Bombshell One and Bombshell Two in King's Square

King's Square Bombshells

In the map above the land in red is what Fremantle Council put into the King's Square Business Plan deal with Sirona. Lot 1 is what Sirona put into the deal. Fremantle Council put in 80% of the land.

Sirona put in most of the money, buying lots 2, 3 , 375, and 376 at bargain prices from Fremantle Council. Sirona put $220 million into the project, $190 million borrowed from First State Super, while Fremantle Council put $50 million.

Bombshell One

Reportedly Sirona has sold 75% of their stake for $250 million, which values their part of the project in the current difficult times, even though unfinished, at $330 million, for a profit of over 50%, or $113 million, while Fremantle ratepayers will be left with a debt of around $40 million.

Added to that profit is the Spicer site in Henderson Street where Sirona was supposed to build a hotel like the one above. But Sirona couldn't be bothered, and sold the ratepayer asset for a quick $1 million profit for themselves, to Twiggy Forrest.

The King's Square project promised to give Fremantle, in the former Myer building, a shopping and retail experience the likes of which Australia has never seen. But the ground floors are unfinished and empty, with the only tenant reportedly signed up being yet another bar, a US themed varsity bar. Another alcohol outlet -just what Fremantle needs!

Bombshell Two

The other unfinished building is the new administration building which the community didn't ask for and cannot afford.

In January the Fremantle Society fought against a proposed 828 sq metre alcohol outlet in the new administration centre, an inappropriate use of a civic building, but Council by a vote of 7-5 voted to allow it. Those who voted for it:

Mayor Pettitt and Crs Graham, Fitzhardinge, Wainright, Mofflin, Sullivan, and Pemberton.

Against: Crs Archibald, Groome, Thompson, Vujcic, and Lang.

The deal was a shocker, with council giving years of free rent and $500,000 free towards the fit out.

But in March the applicant walked.

Today, Wednesday 14th, at 6pm, council will vote to support another dumb deal, giving this time TEN YEARS' FREE RENT. The applicants run the very successful Clancy's at Princess May Park, so Fremantle will not be getting fresh blood from out of town, one of the original requirements for an applicant, but more of the same.

The cost to the ratepayers for this crazy deal is over $2 million.

Instead of a town square to be proud of, as the Fremantle Society campaigned for, we now have a financial train wreck, and endless fiascos like the proposed woke removal of the statue of Australia's most highly decorated soldier, the refusal to celebrate colonial history as originally planned with an archaeological revealing of the original church footings, the death of iconic Moreton Bay trees, and the planned renaming of King's Square, which, along with Queen's Square, have been internationally known way finding beacons for 187 years.

John Dowson
The Fremantle Society
0409 223622

14 October, 2020


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