Sunday, 6 July 2008

Adelaide Archdiocese's interesting land deal

The Weekend Australian report on an example of the Adelaide archdioceses' interesting entrepreneurialism, helped along by the State Government.

According to the Australian, the deal, done back in 2003, involved the State Government selling the Church land in the CBD without any tender process, for $5.87m, a price that appears to be substantially under the market price. The Church then used the land to build an office tower - and when it is opened, it will rent out 8 of the 10 floors to SA Water, netting the diocese $121m over 15 years (and more than double that if they extend a further ten years).

Part of the problem with the deal is the appearance of the thing - Mgr Cappo, the Archdiocese's Vicar-General is a 'non-voting' (does Cabinet ever vote?) member of the South Australian Cabinet, and heads the State's Social Inclusion Board.

The most scandalous aspect of the story though is surely the building itself - it towers over the Cathedral, making a statement about relative priorities that most would see as secularism, were it not being perpetrated by the Church itself.

Still, I guess the income stream means they won't have to sell up to pay any abuse claims, unlike the poor Anglicans down the road who have been forced to sell down their holdings in the CBD....

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