Coincidentally, the builder also bought Adelaide’s redundant Holden factory in 2017, from General Motors.
Ford listed the three Victorian sites last September with a price expectation totalling about $75 million.
Targeted to industrial developers, the factories have been largely vacant since its last Australian car was produced: a blue XR6, on October 7, 2016.
The offerings cover a combined area of 100 hectares and include more than 265,000 square metres of factory floor.
Pelligra intends to retrofit existing infrastructure on the sites to accommodate technology and manufacturing parks.
It will rename the factories, too: the Geelong holding will be called FORTEK while the Broadmeadows property, which is actually in Campbellfield, will be known as ASSEMBLY.
As part of the deal with the purchaser, Ford will retain ownership of land at both addresses to accommodate research, design, and engineering functions.
Pelligra has committed to an initial $500 million for stage one of its proposed urban renewal project, its chairman, Ross Pelligra, said.
“Pelligra has a strong track record of projects that deliver jobs and rejuvenate communities,” the executive added said.
“Our intention with FORTEK Geelong and ASSEMBLY Broadmeadows is the same; we are committed to ultimately delivering 4000 to 5000 jobs in the next five to 10 years, with the first manufacturing tenants anticipated to start work on site within a year.
“FORTEK Geelong and ASSEMBLY Broadmeadows are significant historical manufacturing sites. Through our investment in the area, we intend to help rejuvenate and grow the local community, and create industry leading hubs with world class innovation, engineering and manufacturing on site”.
Australia doesn’t manufacture cars anymore following decisions by makers Ford, Holden and Toyota to cease production between 2016 and 2017.
The Geelong property was the former’s first Australian headquarters and factory, opened in 1925.
It retains other property in Victoria including a proving ground in Little River, near the You Yangs.
Ford said that some 1600 of its 2000-plus Australian workforce occupy space within the two sites Pelligra has bought, and at You Yangs.
In 2015, the car maker moved its sales and marketing staff from Campbellfield to Salta Properties’ Victoria Gardens shopping centre in Richmond.
“Ford will invest more than $500 million in 2019 into research and development in Australia, directly supporting its product development operations in Geelong, Lara and Broadmeadows,” Ford Australia and New Zealand chief executive officer Kay Hart said.
“Ford’s Geelong and Broadmeadows sites have played a central role in the history of Australia’s auto industry as centres of technical excellence, and have been part of the fabric of the local communities for generations”, Ms Hart said. “We are pleased that Pelligra Group will build on Ford’s ongoing engineering and design presence by adding new opportunities for innovation, ideas and business in Geelong and Broadmeadows”.
Based in East Keilor, Pelligra is a privately owned developer and investor which in recent years has acquired some high-profile sites.
Amongst them is the former Huntsman Chemical Corporation factory in Brooklyn, which it bought last September to replace with an industrial park.
With joint venture partner ResiCommercial, Pelligra last August paid more than $25 million for neighbouring Richmond properties including the former SEN radio station office. These assets, 471-479 Swan Street and 10 Belgravia Street, were offloaded by The Reject Shop co-founder Ron Hall.
Pelligra also owns 1500 Roxburgh, Empire Epping, John Darling Flourmill in Sunshine, the Sakata (Pepsico) factory in Laverton, an ex-Orica manufacturing site and the InterContintental Hotel Werribee.
In Brooklyn alone, it controls former Cleanaway landfills, the former Scotch Butter factory, and the Brooklyn Interchange.
Last month we reported the builder secured St John’s Ambulance as a tenant within the building that also acts as the developer’s headquarters, 16A Keilor Park Drive.
In South Australia, it acquired Holden’s former manufacturing plant in Elizabeth South. This 12 hectare property, now known as Lionsgate Elizabeth, is earmarked to become one of the country’s largest master-planned business parks.
Pelligra also controls an office in the Adelaide CBD’s Pirie Street.