'This was all glistening white' says Les McGill looking over the damaged section of roof at the Grafton Brewery complex.
'This was all glistening white' says Les McGill looking over the damaged section of roof at the Grafton Brewery complex. Tim Howard

'Tremendous' interest for Grafton site, but....

IT'S business as usual at the Grafton Industrial Village after the site was passed in at auction in Sydney on Tuesday.

Village owner Les McGill said the sale attracted tremendous interest, but as the legal departments of interested parties had not had an adequate chance to read the 884-page contract, it was decided to pass it in without a vendor bid.

"Because of a misunderstanding about preparing the contract, it was only available four days before the sale," Mr McGill said.

"With 60-plus tenants, it was always going to be complex.

"We had to go to auction on Tuesday, because we'd already delayed it a week to get the contracts ready."

Mr McGill said interest had come from superannuation companies and two strong local entities.

"I can say one superannuation entity from Queensland was very interested and at least two from Sydney also showed strong interest," he said.

"Their lawyers are looking at the contract and we're thinking by next week some time we'll have an idea where it's going to land."

Despite the lack of a sale, Mr McGill remained upbeat.

"We're not disappointed," he said. "The sale met with great interest. There were a lot of people in the room, but we decided to pass it in out of fairness because not enough people were prepared enough to make a bid."

He said in the meantime he and wife Jan would run their business as normal.

"We were back at work today after flying back home to Grafton last night," he said.

"We sold a few containers and look like we have signed up another tenant for the complex."

He said commercial property agents Cushman & Wakefield were working with interested parties for a private sale, but was confident there was enough competition among interested parties to keep the price "realistic".

Despite the interest from outside entities, Mr McGill said he and his wife still hoped a local buyer would win the day.

He said the village, on the site of the old Grafton Brewery, was home to 61 businesses operating out of 15 buildings on the site with 21,000sqm under roof.

Recent repairs after a massive hailstorm at the end of 2017 had allowed the business to completely remove asbestos from the buildings and install 100kW of solar power generation capacity.

He said the business returned $976,000 annually, although he had not included income from a side business, Maxwell Containers, which would drive that figure over the $1million mark.



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