Tullamarine sold to car dealer

Fairfax’s former Melbourne printing plant will become a car distribution centre after a $16m deal was finally closed this week.

Entrepreneur Bobby Zagame, owner of numerous prestige car dealerships, will use the six hectare site in Tullamarine as a pre-delivery process centre and distribution facility.

According to an ASX market release, Zagame paid about $16m for the site. This is $4m less than the $20m property group Charter Hall was reportedly set to pay as part of a $55m deal for both sites.

The deal to sell both plants to Charter Hall last month apparently fell through, making way for Zagame to swoop. Charter Hall is still in talks to buy the Chullora site in Sydney.

[Related: Newspapers in flux]

The former plant has 24,000sqm of floorspace and a 125-bay open-air car park and garden areas that could be developed, and excess space could be split up and sold in subdivisions.

The newspaper says the prominent spire emblazoned with The Age’s logo will be rebranded to Zagame. About 300,000 cars pass the site beside the Tullamarine Freeway every week.

Built for $220m in 2006, the printing plant was shut down last year, along with Chullora, and presses either sold, scrapped or moved to upgraded regional facilities in Richmond, NSW and Ballarat, Vic.

Fairfax printing and distribution group director Bob Lockley said last year the plant closures were a result of declining print volumes resulting from plummeting circulation.

“The plants were great in their day but are now not being fully utilised, so we need to rationalise our operations,” he says.

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