THE site of Melbourne’s historic Naval Dockyard at Williamstown at the mouth of the Yarra River is being offered for sale some years after the end of commercial and Naval activity there by BAE Systems Australia.

Described by agents as “absolute prime real estate and infrastructure with premium water frontage to Hobsons Bay” the site includes a graving dock, several piers with associated infrastructure, assembly halls, warehouses, car parks and more.

The 16.81-hectare site sits between Ann Street Pier and the tanker terminal at Gellibrand Pier and is noted as being 8 kilometres from the Melbourne CBBD and 3 km from “Australia’s largest container port”.  It is being offered with two options, one of which involves breaking the package into two parcels, one of which could see BAE opting to retain or lease 5 hectares.

Analysts are suggesting the sale could raise $200 million in total.

In real estate-ese, agents are suggesting there is the ability to ‘rentalise’ existing improvements or explore staged redevelopments prospects with “multi-faceted better and higher-use outcomes”.

Shiprepair and construction on the site began in the mid-1800s under the auspices of the Colony of Victoria, and the still-extant Alfred Graving Dock was completed in 1974 for the Public Works Department, later the Melbourne Harbour Trust. During each World War the facility was requisitioned by the Commonwealth and remained in their hands until sale to AMECON (later renamed Tenix Defence) in 1987, and in turn BAE Systems.

The facility completed over 40 vessels for defence forces, including Australia’s eight ANZAC-class frigates (and two for the Royal New Zealand Navy), constructed/assembled by AMECON between 1992 and 2006 and, subsequently the Spanish-built hulls of the RAN’s LHDs Adelaide and Canberra were completed and outfitted in 2014-2015. Expressions of interest close on 1 August.