Verrocchi family who co-founded Chemist Warehouse sell farm for $60m+
A wealthy Melbourne family who co-founded Chemist Warehouse have cashed in with the more than $60m sale of a farm in Melbourne’s west.
The Verrocchi family, including businessman Mario Verrocchi who is a joint owner of the My Chemist and Chemist Warehouse groups, were among the beneficiaries of a $62.7m sale for a more than 45ha plot at 955 Ballan Rd, Manor Lakes, concluded earlier this year.
Industry sources have indicated the secretive sale to developer Central Equity was kept under wraps, only emerging after it had settled — and after plots of land had already begun being sold in what is now named the Parkbrook estate.
Title documents for the farm, almost four times the size of a typical one in the area, show it was sold by several members of the Verrocchi family, who founded the chemist chain alongside Jack, Sam and Lydia Gance, in 2000.
Mario Verrocchi last made headlines for his real estate activity when he bought Mt Eliza’s Morning Star estate for about $40m in September 2020.
The coastal landmark was used while filming the Kath & Kimderella film in 2012.
Core Projects arranged the sale of the Manor Lakes farm, but director Trent Malcomson declined to discuss the vendors or purchasers.
Mr Malcomson did confirm it was one of the largest parcels still available in the area, with most of the farms left now around 10-12ha in size.
The sale followed offers from 18 other parties which totalled at $1bn, he said.
“The west has gone from emerging as a growth area to an established growth area,” Mr Malcomson said.
“It’s highly desired for its proximity to the city and train lines.”
It is understood the land was used for cropping before the Verrocchi family had development plans arranged for it.
Central Equity marketing manager Jeremy Vile said the former farm had already proven popular as an estate, thanks in part to more than 30 per cent of it being set aside for green space or conservation areas.
“People are just loving the location,” Mr Vile said. “It’s among a really established area with a shopping centre down the road and good schools nearby.”
Land is currently for sale from $259,000, with a mix of first-home buyers, investors and family home buyers snapping up blocks so far and construction for key infrastructure slated to commence shortly.
CoreLogic records show the property’s last disclosed transaction was in 1994, with Doroth and Gordon Hunt acquiring it for $310,000.
Recent high-profile farm sales include a Bright property owned by skiing champion Malcolm Milne sold to Melbourne’s wealthy Deague family for more than $30m and the about $15m paid for a Paynesville farm part owned by Juni Armstrong, the personal trainer to Hollywood stars including Brad Pitt and Chris Pratt.
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