A $60 million apartment building will be built on a slice of Footscray land that residents had hoped would be used as a new park.

Residential developers Keystone Property Group snapped up the 2736 square metre site at 94-104 Buckley Street from the state government, announcing plans to use the land to build more than 100 apartments.

The site, sold through Savills for just under $5 million, was acquired by the state government during construction of the Regional Rail Link.

About 80 homes and businesses along and near Buckley Street were bulldozed to make way for the project.

The government last year told Maribyrnong council it would need to pay close to $5.5 million to secure the site for public open space.

Keystone is in the process of building The Buckley development next door, and hopes to get its new project under way within 12 months.

Director Ray Evans said the developer will work closely with the council on an “iconic” design that will include two-bedroom apartments priced under $500,000.

“We sold the previous two projects at 90-92 Buckley Street and 27 Victoria Street before completion, and I’ve no doubt we will do that again,” Mr Evans said.

Savills agent Julian Heatherich said the property had attracted strong interest from developers.

“Footscray is rapidly emerging as the key investment destination of the west, and that is down to its prime location on the banks of the Maribyrnong River, just five kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD, and its affordability,’’ he said.

Resident Daniell Flood, who had been leading the push for the land to become a park, said the sale to a property developer marks a missed opportunity.

“This land would have made a great secret garden,” he said.

“Buckley Street will now become a tunnel of towers filled with port trucks.”

The state government has also sold a nearby 646 square metre site at 112 Buckley Street to an investor for $1.425 million.