Commercial real estate agency Metier has scored another plum government job, this time to handle retail leasing for the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority at Midland’s Railway Workshops.
The deal is the fourth tie-up in recent years between the MRA and Metier, with the working relationship beginning in 2010 when the agency was appointed to lease a series of heritage shops on William Street in Northbridge.
Metier is also coordinating retail leasing for the MRA at its major CBD rejuvenation project, Elizabeth Quay.
Earlier this year, the MRA appointed Metier as its selling agent and advisory services partner for planned tenancies at the Scarborough Beach Hub.
At Midland, the MRA went to market in recent months to find a partner for retail leasing at the historic Railway Workshops precinct, a campaign that generated significant interest among commercial agencies.
MRA chief executive Kieran Kinsella described the procurement processes for both Midland and Scarborough as independent and competitive.
“This thoughtful approach has acted as a catalyst for the regeneration of Northbridge transforming the area into a thriving home for creative industries, restaurants and galleries.”
Metier’s relationship with the state government agency came under considerable scrutiny late last year after it was revealed Transport Minister Dean Nalder had a financial interest in Metier Asia, which targets Chinese and Malaysian property markets, and operates separately to Metier Consulting.
Mr Nalder purchased a 4 per cent interest in Metier Asia prior to his appointment to state cabinet, and still holds those shares according to Australian Securities and Investments Commission documents.
In November last year, Mr Nalder denied there was a conflict of interest associated with his investment, while in early December, then-finance minister Peter Collier told parliament he understood that Metier and Metier Asia operated as separate companies.
On December 10, in response to questions by the standing committee on estimates and financial operations about the MRA’s relationship with Metier, Mr Kinsella said the agency was simply a real estate company engaged to handle retail leasing.
Nonetheless, the latest appointment has been questioned by some industry players, with one source, who spoke to Business News on condition of anonymity, questioning why Metier kept winning government jobs.
“I know he’s not the minister responsible for the decision making, but one of the ministers of this government is in business with Metier, who is winning all of the government business,” the source said.
Clarification: Since publishing the article earlier today, Business News was contacted by Metier chief executive Darryl Ashworth, who claimed Mr Nalder had sold his shares in December last year. A previous version of this article said Metier was undertaking retail leasing for the MRA at Kings Square. This was incorrect, as Metier's Kings Square deal is with developer Leighton Properties.