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Boyd deal falls over… again!

13 Jul 2017

Boyd deal falls over… again! Image

By Sean Car

For a second time in just over a year, the City of Melbourne has torn up its commercial contract for the redevelopment of the Boyd School site with its preferred developer.

The council issued a statement on June 30 stating that, after “careful consideration”, it had decided not to proceed with the sale and redevelopment of the land at 132 Kavanagh St to Cairo Melbourne Pty Ltd.

It did state, however, that the project’s latest setback would not delay the design and construction of the new Boyd Park.

In May last year, council formally announced that it had decided not to proceed with its original plans with the developer, which was previously operating the project under the name Mackie.

Mackie first entered into a commercial agreement with the City of Melbourne back in 2012.

While council allocated $200,000 in last year’s budget for marketing and legal fees associated with putting the site back on the open market, it elected to re-enter a contract with the developer in September.

News later emerged in November that Mackie/Cairo’s finances had been tied up with the same Filipino company, Goshen Capital Resources, which was linked with former Family First senator Bob Day’s bankruptcy.

Despite real concerns surrounding the developer’s financial credibility, the City of Melbourne proceeded with Cairo under a renewed contract, which resulted in a slightly larger park.

At the time, former Cr Stephen Mayne told Southbank Local News the developer had to “jump through a lot of hoops” in order to convince council it could fulfill its end of the new contract.

Asked whether its measures were comprehensive enough in hindsight, a council spokesperson said the sale did not proceed because “relevant documentation wasn’t signed”.

Cairo Melbourne Pty Ltd director Oliver Mackie did not respond to Southbank Local News when contacted for comment.

The council spokesperson said that, while it would start a new tender process for the sale of the site later this year, its priority was to construct the new park.

“This will not delay the design and construction of the new Boyd Park,” the spokesperson said.

“Our priority is to get a new park up and running as soon as possible and $1.7 million has been committed towards building the new park in our 2017-18 budget.”

The spokesperson said council would proceed with the park design based on community feedback received in 2014, with a concept design to be released to the public in September. Southbank Residents’ Association (SRA) president Tony Penna said, while the news of failed deal came as no great surprise, he hoped council would use the opportunity to provide more open space for the community.

“During the public submission process, we advised council that we were suspicious of the developer’s ability to finance the project,” he said. “It is comforting to know the long-awaited Boyd Park will commence this financial year.”

“However, there is still an opportunity for this Council to act in the interest of the community and provide more open space to assist with getting Southbank to the Council’s own 20 sqm per resident threshold, which currently falls well short at 3.5 sqm per resident.”

“Southbank doesn’t need another high-rise development, let alone one being built on Council owned land.”

Council will soon apply for a permit to demolish the existing school building at the rear of the Boyd Community Hub, which will make way for the new park.

An updated design brief for the residential and commercial development, which will include a requirement to provide 40 affordable residential apartments, will be released to the market later this year.

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