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A SECOND Ford Melbourne dealership property is on the market with agents predicting strong interest following the substantial $32.6 million received for the land occupied by Chadstone Ford and Hyundai.

The Etheridge Ford site in Ringwood is expected to attract a solid list of prospective buyers who missed out on the Chadstone site and agents said it is set for a sale price of more than $19 million.

Importantly, Etheridge Ford’s property is regarded as being one of the last available large blocks in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

Aside from an ongoing lease for the Ford dealership through to 2028, the site is a substantial 14,084 square metres which offers buyers scope for diverse developments including subdivision while retaining a car dealership, multi-storey apartment complexes and in line with adjoining occupiers, health-care businesses.

The property comprises a showroom, offices, mezzanine, workshop, retail front, and reception canopy. Annual net income is $755,478 per annum.

It also has a commercial-2 zoning with a low 25 per cent site coverage. The lease expires in seven years and has no options, indicating there is substantial future development potential.

Agents said that Ringwood also has a 34 per cent population growth over the next 20 years. Assisting the forecast population growth is the location of the Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood Square Shopping Centre, and Eastlink Freeway within 3.4km of the property.

The Etheridge Ford site, at 495 Maroondah Highway in Ringwood, is being sold through co-agents Burgess Rawson and CBRE.

Burgess Rawson partner Billy Holderhead told GoAutoNews Premium that land in the suburb was definitely becoming harder to get.

“Investors and developers are circling and looking for large, blue-chip locations with excellent future development opportunities exactly like Ford Ringwood,” he said.

“This site gives the buyer the opportunity to unlock the land for development in line with what is happening in neighbouring properties.

“Current projects in the precinct are condensing dealership showrooms onto much smaller components of highway frontage sites and unlocking rear land for alternative developments.

“As an example, the new BMW dealership now under construction for Autosport Group has a three level showroom and three level basement on a site of just 1625 square metres.

“That site will be worth around $35 million on completion.

“Recently approved right next door to BMW is a new five level showroom/office development with four levels of basement car parking.

“This sort of intensification is a trend that is becoming more common in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

“We are also seeing the multi-purpose functions such as a car showroom on the ground and/or first level, and offices or apartments above.

“The Etheridge site is over 14,000 square metres so could easily accommodate a new dealership at the front and, say, a health care precinct, business park or self storage facility at the rear.”

The Etheridge Ford site is being sold by Geoff Sammons who with business partner Coopersmith Group is a long-term owner of the property. Mr Sammons and Coopersmith were also owners of the Ringwood Mazda dealership that sold, in two parts, in September and November.

Mr Sammons told GoAutoNews Premium that the Etheridge Ford dealership jointly owned by his family interests and those of the Coopersmith family, was built by Coopersmith in 2002 before being sold in 2007, then repurchased by the families in 2014 and is now being sold as part of a retirement of assets.

Mr Holderhead said that interest in the property was especially high following the sale of the Ford and Hyundai dealerships in Oakleigh which sold last month for the record price of $32.6 million by Burgess Rawson and Gross Waddell ICR, achieving a yield of 3.32 per cent.

CBRE associate director Nathan Mufale said the Etheridge Ford site had all the fundamentals – “scale; great access and exposure; and favourable planning controls.”

“As a premium property, we expect top end investors to take a long look at this one,” said Mr Mufale.

“Interest in high performing car dealerships is certainly strong, so all eyes will be on Ford Ringwood as a hugely successful, family owned and operated business, trading strongly for over 30 years,” Mr Mufale said.

The Etheridge Ford property is for sale by expressions of interest closing at 3pm AEDT on Friday, November 26, 2021.

By Neil Dowling