Car maker Holden's landmark Melbourne manufacturing site has been sold to the Victorian government.

In a deal reportedly worth $130 million, the 37.7-hectare Fishermans Bend site will become a design and engineering precinct.

About the size of nine city blocks, the site will support aerospace, defence, marine and automotive design industries, the government says.

“This was a once in a generation opportunity to secure a site of this size and proximity to the CBD – we didn’t want to see it wasted,” Industry and Employment Minister Wade Noonan said in a statement.

Holden has been at the site for more than 80 years and announced in December 2013 it would stop manufacturing in Australia by 2017.

The government is in talks with Holden about their future plans to remain on the site, and are also talking to major global companies and leading education partners for the new development.

It’s expected the Fishermans Bend area will support 80,000 residents and 60,000 jobs by 2050.