The new owner of the old Subiaco Pavilion Markets site, Blackburne Property Group managing director Paul Blackburne, has warned the City of Subiaco that he has no intention of engaging in a decade-long planning struggle like the previous owner.

“We are genuinely hoping to move fairly fast,” Mr Blackburne said.

He said his company hoped to create a world-class mixed-use development unlike anything seen in Perth.

Mr Blackburne, speaking at an Urban Development Institute of Australia WA lunch yesterday, said the Subiaco he lived in when he was in his 20s was a vibrant, thriving place but it was killed off by a vocal minority over the past 10 to 15 years.

“We would hope to start construction in a year or two,” Mr Blackburne said.

“However, that will depend on how easy it is.

“If it’s too difficult, the investment just walks. It (the markets) could end up with a foreign owner who just sits on the site for another 10 years and that really is a possibility for that site. We are
going to give it a good crack.”

He said he was excited about his company’s $25 million investment and wanted to work with a progressive council on a development with a market and laneway feel on the ground “and something like 500 residents living up the top”.

The site is in a prime spot on the corner of Rokeby and Roberts roads, opposite Subiaco train station.

Its former owner, Victorian businessman Andrew Abercrombie, paid more than $35 million in 2007 but by the time his dispute with the council had been resolved, the market was in freefall.

His attempts to sell were frustrated by developers’ fears about dealing with a hostile council.

Subiaco mayor Penny Taylor, who was on a panel with Mr Blackburne yesterday, reiterated her mantra that Subiaco was open for business, adding many residents wanted business and investment supported.

“And we want developers who have bought land in Subiaco to develop it,” Ms Taylor said to a spontaneous round of applause.

“We are pleased the Subi Pavilion Markets site has sold,” she said, adding the council wanted quality development.