Future of car park remains undetermined

‘We can confirm we are not looking at the site,’ a Woolworths spokeswoman said.

However, pressed if the national chain could consider the car park in the future, she said Woolworths was always ‘looking for opportunities’ and it would ‘never say never’.

The council is currently developing a business plan to sell the car park, which Cr Rob Rowell suggested at a May committee the supermarket chain could be interested in purchasing.

Town centre business operators have subsequently speculated Woolworths could use the site for a branch of the discount liquor outlet Dan Murphy’s, owned by subsidiary Australian Liquor Holdings (ALH).

However, an ALH spokesman appeared to rule out a development.

‘ALH are not interested in the site,’ he said.

Last week, Cr Rowell said he ‘floated’ the idea of Woolworths buying the car park because of his previous experience of supermarket chains, and he thought Coles would not be interested because it had Claremont and Mosman Park stores.

‘I suggested Woolworths because Coles have stymied them at every move at The Grove Shopping Centre in Peppermint Grove,’ he said. Cr Rowell said he was concerned the car park’s mooted $1.4 million sale was undervalued after the site was bought by the council with cash-in-lieu payments for unbuilt car spaces at other shops including the adjacent Cottesloe Village.

In 2010, Claremont Council spent $11 million buying the 2389sq m former Claremont Fresh site on Stirling Highway to beat a bid from Woolworths. Chairman of business lobby ProCott, Philip Angers, who is also a Cottesloe councillor, said parking shortages and possible issues with the type of shopper attracted to a cheap liquor outlet could affect any proposal for a discount outlet at the car park site.

Chief executive Carl Askew said the council would wait to consider any feedback from advertising for the business plan, and any approach from a developer about the site would be confidential until an offer or tender was accepted.

– Public comment on the business plan closes on July 21, while the ProCott AGM is at the Albion Hotel on June 11 from 6pm.