercial and residential products,” Mr Gyrn added.

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Marc Pallisco

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