Melbourne-based developer Pelligra Group has been revealed as the buyer of the Holden plant in Adelaide’s north, but the site is expected to remain mostly vacant to commercial development for another 18 months.
Holden would not reveal the sale price but said the Elizabeth site would be renamed the Lionsgate Business Park in a nod to the carmaker’s emblematic red lion.
Weeks before the last car rolled off the production line in October, Holden indicated it had found a buyer but refused to say who it was.
But the carmaker now said Pelligra was committed to turning the site into a hub for “industrial, manufacturing, construction engineering, automotive and commercial uses”.
“Our wish for the future of the site has always been that it continues to create jobs for Elizabeth and the surrounding area,” Holden facilities director Matthew Goodwins said in a statement.
“We believe that Pelligra’s master plan for the site is positioned to achieve this.”
The site will not be formally handed over to Pelligra until after decommissioning, which is expected to continue until mid-2019.
“[Holden] will remain in control of the site until that process is completed,” the carmaker said.
It will also continue with a site contamination assessment, which began after chemical contamination of groundwater was discovered in 2011.
Family-run Pelligra was established in 1960 and describes itself as a third-generation company with a property portfolio including industrial and residential projects.
“South Australia has an exciting future before it, based on its major role in the defence industry; its significant mining and resources portfolio; its strength in food and agriculture; its geographically central location; advanced renewable energy position and its affordability,” chairman Ross Pelligra said.
“We see enormous potential in the Holden site based on partnering with businesses operating in these sectors but also in keeping the site’s automotive heritage alive through the development of a cluster of complimentary industries which tap into the significant residual skills of former Holden workers.”
Holden said that even after the site changes hands it would remain as a tenant to store spare parts and also wants to establish a museum at the site commemorating its automotive heritage.
Diesel generators temporarily installed as part of a State Government energy plan are only occupying a relatively small area, Holden said, and will be transferred to a new home to create a new back-up power station.