Packer mate and Fairfax chairman
Ron Walker might not have been joking
late last year when he expressed some surprise that the hired help weren’t
housed as palatially as the senior management and directors.

That Ron had been a Fairfax director
for nearly three years and chairman for a similar number of months before he
even bothered to peak at the editorial floors probably says something about the
Fairfax board and its lack of feeling for what is still the company’s main
game – journalism.

In any event, the SMH‘s Xchange column this morning confirms that real estate type Ron is looking for new Sydney premises
despite Fairfax having another 11 years to run on its lease of nine floors in Darling Park on the CBD’s western edge.

Property experts say the group has been looking at new
office space since before Christmas and, given the lack of quality space in the
CBD, it would not be hard to find a new tenant to take over the existing lease.

It is understood Multiplex and GPT are aware of Mr
Walker’s decision to scour the market.

Property trust analysts have suggested suitable space.
The “campus style” feel which Mr Walker says he prefers could be
found at the new Mirvac site at Pyrmont, an area becoming known as a media hub.

Given the on-going gutting of the SMH,
somehow one suspects chairman Ron might be more interested in obtaining cheaper
rent than improving the working class’ comfort. And given the view of CEO
Captain Kirk that there’s no correlation between the number of journalists and
the quality of a newspaper, they probably won’t be needing so much space
anyway.

Peter Fray

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