PROPERTY developer Gerard O’Brien wants to house a WA government department in a redeveloped Woolstores shopping centre.
The Herald understands Mr O’Brien’s company Silverleaf Investments submitted an expression of interest to the WA finance department after it advertised in early August for 20,000sqm of office space in Fremantle.
His bid will go head-to-head with Fremantle council’s partner in the $220m Kings Square redevelopment, Sirona Capital, the only other organisation to put in a submission.
Sirona has struggled to attract a retail anchor for the old Myer building and needs to secure office tenants to kickstart its ambitious redevelopment, which is now almost two years behind schedule.
The department looking to move is believed to be Housing, currently spread across four buildings in the Perth CBD, which wants to amalgamate.
Media-shy Mr O’Brien purchased the Woolstores building for about $50 million in 2014 and, according to the council, is on the verge of submitting a development application. The site was controversially approved for up to 10 storeys (11 according to critics) during 2012 amendments to the city planning scheme.
Mr O’Brien owns a number of properties in the city, including the Target and bank buildings across the road from the Woolstores, and he’s redeveloping Atwell Arcade.
Fremantle Ports didn’t submit an application, as many were predicting, but spokesperson Jeanette Murray confirmed it was still seeking to house a WA government department.
by STEVE GRANT