FORMER Fremantle mayor Peter Tagliaferri has broken cover to declare Fremantle council’s plans for Kings Square are “crazy, seriously” and a “disaster waiting to happen”.
Now a farmer down south, Mr Tagliaferri reveals he’d been asked by his successor, Brad Pettitt, and deputy mayor Josh Wilson to look over the square’s business plan as it was being prepared.
“I told them that the risk, which they’d judged as medium, was still too high, and they should just sell the site at a discount, take the money and run,” the long-time businessman told the Herald.
He says the port city council has always fallen into the trap of thinking it can work with developers as a partner—like it did with Queensgate—but it keeps getting burnt because “developers and special venture capital companies have an objective that’s too far apart from the council”.
Mr Tagliaferri says he’d also questioned the financial shortfall of the project and believes revenue projections are far too optimistic.
“The commercial market has been taking a hammering, particularly in Fremantle, and vacancies are high,” he notes.
“I would not be going down this path. It’s crazy, seriously.”
Mr Taglaferri says the council’s ambitious plan to attract developers by offering up to 10 storeys in the East End was so generous it’s backfired.
“Six storeys is the maximum for most developers, then you need a specialised developer, and they usually build a lot bigger.
“A lot of the developers, particularly the locals, are not at that level, you just have to look at Perth where you’ve got Pindan, Multiplex and companies like that. If they’d gone for four to six storeys, most of it would have been built by now.”
by STEVE GRANT