Al-Taqwa College: Islamic school collects $58m in Truganina land deal

Al-Taqwa principal

Al-Taqwa College, Truganina, has sold a Tarneit property for $58m.

A western suburbs Islamic college linked to more than 200 COVID-19 cases in Victoria’s second wave has sold a massive property on Melbourne’s fringe for $58m.

It is understood Al-Taqwa College will use funds from the sale of its 860 Derrimut Road, Tarneit, property to develop a new campus on an additional adjoining 12ha of the land it retained in the deal with developer SIG Group.

The largest Islamic college in Victoria, Al-Taqwa’s Truganina campus was linked to 210 coronavirus cases — making it the state’s hardest hit school.

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The COVID-19 second wave is believed to have stemmed from hotel quarantine before infiltrating public housing towers (311 cases), Bertocchi Smallgoods (211), Cedar Meats (111), numerous aged-care facilities and ultimately causing the state’s harsh stage four lockdown.

Al Taqwa’s Tarneit property spans 33.41ha, with 21ha of that expected to host a 550-lot estate and a government school following the sale.

CoreLogic records show the school had been seeking a buyer since 2019 through a variety of real estate agencies.

Al-Taqwa principal

The school has a long history, but did not reveal how long it had owned the Tarneit property. Picture: Kylie Else.

Al-Taqwa College and SIG Group declined to comment.

RPM Real Estate’s Christian Ranieri brokered the deal and said the huge price had in part been driven by HomeBuilder.

“Developers have chewed through a lot more stock than they had accounted for,” Mr Ranieri said.

He was not sure how long Al Taqwa had held the land, but said he’d received offers from both local and international developers.

“And people had been going to them directly for a long time,” Mr Ranieri said.

Mr Ranieri also recently completed a $60m deal for an Officer apple orchard that had been in the same family for 100 years.

Bonview Orchards manager James Gaffney inspects the latest spraying of Granny Smith apples that have been spayed with sunscreen -chalk.

Bon View Orchards manager James Gaffney inspects the latest spraying of Granny Smith apples. Picture: Norm Oorloff

The 31.4ha allotment includes properties at 373 and 405 Brown Road, currently home to Bon View Orchards — headed by Michael (Mick) Ajani.

While his family has grown produce on the 373 Brown Road site for more than a century, Mr Ajani acquired the 6.34ha at No. 405 for $3m in 2008.

He is also involved with the 9mile Fresh apple sorting facility in Tynong. On its website Mr Ajani is described as having grown apples for more than 60 years, with a second orchard site also in Melbourne’s southeast.

Mr Ranieri estimated the development of that site would include about 400 homes, but could not comment on the vendor or name the purchaser who he said was a local developer.

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