Coles near end of lease

WOOLSTORES owner Gerard O’Brien says he is 100 per cent confident Coles will stay at the Fremantle shopping centre, despite the supermarket giant failing to officially commit with only months left on their lease.

Mr O’Brien, who owns Silverleaf Investments, says he has a verbal agreement from Coles that they will stay.

“It is a gentleman’s agreement built upon a long standing working relationship,” he says.

But when the Chook asked the supermarket directly if they were renewing their lease, they were less dogmatic.

“Coles is committed to serving the local community at its store at Fremantle and hopes to renew its lease when the current term expires,” a spokesperson says.

Coles staying in Fremantle could all hinge on the redevelopment of the rundown Woolstores: Mr O’Brien says he is on the verge of submitting a development application to Fremantle council to redevelop the ageing Cantonment Street shopping centre.

For the last year he has been working with the city’s design advisory committee to fine tune the DA, ensuring that it complies and has the best chance of approval when it comes before council for the vote.

“All I will say is that it looks fantastic, but I’m not going to go into details on costs and scale until the DA is lodged,” he says.

“I don’t want to end up in the Kings Square scenario where we have a running commentary every week on what might or might not happen.

“I want to wait until things are finalised.”

Woolworths shut its Adelaide Street store in Fremantle in May and if Coles absconded it would leave the city without a major supermarket.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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