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MAB buys $37m farmland in Devon Meadows

MAB Corporation, the private development business of Financial Review Rich Listers Andrew and Michael Buxton, has expanded its Melbourne residential pipeline into the city’s south-east with a deal to pay $37.5 million for a 32-hectare site near Cranbourne.

Currently zoned for farming, the site is an amalgamation of five separate properties fronting Craig and Devon Roads near the South Gippsland Highway that will one day form part of a new suburb called Devon Meadows. It is close to two other housing estates – Summer Hill and Acacia at Botanic Ridge – being developed by stock exchange-listed Peet.

While rezoning to residential use under Victoria’s precinct structure plan system is a number of years away, active development of the Devon Meadows site would fit in well with the tail end of MAB Corp’s 900 hectare Merrifield Estate in Mickleham which has another five to 10 years to run, said Matthew Planner, general manager of communities .

“We’ve been wanting to expand in Melbourne and the south-east has always been a strong market,” Mr Planner told The Australian Financial Review.

He said land within the City of Casey and the future Devon Meadows precinct structure plan has been highly sought after by developers.

According to MAB Corp, demand for housing lots in Melbourne’s south-east exceeds 2500 a year.

In line with the length of time it will likely take for the area to be rezoned, MAB Corp has negotiated a six-year settlement term with the vendors, which include The Donnelly Group and Ralph and Rosetta Pascuzzi, directors of Pascuzzi Construction.

Mark Burgio, Trent Hobart, Michael Gardiner and Robert Papaleo, of Colliers International, negotiated the deal.

MAB Corp chief operating officer David Hall said the developer valued getting involved in the early, formative stages of growth area planning.

“We like a site where the precinct structure plan has not yet been produced, It means we can help develop the masterplan and draw on our strategic planning experience,” he said.

MAB Corp’s other Melbourne residential projects include the $2.5 billion NewQuay development at Docklands and the $1 billion University Hill mixed-use precinct in Bundoora in the city’s northern suburbs.

“As an ongoing business we have to keep planning ahead,” Mr Hall said.

Originally published in Australian Financial Review 24/09/2020 by Larry Schlesinger

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