Piazza plan pulled

PLANS for a proposed family-style piazza for Northbridge have been shelved after Brock-well Group, including susidiary Western Plaza Hotel Corporation, bought the site for just under $6 million.

Northbridge Pavilion Syndicate accepted the offer from Western Plaza Hotel Corporation last week after the City of Perth refused the syndicate’s counter proposal of $5.75 mil-lion. The city’s last counter offer was $5 million.

The Pallas Hotel site, currently used as a sports bar and food hall, was to have been redeveloped into a public square with restaurants and shops if purchased by the City of Perth.

Western Plaza Hotels Corporation managing director David Williams said it was a “very conditional” agreement.

“We have a signed letter of acceptance pending due diligence and finance,” he said

It was too soon to say whether the site would be redeveloped, however.

The Pallas Hotel joins other properties in the Western Plaza Hotel Corporation’s stable, including The Elephant and Wheelbarrow, Northbridge and Fremantle Rosie O’Grady’s Irish Pubs, Wentworth Plaza Hotel and Raine Square

The City of Perth had been in extended negotiations with Northbridge Pavilion Syndicate since November last year.

Major syndicate shareholder McHenrys Holdings Pty Ltd chief executive Murray Mc-Henry said negotiations with Perth City had taken too long and had been complicated by the city wanting the syndicate to operate the site for a further 12 months.

“It is always awkward to tell a buyer that there is another offer pending,” Mr McHenry said.

“It was not the preferable option for us, we were not happy with operating the business to closure.

“The advantage of the other offer is that the syndicate takes over the property in 30 days.

“The city took too long, and bad luck.”

City of Perth chief executive Frank Edwards said the city had not been aware of the other offer.

But Mr Edwards said if $6 million could be attained for a building that the city was going to bulldoze and turn into a public square it was a significant vote of confidence in the Northbridge precinct.

“The city would have preferred to develop the site into a public square but the purchase is a significant vote of confidence in Northbridge and in the continuing future development of Perth’s premier adult entertainment centre.”

Mr Edwards could not comment on the extended length of negotiations over the site.

Councillor Bert Tudori said certain councillors had not want-ed the site even if it had been half the price.

“It would have been a beautiful piazza that would of really kicked Northbridge along and made it a place for families to come to,” Mr Tudori said.

Northbridge businessman Carl Torre said council had shown its lack of vision by not paying extra for a development that would have injected a new feeling and flavour into North-bridge. He suggested the city should still pursue the purchase of the site.

Mr Torre said if the railway was sunk in the future, King and Lake Street would be the best street in the CBD and the proposed piazza would have been an ideal facility for cultural events and would attract families.

“To pass a motion 7/1 then to wiffle waffle for so long, it is no wonder they have lost the opportunity,” he said.

“It was the best site in the whole of Northbridge.”

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