Last night was another big Fremantle Council meeting with the item of most interest being the six month extension of the agreement with Sirona for the Kings Square project.
Disappointingly a lot of inflammatory and inaccurate accusations have been thrown around by members of the Fremantle Society and others in recent weeks. This is including what their “experts” (not involved in the detail of this agreement) are purported to be saying. It is worth noting that, despite multiple requests, the Fremantle Society have still not been able to provide the name of a single expert willing to put their names to their claims.
In contrast the City of Fremantle used a range of independent experts and consultants – who all were willing to put their names to their advice – with extensive experience to provide advice and review including:
- Leedwell Strategic including Matthew Adcock as the lead consultant that prepared the business case, supported by Cameron Bryson.
- David Shetliffe (co-author Fremantle Retail Model Plan) – project facilitator
- CBRE – 2012 valuation of Properties
- Ralph Bailey Bosworth (RBB) – quantity surveyors
- RSM Bird Cameron – due diligence
- Jackson McDonald – legal advice and support
- Australian Property Group – peer review (property)
- 3M Property Group – 2016 valuations
As the City of Fremantle CEO said; “Without exception, each of these consultants has considerable standing in their respective fields of expertise. In terms of meeting your fiduciary responsibilities as elected members, having the City contract this depth of expertise to provide advice throughout the development of the business plan more than satisfies the requirements”.
Last night was also a good night to clarify some the questions around the valuations of the City of Fremantle owned properties. The Fremantle Society has misleadingly being pushing the line that: “Fremantle Council was selling $50 million worth of assets for $29 million…at well below market prices.” It is hard to work out how they arrived at this inflated figure but looking at their public presentation last week it looks as though they mistakenly assumed the sale of the Newman Court, the Civic Triangle and they assumed that the cinemas were a fully leased asset. None of this is true and Sirona is paying FULL market value for our properties. My frustration around this is that there have been multiple offers to meet with the Fremantle Society and go through the detail of the agreement but this has not been taken up. I guess it is harder to put out a scare campaign if you have all the information in front of you.
The good news is that we heard last night is that the Dept of Finance decision of State Government office commitments is imminent. The final stage is that this now has to go through the Economic Review Committee and Cabinet before their recommendation is made public. While we do not know if Kings Square will be the winner of this competitive process, what we do know is that by renewing the agreement we can honestly say that we gave it our best shot.