FREMANTLE council’s controversial plan to buy into a struggling development is again on hold.
The council was expected to consider buying five apartments at Match’s Heirloom development at its Wednesday meeting, but the developer requested at the last minute that the council withdraw the item.
The agenda made it clear the council’s main aim was to help the developer reach a pre-sales target so it could secure finance. That had local bloggers comparing the deal to WA Inc, the 1980s wheeling and dealing between government and business that ruined Brian Burke’s once glittering reputation.
Mayor Brad Pettitt told the chamber Match was confident it had found enough interest on the open market to reach its targets without the council stepping in.
He later told the Herald the council had insisted on a generous discount for its participation, so the developer would be much happier selling to punters ready to pay full price.
Dr Pettitt was sorry the deal wasn’t going ahead as the discount meant the council was getting a good deal.
The council agenda warned however the sale might have been seen as a precedent for other developers, but Dr Pettitt countered by saying it was a heritage building and the council’s willingness to be involved acknowledged the difficulties developers faced in returning such buildings to use.
At the council meeting, he said the developer could always come back to the council if its negotiations proved fruitless.