New life for old Ford site

11 Jun New life for old Ford site

GEELONG’S busiest commercial strip stands to benefit as potentially thousands of people return to work at the old Ford site over the next few years, a leading real estate agent says.

Darcy Jarman agent Tim Darcy said the Ford site’s new owners Pelligra’s plans to create the Fortek Geelong precinct on the old factories would be positive for the Melbourne Rd strip north of Separation St, which he said was Geelong’s busiest in terms of daily traffic flow.

Mr Darcy’s comments follow the sale of a North Geelong warehouse to a local business and a leading Melbourne motorcycle parts retailer signing a lease to open its first Geelong store.

Mr Darcy said there’s clearly now a vision for the transformation of that site, with Pelligra’s long-term view to its investment a positive for business activity in the northern corridor.

“To think you’ve got a major manufacturing facility that’s redundant on the main arterial road is not ideal,” he said.

“The fact that it’s going to be transformed and have a blend of probably commercial-type business activity and some industrial and warehousing or semi-industrial warehousing is positive for the area. It will reposition and consolidate that area.

“We’ve already seen the successful transformation of the Federal Mills in Mackey St, so these things can work in that location,” he said.

“It will generate a significant number of people going to that site on a daily basis because there will be a lot of different businesses in that precinct. It will help Melbourne Rd.”

Owners of a North Geelong business have started to renovate a warehouse a 308-310 Melbourne Rd after purchasing the property recently.

The 2295sq m property sold after a short campaign in deal the Advertiser understands was worth around $1.5 million.

Antiques emporium How Bazaar recently relocated to Colac from the site.

Mr Darcy said the main road position was a motivating factor for the buyers.

Meanwhile, motorcycle parts retailer AMX Superstores has signed a five-year lease on a warehouse at 385 Melbourne Rd after furniture retailer Oz Design relocated to the Corio homemaker centre.

Leedwell Property agent Tom Perkins said AMX was attracted to the strip for its array of tradie and adventure-based retailers, including Bunnings, Sydney Tools and Ironman 4×4. AMX will take up a position on the corner of Cowie St.

“We have seen a maturing in the Geelong marketplace with traditional homemaker retailers such as Oz Design moving to the homemaker centres where there is a critical mass of like-minded retailers, much like we are seeing tradie-based retailers creating a ­cluster on the highway,” Mr Perkins said.

The North Geelong Ford site will be a mixed-use site for commercial, industrial and ­ancillary uses, understood to be consistent with its current zoning.

The new owners told the Advertiser the first stage is expected to accommodate up to 1500 workers in the next three years.

The Princes Highway site is currently home to advanced engineering firm Marand and Danish wind energy giant Vestas, which has based a turbine assembly operation there.