Salta Plots $1.2bn Logistics Estate after Land Grab


Billionaire Sam Tarascio’s Salta Properties is planning a $1.2-billion industrial estate after acquiring a 123ha site in Melbourne’s outer south-east.

Salta will develop 690 Westernport Highway in Cranbourne West after buying the site from Leighton Property and Dacland.

The site, close to the Dandenong South industrial precinct where distribution facilities have been developed for the likes of Amazon, Dulux, Woolworths, Aldi and L'Oreal, is zoned industrial and expected to be developed into a premium industrial estate as per the 2012-approved precinct structure plan.

Tarascio said the strategic acquisition would further Salta’s industrial pipeline alongside its nearby $1.4-billion, 180ha Nexus Dandenong South Industrial Estate, the site of the Dandenong South Inland Port, which is currently under construction.

“Industrial has been the strongest performing segment of the market in Australia for the past three years and it is projected that this will remain the case for the foreseeable future,” Tarascio said.

“This strategic piece of infrastructure has resulted in unprecedented demand for space at Nexus Dandenong South because of the cost and environmental efficiencies, which clients at the estate will gain as a result of the Dandenong South Inland Port.

“The speed of land take up at Dandenong South is a key driver for our acquisition of the Cranbourne West site, which is 5km south of our Dandenong South site and 48km from Melbourne’s CBD.”

The site sits within somewhat of a contentious location— neighbouring sites on the same highway that have been subject to an anti-corruption investigation.

Three years ago, it was revealed developer John Woodman, representing the owners of 590-620 Western Port Highway, co-ordinated more than $1.2 million in bribes to City of Casey councillors to win favourable planning outcomes for future development applications.

In 2019, planning minister Richard Wynne refused a residential rezoning of the properties and a portion of a neighbouring 590-620 Western Port Highway site.

Following an investigation into the allegations by the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission, the entire Casey council was removed in early 2020.

The public IBAC hearings concluded last December after an eight month hiatus due to the pandemic. No individuals have been charged over any allegations that arose in the hearings.

In mid 2020, Asia-Pacific logistics platform ESR paid $75 million for 620 Western Port Highway, a 79ha site it plans to develop into an industrial estate, Tullamore Business Park.

“We are aware of recent attempts by others to rezone the land for residential use, but Salta has no intention of seeking such a rezoning for this land,” Tarascio said.

“We believe the existing industrial use is completely appropriate for this land, and we are fully aligned with the decision by the Victorian government not to approve a change of zoning for this site.”

The Urban Developer approached Salta to understand the amount paid for the Cranbourne West site but the developer chose not to disclose the price.

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