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Zagame outlines plan for old The Age printworks

Printing money: Fairfax Media sold the Tullamarine printworks for $16 million, having pumped $220 million into the site in the early 2000s.

Tullamarine landmark to become Zagame pre-delivery, parts, panel and trade-in centre

General News logo6 Aug 2015

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

MELBOURNE car dealership magnate Bobby Zagame will transform the iconic former Fairfax Media printworks into a pre-delivery and parts distribution centre, with further plans to use the site for panel repairs and as a sales outlet for trade-in vehicles.

Located beside the Tullamarine Freeway close to Melbourne airport, the landmark ribbed steel structure that features a glass tower in the shape of a rolled-up newspaper will provide Zagame Automotive with almost 500 metres of high-profile frontage on a busy stretch of road.

Speaking with GoAuto, Mr Zagame outlined his plans for what he described as a bigger and more convenient location into which existing pre-delivery and parts distribution operations for all the brands his company represents will shift by the end of this year.

“We are also looking at panel repair as well as a wholesale direct outlet – there are a number of angles because it is big enough for us to do a few things with it over time,” he said.

“Because we trade so many cars, it’d be like a big warehouse outlet for trade-ins, direct to the public.”

 center imageLeft: Zagame Automotive Group managing director Bobby Zagame Mr Zagame hopes to have moved into the new site by the end of this year, with most of the planned operations “underway by the beginning of next year”.

Asked whether the giant rolled-up newspaper will remain, Mr Zagame said efforts would be made to integrate it with his company’s signage.

“It probably cost a fortune to put there, we’d be mad to take it down,” he quipped. “There are a lot of signage opportunities along the whole building.”

Contracts were exchanged this week in a $16 million deal that is expected to reach settlement on September 21 – a far cry from the $220 million Fairfax sunk into the site before it opened in 2003, only to close it in mid-2014 as the company restructured in response to plummeting print volumes.

“We’d been looking at it for a number of years, and then of course when it was empty we thought, ‘you know, that’d be a good site’ but not knowing how much they wanted for it,” revealed Mr Zagame.

“But over time, like anything, people couldn’t quite make it work for them and what they’d do for it – but for us it’s a great spot to do something with and a great position. So when the opportunity came I’ve taken it.”

Among the brands sold by Zagame Automotive dealerships are Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Ferrari, Fiat, Maserati, Morgan, Lamborghini, Lotus and Skoda.

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