A portion of the former Goulburn saleyard site has sold before auction but its former owner has remained tight-lipped about its sale price.
Agents Nutrien Harcourts sold the 7380 portion on the corner of Sloane Street and Finlay Road before its March 26 auction. Agent Peter Reardon said an out of town buyer snapped it up following a five-week marketing campaign. However he could not reveal its sale price or who bought the land.
A development application for the industrial-zoned land is expected "in due course."
The block covers a portion of the former sheep yards fronting Sloane Street but doesn't encompass all of this area. It's understood the balance of the site remains in Kattle Gear Australia's ownership.
Company managing director Bill Vowles declined to speak to The Post about the sale. He bought the saleyard from the former Goulburn City Council in 2000 for $100 under a complex contract which was conditional on him building a new facility in Mazamet Road, along with multiple other responsibilities.
The State Government refused to approve the site, the new saleyard was never built and the council had no legal recourse to enforce construction of a facility elsewhere.
A 2005 probity audit commissioned by Goulburn Mulwaree Council found "significant administrative and legal deficiencies" in the lead-up to the contract's finalisation. However the then general manager, Luke Johnson, said there was "no suggestion of impropriety."
But Mr Vowles and Kattle Gear continued to own and run the Finlay Road yard up until early 2017 when it closed for good. By then the South Eastern Livestock Exchange at Yass had opened, luring Goulburn agents and stock buyers and sellers.
Mr Vowles later rejected suggestions he had benefited from the deal and hadn't invested sufficiently in improvements. He told The Post in 2017 it was a "misrepresentation" to say he'd bought the yards for $100 and said he'd plowed thousands of dollars in infrastructure and environmental upgrades.
The EPA issued several improvement notices to the operator and the council regarding effluent runoff and detention.
Mr Reardon said the sold portion was not contaminated. However a report to Tuesday night's council meeting reveals there is contamination on a section of a nearby council-owned block, next to its former nursery in Dossie Street. It has been deemed "unacceptable to human health" and would have to be remediated before any sale. General manager Warwick Bennett said if councillors adopted a recommendation to sell the land it would be done with "full disclosure."
The report recommends that the council not proceed with rezoning and subdivision of 2C Sloane Street due to multiple issues, including land slope and the need to manage risk to the Sydney catchment.
Meantime, the price of the saleyard block won't be placed on the public record for several months.
But speaking generally, valuer Doug Walker said demand for industrial land in Goulburn had improved considerably in the past 12 to 18 months. Blocks could fetch $100 per square metre depending on the quality, access and other factors.
"The market has improved with better communication and the transport routes. We're only two hours down the freeway and industrial land in Sydney is a lot more expensive at $300 to $400 per square metre. Goulburn is competitively priced," he said.
Mr Walker said industrial blocks in Goulburn sold for $70 to $80 per sqm five to six years ago. At that time there was a glut but now it was showing signs of running out. Anywhere close to the highway was attractive to buyers.
The saleyard portion was pitched as having access to a B-double route and an easy drive to the Hume Highway's north and southbound lanes.
Nearby, Goulburn businessman Bernard Maas and a business partner bought two industrial blocks off Finlay Road some two years ago. They were subdivided lots in the former saleyard holding paddock.
He said he had no firm plans for the site other than to subdivide it for possible sale. The zoning permits bulky goods and industrial/commercial uses, including small factories.
"It's a great location very close to the southern exit, which these days is the main exit, there's no housing around so no issues with noise," he said.
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