Salta acquires controversial Cranbourne West industrial site

ESR recently paid $75 million for a 78.8 hectare neighbouring tract, part of which was also the subject of a residential rezoning.

A Cranbourne West industrial site – the subject of an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission investigation – has quietly sold to Salta Property for a speculated price of over c$170 million.

At 635 Hall Road and 690 Western Port Highway, the 123 hectare parcel is earmarked for a $1.2 billion-plus business park.

Leighton Property and Dacland were the vendors.

Cushman & Wakefield’s Andrew O’Connell and former colleague, Peter Sagar, who now heads LAWD, were the agents, but declined to comment citing a confidentiality agreement.

Site mired in controversy

The transaction comes 18 months since planning minister Richard Wynne refused a residential rezoning of the properties and a portion of a neighbouring 78.8ha parcel – at the time owned by the Kelly farming family – 590-620 Western Port Hwy.

First proposed in 2014, a re-gazetting would have delivered a c$150m land value windfall.

Three years ago, it was revealed lobbyist John Woodman, representing the owners, co-ordinated more than $1.2m in bribes to City of Casey councillors, Sam Aziz and ex-Hawthorn footballer Geoff Ablett, to support the application.

Labor MP Pauline Richards also took donations from Mr Woodman (story continues below).

A road leading into the Hall Street site. Image: Google Street View.

In late 2019, IBAC launched an investigation into the conduct.

Shortly after, the City of Casey – including its councillors – was sacked.

Last July, ESR paid c$75m for 620 Western Port Hwy with plans for an industrial estate, Tullamore Business Park.

The Cranbourne West sites are about 10 kilometres south of Salta’s 180ha Nexus Dandenong South Industrial Estate and a neighbouring proposed $155m inland port (artist’s impression, top), construction of which is about to start.

“Cranbourne West will allow us to continue to offer high quality logistics developments in the South East region that can benefit from the Dandenong South Inland Port,” Salta managing director Sam Tarascio said. 

“Clients at both our Dandenong South and Cranbourne West locations will have priority arrangements with respect to access to the Dandenong South Inland Port,” he added.

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Marc Pallisco

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