Bidding stalls on council land

INDUSTRIAL land owned by Ballina Shire Council failed to attract buyers at an auction last night, but mayor Phillip Silver says he is confident the lots will be snapped up through private negotiations.

Bids were made on only two of the seven lots, although about 30 people turned up for the auction, held at the Richmond Room in Ballina.

The lots range in size from 1100sqm to almost 2000sqm.

All the blocks are in Cessna Crescent in the Southern Cross Industrial Estate, close to where work is about to start on a 13,000sqm bulky goods retail precinct that includes Harvey Norman and other national retailers.

Construction work has also started on the nearby ARC Steel fabrication, warehouse and distribution facility.

Auctioneer Wilson Cregan said comparable sales included a 1723sqm block which sold for $460,000 in July 2008.

A 1287sqm lot sold for $365,000 in February this year, equating to about $284 per square metre.

Based on that, the council’s seven lots could be worth more than $2.8 million.

But little interest was shown in the blocks at last night’s auction.

“I was surprised by the small number of people who turned up and by the lack of bidding,” Mr Cregan said.

“There is so little industrial land available in Ballina and the Southern Cross Industrial Estate is a really great development.

“I am only aware of about three other lots that are for sale or resale in the estate.

“So I would say that it was a bit disappointing.”

However, Cr Silver, who was at the auction, said he believed the blocks would sell before too long.

“A lot of people would prefer to have these negotiations in private rather than at auction,” he said.

At the auction, two bids were made on two separate lots.

Both bids were on 1100sqm blocks and were for $200,000.

“Ballina has a very progressive shire council, there is no doubt about it,” Mr Cregan said.

“This (the auction of industrial land) in itself is a great initiative. This is a very important land release.

“There will be competition for these lots after auction, I am sure of it.”

Final drainage works on the seven lots is expected to be finished by July 1.

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