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Midway to sell off Victorian plantations to land developers

Listed forestry company Midway Limited has put almost 1600 hectares of blue gum plantations 50 kilometres north of Melbourne up for sale, offering them as a land banking opportunity for patient developers. Source: The Australian Financial Review

Price expectations for the Wandong Plantations between the rural towns of Kilmore and Wandong are understood to be more than $20 million.

While they are being sold with a leaseback to Midway, they have the potential to be converted into 40-hectare rural residential subdivisions once cleared of trees in about 10 years.

The offering comprises 639-hectare Glenbane Park in Wandong, 420-hectare Overdale in Kilmore and 516-hectare Glenburnie in Kilmore East.

According to an indicative subdivision plan prepared by planning and landscape architects Tract, Glenbane Park could support about 15 40-hectare lots, Overdale about 10 40-hectare lots and Glenburnie about 12 40-hectare lots.

Wandong Plantations are being marketed by Frank Nagle and Callum Williamson from Biggin & Scott Land. The plantations will generate rental income to the new owners over the medium term.

In about seven or eight years, once the trees have been harvested, Midway will then clear the plantations, paving the way for the properties to be subdivided into rural lots.

Mr Nagle said there had already been strong inquiry in the plantations, given the attractive entry price for the large landholding. Midway flagged the offering in its full-year results released in August. The company said it was “progressing a divestment program of surplus land north of Melbourne”.

Midway also said it had signed a contract to sell 785 hectares of land in the Upper Goulburn region of Central Victoria for $3.2 million. Proceeds from this sale were expected in the 2022 financial year when the land is unencumbered from trees.

In August 2020, Midway said it had identified 4076 hectares (valued about $25million) of non-core land assets north of Melbourne to divest.

“This land, particularly in the Hume Highway corridor, is well suited to residential development,” the company said.

Based in Geelong and founded in 1980, Midway produces and markets wood fibre to producers of pulp, paper and associated products in Asia.  In August, Midway kicked off construction of a $14 million wood chipping and export facility at Bell Bay in Northern Tasmania.