Industrial players make lucrative Western Sydney airport landing
The great land rush around the under-construction Western Sydney Airport is picking up pace, with a former Christmas tree farm the latest site to trade for more than $70m.
The whole area is undergoing a dramatic transformation as developers stake claims to properties that have been used as agricultural land and plan to overhaul them into logistics facilities.
The well-known Luddenham property, spanning about 81ha, has been snapped up by a private syndicate from its long-time owners, Naro Pty Ltd, who were best known for running the AAA Christmas tree Farm.
The asset, known as 2215 The Northern Rd, sits at the epicentre of the western Aerotropolis region. It is one of the largest neighbouring the airport and is positioned to capture the benefits of the airport’s 24/7 operation as specialist freight operations seek a home in the planned agribusiness precinct.
The buyer of the site dubbed “The Luddenham Agribusiness Hub” could undertake a wide range of uses as the zoning allows for pharmaceutical manufacturing, logistics and freight, commercial and business, retail, and agriculture.
The sale was handled by Colliers agents Thomas Mosca and Nick Estephen, and the deal showed a land sale rate of about $86 a square metre.
Others are also active in the area.
The private Western Sydney Airport Business Park Trust, which includes the urban development team at Gray & Walsh Pty Ltd, is planning to pour $450m into developing a premium business park that will also be in the agribusiness precinct.
That 67.2ha site, also on The Northern Rd, is about 700m northwest of the airport. It is owned by the Hughes Family, who have used it for agricultural purposes since 1840, but will transformed by the trust into about nine warehouses and distribution facilities.
Big names are also getting set. In September, Asian warehousing giant ESR joined the rush of industrial players around the airport, snapping up a block of land for a $270m industrial precinct.
It has forked out $70m for property on Martin Road, Badgerys Creek, picking it up from the private T & A Skills Care Service Pty Limited.
ESR will commit a total of $270m in buying and developing the site and will build four warehouses via its ESR Australia Development Partnership II.
ESR Australia chief executive Phil Pearce said the company would use its “robust development capability” to ensure the delivery of premium facilities in line with the anticipated opening of Western Sydney Airport in 2026.
The deal was negotiated by Harry Bui of Colliers, who advised the private Vietnamese private family office on selling the parcel. He did not disclose their identity.
The site is zoned for enterprise and light industrial development, and it sits near the entrance to the new airport and fronts the main arterial of Martin Road.
“As this is one of the last remaining blocks of this size owned by the private family, the owner has previously been approached by several developers to acquire the site,” Mr Bui said.
Mirvac also has sites on the doorstep of the airport and other owners including Frasers, Fife Capital, Stockland, GPT, Dexus and Altis Property Partners have projects in surrounding suburbs designed to benefit from the airport.
But ESR’s purchase of a 17ha parcel in the tightly held Badgerys Creek precinct is in keeping with the premium being placed on sites near the airport.
The private BC Land is also active in the enterprise zone. Chief executive Nils Miller said its airport development was attracting wide interest, and it will create an employment hub that will in turn lead to residential developments nearby.
“The businesses being developed around the new airport started out being centred around aviation. The area is now attracting a wider set of businesses,” he said. An initial focus on logistics has broadened after Qantas and Jetstar committed to the airport this year.
“It’s really only been in the last six months that people are coming out of the woodwork and showing interest and even approaching us cold from the perspective of occupiers and potential purchasers,” he said.
BC Land will develop an employment hub on 35ha at Badgerys Creek, and it is winning interest from self-storage operators and trades groups looking for a smaller business park.
It is starting with a focus on logistics, freight packaging and light industrial, but online retailers and even car dealerships are keen as companies look for space after being hit by delays at Kemps Creek in Sydney’s west.
“They’re looking elsewhere,” Miller said.