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Retailers eye last Essendon land release
Final land release for Melbourne auto retail centre at Essendon Fields
18 Feb 2013
By JOHN MELLOR
ESSENDON Fields, the development company controlled by interests associated with Lindsay Fox and Max Beck, is about to release its third and final allocation of land for car retailing in what is now known as Auto Centro in Melbourne’s north.
The complex, which is developing into a major auto destination, is located at the hub of three major Melbourne freeways.
The final release could see a scramble by some car companies, many of which have been adopting a wait-and-see approach to Auto Centro.
Auto Centro currently hosts the Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, Ford, Volkswagen, Honda, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Great Wall brands.
Stage two is just being completed, with Nissan and Mitsubishi dealerships in final stages of construction.
Two more brands are already committed to stage three, which will add eight dealerships to the 9.7-hectare complex.
In addition, there will be nine showrooms in a separate retail complex that includes a café.
It is expected that some of the smaller luxury brands may choose to display cars in these showrooms as a new vehicle sales branch to a main dealership within the PMA (prime marketing area).
Part of the thrust for stage three will be to encourage the major luxury brands into the complex.
Essendon Fields says it believes that Auto Centro can achieve representation from brands that account for 90 per cent of the sales volume in Australia.
The complex has freeway exposure to more than 110,000 vehicles a day.
It is fed from the east and south via City Link and the Tullamarine Freeway and is close to the Calder Freeway and the Western Ring Road, which feeds in traffic from the expanding western, northern and north-eastern suburbs.
A food and fuel centre is to be built within the complex.
A feature of the complex is a separate seven-hectare pre-delivery area within the Essendon airfield site that can be leased separately.
At present the Ford, Toyota, Mazda, Honda and Hyundai dealerships use the pre-delivery area, and there is allocation for a further five.
Dealerships at Auto Centro have been drawn from nearby Mount Alexander Road and Keilor Road.
Essendon Fields property consultant Craig Cunningham said all dealers have reported increased volumes since they moved to Auto Centro, which is currently selling an average of 160 new cars a week (plus 220 used cars).
Under the leasing arrangements, Essendon Fields leases to dealers both the property and the facilities, which it builds to manufacturers’ specifications.
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