Toyota moves to sell highly valuable Woolooware Bay site

Uncertain future: Toyota says the site could have a range of uses. Picture: Chris Lane
Uncertain future: Toyota says the site could have a range of uses. Picture: Chris Lane

The highly valuable Toyota site on the edge of Woolooware Bay is about to be offered for sale.

The company said it was "confident the sale process will identify a range of appropriate uses" but it was "too early to speculate as to the final future use of the site".

The site is zoned industrial, but could be rezoned through a Planning Proposal, which would have to be approved by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment.

The decision would probably be delegated to Sydney South Planning Panel.

The University of Wollongong and Sydney Catholic Schools expressed interest in the site in the past.

Sutherland Shire Council is strongly opposed to it becoming a residential development.

Toyota announced in 2014 it would close its Caringbah operation when it ceased manufacturing vehicles in Australia in 2017.

The company said there would be a gradual withdrawal, which would be finalised in 2019.

Following a Leader inquiry, a spokeswoman said, "Toyota Motor Corporation Australia (TMCA) is proceeding with its planned departure from the Woolooware Bay site during 2020.

"This includes transferring the remaining working operations from the site to other locations in Sydney.

"A new state-of-the-art Toyota Parts Centre was built at Kemps Creek in Sydney's west to accommodate the Woolooware Bay warehouse function.

"Earlier this year, TMCA's NSW regional office relocated to new facilities at Sydney Olympic Park.

"TMCA is working hard to ensure a well-considered departure from the Sutherland Shire - one which appreciates and acknowledges Toyota's 50-year history in the area as a significant employer and community member.

"Colliers International have been appointed to facilitate the sale. We are confident the sale process will identify a range of appropriate uses.

"It is too early to speculate as to the final future use of the site."

Colliers International declined to comment while the sales campaign is prepared.

Sutherland Shire mayor Carmelo Pesce said Toyota representatives had flown from Melbourne "every couple of months" to meet him and update the council on its withdrawal from the site.

"They are running with a sale of 'no lift' in the zoning," he said.

"The zoning is the zoning. Anyone who buys it, will know know what it is, and they will have to work with it."

Cr Pesce said he had always hoped the site would be used for education purposes.

"I think it would be great to have a university [campus] or other form of education," he said.

"I am definitely opposed to residential use.

"I don't think there is probably one councillor who would say 'lets do residential' on that site."