Partially developed residential land off Wollaston Road has been sold as a multi-million-dollar package after the company that previously owned it was placed in the hands of receivers.
Major accounting firm KordaMentha was appointed receiver for SMKH Pty Ltd, owned by three former prominent Warrnambool businessmen - Darren Harris, David Stapleton and Stuart Mackay.
The land in Riverside Estate was bought for $3.5 million in 2006.
It was then rezoned and revalued at millions more but SMKH could no longer service its Bendigo Bank loan.
Harris & Wood Real Estate director Danny Harris confirmed today that after an exhaustive campaign, statewide interest and multiple offers, the property had been sold.
"It's a positive result and shows confidence in the Warrnambool region," he said.
Warrnambool engineer Rhyce Milward is one of four partners in a firmed named Oakwood that bought the property.
There are two local partners and two based in Melbourne, including principal Anthony Hermez who has been involved in developing for a decade.
The entity owning the property will be Oakwood Riverside.
"It's an opportunity for us to get on the front foot, we want people to know we are open for business and moving forward," Mr Milward said.
"Property is available from now and we're pretty keen to get access as soon as we can.
"The property has got plans ready for stage 3A. As soon as we can get access we'll have contractors on site and start works immediately."
Mr Milward said there was still a fair bit of planning to be undertaken.
"We believe it's a good opportunity and we're looking forward to getting our teeth into it," he said.
Warrnambool's Homeseeka Real Estate agent Paul Jellie is handling the sale of the blocks currently available.
It was expected that the sale price will not cover the SMKH debt.
KordaMentha's executive director of restructuring in Melbourne Andrew Knight said it was pleasing the property was in the process of being sold.
He said the property was sold for an undisclosed figure after a marketing campaign and competitive bidding process.
It's expected the sale will be settled by mid December.
Mr Knight said once settlement was completed that would be be "effective job done' for the receiver.
He declined to comment on whether the sale price would clear SMKH Pty Ltd's debts.
Previous owner Mr Stapleton said in July that the costs of developing property had risen tremendously since the land was bought and a combination of factors had led to SMKH facing overwhelming challenges.
He said the receiver would sell the property to a new developer in one lot - comprising 16 titled lots and 34 acres making up a potential 115 future lots to be developed.
Mr Stapleton said he was naturally disappointed that after 13 years of work SMKH had gone into receivership.
"It's very disappointing, but I truly believe Riverside Estate still has fantastic potential, especially due to the location near the Merri River and the city views," he said.
SMKH shareholder Stuart Mackay passed away in April last year while Mr Harris no longer lives in Warrnambool.
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