11/10/2005 - 22:00

Council moves on Freo markets deal

11/10/2005 - 22:00

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Tourism icon The Fremantle Markets could receive a makeover if a proposal before the site’s owner, City of Fremantle, to provide the current lessee with a new 21-year lease worth at least $1 million gets the go ahead.

Council moves on Freo markets deal

Tourism icon The Fremantle Markets could receive a makeover if a proposal before the site’s owner, City of Fremantle, to provide the current lessee with a new 21-year lease worth at least $1 million gets the go ahead.

The city has released a draft business plan proposing the National Trust-listed markets be let to a business linked to the interests who have held the lease since 1975.

If council approves the proposal, Fremantle Markets Pty Ltd director John Murdoch’s link with the lease  management will surpass 50 years, to expire in 2026.

City of Fremantle corporate services director, Glen Dougall, said the market’s lease was not going to tender.

“The lessee has five years to go on the current lease but the stallholders want to see upgrade works happen sooner rather than later,” Mr Dougall said.

“For this to happen, the lessee obviously wanted an undertaking it would get a return for expenditure on these works, which is why the 21-year lease proposal was put forward.”

Under the terms of the Local Government Act the proposal to “dispose” of a property with a sale value of more than $1 million is classified as a major land transaction requiring the city prepare a business plan and seek public comment.

According to the draft business plan released by the City of Fremantle, Mr Murdoch would be required to undertake improvement work to the building including installation of exhaust vents to improve air-flow and cooling during the summer months, application of reflective paint on the roof to assist with heat resistance, and an upgrade of the power transformer to provide a satisfactory power supply to stallholders.

Work will also be undertaken on the exterior of the building to improve signage, although this will not happen until a development application has been lodged and approved by council to ensure conformity to heritage requirements.

The draft business plan outlines that the proceeds from the lease would be placed into the council’s general revenue and the annual rental being applied to the lease would be reduced by the cost of capital improvements by equal instalments over the life of the lease agreement.

“The draft lease proposes that the consideration of $380,000 per year be applied as rent … the proposed lease will also include provision to upgrade the building itself to the value of approximately $250,000,” the draft business plan says.

The business plan is open for public comment until November 17.

More than 150 stalls are housed in the building on a site, which was first established in 1897. The land has an approximate area of 4891 square metres and is surrounded by South Terrace, Henderson Street and Parry Street.

Mr Murdoch could not be contacted for comment.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show there are two John Murdochs linked to companies Fremantle Markets Pty Ltd and Damman Pty Ltd, which has an interest in the current lease. Both men have addresses in Dalkeith.

There is also a John Murdoch with a different Dalkeith address listed as a shareholder of Fairway Investments Ltd, the owner of Broadway Fair Ltd, which has $8 million in land holdings and appears to be the owner of the Nedlands shopping centre with the same name.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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