2017-10-25

Exclusive: Farley Blackman leaves Lunenburg for Australia

by Charles Mandel

  • <p>FILE PHOTO</p><p>Farley Blackman and wife Courtney. Blackman has left Lunenburg for a job in Australia, but it&#8217;s unclear as to what it means for his extensive holdings in the South Shore town.</p>

This story has been updated.

Farley Blackman has left Lunenburg for a job in Australia, but it's unclear as to what it means for his extensive holdings in the South Shore town.

The York Butter Factory (YBF), a start-up incubator in Melbourne, has recruited Blackman as its new chief executive, according to the newspaper, The Australian.

Blackman, a former executive with GE, Motorola, and BP, told The Australian, "The future of YBF lies in it being a national and global player and we want to be a space where start-ups and big corporations can innovate together."

The story went on to detail Blackman's background with the creation of "several boutique creative brands and philanthropic efforts,: but mentioned nothing of his investments in Lunenburg.

YBF chairman Mike Smith told the paper that it was a "major milestone" that they'd hired Blackman.

"We are excited that Farley has agreed to join as CEO and join the YBF board."

The publication Smart Company reported that Blackman and YBF co-founder Stuart Richardson have known each other since they studied together at Stanford University in the United States in 2009.

Blackman told the publication: "I guess we've been waiting for the right opportunity to do something together - the timing and everything else worked out well."

The Town of Lunenburg's Municipal Mini Assessment Roll Report for 2017 showed that Blackman owned four houses within the town. His company FARBLACK possessed another five commercial buildings and lots in Lunenburg.

Blackman began selling his holdings within the town as early as January 2017, according to the real estate website, Viewpoint. In January, he sold 202 Pelman Street for $335,000.

A string of other sales followed, including the sale of the building holding Blackman's Dis.cord Gallery in March 2017 for $684,500.

Mayor Rachel Bailey told LightHouseNOW that she believed ongoing development was still taking place with the properties Blackman owns.

"There's still work being done on the property he has bordering both Bluenose Drive and Montague Street, and it's looks lovely."

Beyond that, Bailey wasn't able to say what plans Blackman has for his properties in the town. "That's a question I can't answer. We have a lot of people who live here who don't own property here. I don't know what his plans are. Only he could tell you that."

Bailey noted that the property Blackman had set aside for a proposed cidery has been for sale all summer, and pointed out that he's constantly bought and sold properties within the town.

"He's a developer. He's a business person, and that's something he's been known to do in this area for a long time."

In August, the magazine publisher, restorer of numerous heritage buildings in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and art gallery owner announced on Facebook that "it is with profound regret that we have decided to cease further investment" in the South Shore town.

Blackman cited problems with Lunenburg Mayor Rachel Bailey and CAO Bea Renton, writing that they had "created and enabled a toxic and obstructive environment at Town Hall....."

What spurred the outburst from Blackman was a text that Bailey allegedly sent to Blackman while he was attending a folk festival show in the Lunenburg Opera House, a building that he bought and renovated, and which is currently listed for sale for $1.5 million.

At the time Bailey told LighthouseNOW that she sends messages to people all the time. "I think private messages are intended as that, private messages."

Blackman's announcement in August prompted the Town to reply with a Tweet of its own, saying it was sad to hear of the businessman's impeding departure.

A public rally followed as Lunenburgers showed their support for Blackman, and during which Bailey appeared and, according to CBC News apologized, offering: "I definitely made a huge misstep with that last week and I've apologized to Mr. Blackman for that and I apologize to the citizens that are here today."

Added the Mayor: "I'm deeply sorry that I have let you down in my role as mayor. We always strive for excellence and sometimes we fall short, and I fell short."

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