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Australian federal government starts Melbourne defense site sale process

The federal government of Australia opened a registration of interest campaign for the sale of the 128-hectare vacant Maribyrnong Defence Site in Melbourne, which could be valued at as much as A$500 million in the absence of any contamination, according to market observers, The Australian Financial Review reported.

Australia's Department of Defence believes a new urban area could be developed on the plot, which was once home to ammunition supplier Remount Depot during the first world war, and later became a major explosives factory, which closed in 1993.

Chinese real estate developer Zhongren drew up a A$2.5 billion proposal for the site in 2017, with plans for up to 6,000 homes and a canal, the Oct. 18 report added.

The registration of interest campaign for the site will close Nov. 19, AFR reported, adding that the department is looking to sign a sale agreement by late 2020. The defense site is understood to attract interest from consortiums led by major Australia-listed real estate developers, as well as foreign developers.

CBRE is serving as the marketing agent for the site.