A specialist team of property, corporate, environment and tax lawyers from Gilbert + Tobin helped advise on the Federal Government’s $165 million sale of its stake in ComLand to investment partner Lend Lease.
ComLand was established in July 1999 to take over former munitions manufacturing and storage sites from ADI Limited. The government sold its stake in ADI the same year. The sites, Edgewater and Waterford Green at Maribyrnong in Melbourne and St Marys in western Sydney, are in the process of property development.
Property and infrastructure partners, Michael Ellis and Amanda Hempel and corporate partner, John Williamson-Noble, led the Gilbert+Tobin team alongside advisers from Macquarie Bank and the Australian Government Solicitor, as well as property valuation firm Rogers Milne.
“Given the existing corporate joint venture and development agreements, the significant planning and environment issues and the sheer size of the several development sites in different states, advising the Government on this sale, with Macquarie Bank, has been an interesting exercise,” said Ellis.
As the joint venture partner, Lend Lease already controlled 50 per cent of ComLand, and was offered the chance to buy out the government’s interest in the remainder of the developments.
When announcing the sale last month, Minister for Finance and Administration, Senator Nick Minchin, said Waterford Green had already been developed and sold, sales were progressing at Edgewater and the planning approval process at St Marys was entering an advanced stage. This provided “an opportune time” for the government “to realise its investment in ComLand and remove its protracted exposure to property market risks”.
The proceeds will be used to pay ComLand’s existing debt of $25.3 million, the remaining $139.7 million used to retire Commonwealth net debt.