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Fairmont backs away from Palm School deal

Thursday, July 18, 2019 by Jack Craver

Douglas Manchester, owner of the Fairmont Hotel, may not be interested in buying the Palm School property after all. Manchester told the Austin American-Statesman Wednesday that a news release announcing his interest in developing the county-owned property was sent without his permission. The attorney who sent the press release, state Rep. Sheryl Cole, told the Statesman she had been fired as a result. The news release stated that Manchester would seek to develop the property surrounding the historic school building but would donate $5 million to preserve the building as a cultural center. The proposal quickly drew rebukes from some of the advocates for preserving Palm School, who said the entire property, not just the building, should remain a public space. Manchester told the Statesman the news release left the impression that “our conversations were much further along than they were.” He added that he was only interested in a deal that would be able to attract public support and that he would not be moving forward with any “unsolicited” offers to the county.

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