Ford’s Geelong and Broadmeadows sites finally sold

The former Ford engine plant in Geelong. Pic: Joshua Dowling.

Industrial developer Pelligra Group has reached a deal with Ford Australia to purchase the car manufacturer’s former sites in Melbourne’s Geelong and Broadmeadows, marking the industrial precincts for urban renewal.

The manufacturing component of the sites was purchased by Pelligra and will be subdivided and repurposed. Ford Australia has retained its research, design and engineering facilities.

The sites will be renamed as Fortek Geelong and Assembly Broadmeadows, with the developer pledging an initial $500 million for stage one of the urban renewal project. The mixed-use sites will consist of commercial, industrial and ancillary opportunities.

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The total sum of the deal has not been revealed.

Ford ended manufacturing in Australia in 2016 following 91 years of car making but several years of losses. Engineering and designing still continues in Victoria.

The two sites cover 100 hectares, and include more than 265,000 square metres of factory floor. Pelligra will retrofit the existing infrastructure to accommodate manufacturing and innovative technology businesses.

Ford Geelong

Ford closed its Victorian plants about two years ago. Picture: Glenn Ferguson.

An expression of interest process was initiated by Ford in September 2018, receiving “a strong response”. Pelligra Group were ultimately chosen because its plans for the sites accounted for an appreciation of their histories.

“We are pleased that Pelligra will build on Ford’s ongoing engineering and design presence by adding new opportunities for innovation, ideas and business in Geelong and Broadmeadows,” a Ford spokesman says.

Work on the sites is set to begin this year. Pelligra chairman Ross Pelligra anticipates the creation of 4000 to 5000 jobs in the next five to 10 years, mostly targeting high tech manufacturing.

“Pelligra has a strong track record of projects that deliver jobs and rejuvenate communities,” Pelligra says.

Ford Geelong site

Ford’s historic Geelong factory.

“We wanted to acknowledge the legacy of Ford on site. It’s an important site for the local community, and we want the Ford legacy to carry on.

“We appreciate the sweat and hard work that’s been done at the sites by the staff at Ford Group, and want to support this into the future with the next generation of families and stakeholders within both principalities.”

Pelligra, whose family company manages the total pipeline of “end to end” service, hoped the investment in the area will rejuvenate and grow the local community, and create industry leading hubs with world class innovation, engineering, and manufacturing on site.

CBRE assisted Ford in the strategy, preparation and sale process.

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