Sandown could be set for development reprieve

Sandown International Motor Raceway

A residential development which would mean the end of Sandown as a race track is itself now in jeopardy due to a new state tax.

The Melbourne circuit, which also includes horse racing facilities, is located in suburbia and its days have long been considered numbered due to the prospect of being subdivided for housing.

However, the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) is now potentially up for a $200 million ‘windfall tax’ bill should it choose to turn the site into a housing estate, according to a report in The Age.

The hit is due to the major impact which the necessary rezoning of the site, from ‘special use’ to ‘residential’, would have on its value.

According to analysis in The Age, Sandown’s value would jump from around $100 million to an estimated $500 million to $600 million should MRC get that green light to carve it up for housing.

That would trigger the windfall tax which is set to take effect on July 1, 2022, whereby any increase in value over $500,000 due to a rezoning is slugged at 50 percent tax.

The MRC’s rezoning application with Dandenong City Council has reportedly been put on hold, as it awaits clarity as to whether or not not-for-profits would be spared the new tax.

The club already reportedly loses $5 million per year on Sandown, with the proceeds from the potential sale of the site to be put towards a redevelopment of the Caulfield Racecourse which it also owns.

Sandown has hosted horse racing since 1888 and motorsport since the 1960s, becoming one of the staples of the Supercars calendar.

It was, however, a late addition to this year’s campaign due to the postponement of the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

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