Industrial projects fast-tracked for post-corona jobs

Amazon is expanding its operations.
Amazon is expanding its operations.

A series of major logistics and industrial projects have been fast-tracked around Australia as the sector emerges from the coron­avirus crisis as the strongest property sector.

Much of the action is being driven by e-commerce, and in one of the largest plays Amazon has unveiled a new facility in Brisbane, where it is working with industrial property powerhouse Goodman.

Meanwhile in Sydney, Japanese carmaker Toyota has sold off a Sydney site for $170m that will be redeveloped by the private Aliro into a commercial, industrial, educational and recreational precinct.

The moves came as a major land parcel near the planned Western Sydney Airport was rezoned with expectations that it can accommodate $2.6bn worth of developments and spark jobs in the area.

High-profile companies including Mirvac, Dexus and GPT all have holdings in the area, alongside developers including Singapore’s Frasers Property and wealthy private owners, and opening up the land promises more accessible and cheaper industrial sites.

Property developers have been thrown into turmoil by the coronavirus crisis but there is rising demand for industrial land, particularly where logistics projects can be built to fulfil rising demand from e-commerce providers.

Online retail giant Amazon said its new fulfilment centre, in the Brisbane portside suburb of Lytton, would commence operations ahead of the Christmas season.

Roughly the same size as two Rugby League fields, the facility will stock health, household and personal care products, and electronics, books, gardening equipment and pantry staples.

Amazon Australia director of operations Craig Fuller says the location means customers can receive their purchases faster, while local small and medium businesses would be able to access the facility to ship their goods. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new site would assist the state’s COVID-19 economic recovery, with 170 jobs set to be created in the construction phase and an additional 200 people to be employed for daily operations.

Amazon already operates fulfilment centres in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, having launched one new site each year since entering Australia in late 2017.

In Sydney, Toyota sold its complex at Woolooware Bay in the city’s south to the unlisted Aliro Group Industrial Value Fund as it has transferred to other locations in the city.

The sale, to be completed later this year, includes Toyota Australia’s former sales and marketing headquarters, a substantial warehouse and other buildings on land of about 12.4 hectares.

Toyota Australia accepted Aliro’s offer after a sale process via Colliers International agents Trent Gallagher and Gavin ­Bishop.

Aliro has a 10-year vision to convert the site that will see it retain existing buildings and other parts of the estate built out.

Toyota Australia president Matthew Callachor says Aliro’s proposal for the future had been central to the sale. “We believe Aliro’s plans are in keeping with Toyota’s 50-year history in the area as a significant employer and community member,” he says.

Developers are also keen to get cracking on the 850 hectares of future industrial land in western Sydney’s Mamre Road Precinct, which is expected to generate up to 5250 jobs.

Property Council NSW executive director Jane Fitzgerald said Sydney had suffered from a chronic shortage of developable industrial land and the under-supply had driven up prices and sent opportunities for investment in logistics and warehousing to other capitals.

The UDIA NSW says Mamre Road was rezoned as the first precinct of the planned Aerotropolis and chief executive Steve Mann said it would help fill the critical gap in employment lands that emerged in the past decade.

– with Mackenzie Scott

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