News takes a ten-year lease on life for Melbourne print

Readers of News Corp's flagship The Australian have been given details of the new west Melbourne print site it is developing under a ten-year lease.

As reported by GXpress in July last year, News has sold its existing Westgate Park print site for a figure understood to be $55 million and secured lightly-used press and mailroom equipment from the former Fairfax print site in Ormiston, Queensland and The Guardian in London.

In April this year we updated on the project, reporting that a ground-breaking ceremony had been held at the selected site in Truganina in western Melbourne.

In today's Australian, commercial property reporter Ben Wilmot says industrial property funds manager Logos will develop News' purpose-built printing facility at its Truganina Logistics Estate. The publisher was the first precommitment to the estate at 285 Palmers Road - which Logos bought in 2018 for about $28 million - securing 11,215 m2 on a ten-year term lease.

Property and supply chain firm TM Insight is project-managing the new facility, which is due for completion in November. Neighbours in the estate, which Logos acquired in mid-2018, will be logistics and e-commerce firms primarily serving Melbourne and surrounding areas.

TM Insight director Justin Fried said the print centre had been designed "according to best practice layout for the highly specialised printing and publishing equipment that will be installed".

Logos ANZ chief Darren Searle says they were pleased to be commencing development of the estate with a commitment from News Corp and looked forward to working with (builder) FDC and local consultants.

GXpress understands the site will house two double-width newspaper presses, a Goss Unliner T90 sourced from the former Ormiston print site briefly owned by Antony Catalano's Australian Community Media, and a manroland Geoman now surplus to requirements at News' centre in Chullora, Sydney. With both manufacturers now owned by the same company, consideration has been given to standardising control systems across the two presses.

Ferag drum inserting and mailroom equipment has come from the former Guardian print centre in London, which closed after the UK publisher was unable to find contract work for its Berliner-format presses.

The plant will print the flagship metro tabloid Herald-Sun - print circulation of which is not regularly quoted, but had fallen below 350,000 copies when News withdrew from the Audited Media Association of Australia (AMAA) audit in 2017 - and Victorian editions of The Australian. It has also secured a contract to print The Age and the Australian Financial Review - both now owned by Nine Entertainment - a decision which will lead to the closure of ACM's Ballarat print site early next year.

Pictured: Logos' Truganina Logistics Estate

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