THREE STATE AGENCIES MOVE TO FREMANTLE
GODOT FINALLY ARRIVED AT KINGS SQUARE!
Premier Colin Barnett this morning announced that 1,500 public servants will relocate to Fremantle and that the Housing and Corrective Services departments will have their new headquarters in Fremantle, as well as the Department of Transport.
The Premier said it was seen as good to have several agencies sharing the two Kings Square buildings and that this will be a major boost for retail after Fremantle has languished for a long time.
The State Government will save $ 53 million over 15 years with the relocation of the departments which are part of the government’s plans for decentralisation of the public sector. This is the biggest decentralisation by the government, Colin Barnett said..
Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly said he was thrilled with the support the government has shown for the Kings Square development and that Sirona will invest a quarter of a billion dollars into the project. It will be the catalyst to the start of a seven-day a week economy in Fremantle.
The project will be a vast improvement to the public realm with new retail and entertainment and 20,000 sqm of office space. Demolition will start in April/May next year and building will commence soon after with retailers moving in by late 2019. McNeilly said that projects of this complexity can be very time consuming.
A delighted Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said that this was probably the most significant day in Fremantle since the America’s Cup in the mid 1980s and a real catalyst for a wave of investment in Fremantle.
This is a vote of confidence in Fremantle by the government and will give the city a proper heart. It is a real milestone into the future, the Mayor told the media and the large group of Councillors and City staff.
For years I have vented my frustration about the lack of progress of the Kings Square development and compared it with the Samuel Becket play Waiting for Godot, so I am delighted to eat my words and am looking forward to the development that should make a significant difference to Fremantle’s economic recovery.
I am not a financial experts at all, and while I respect the opinion of professional auditor Craig Ross and financial expert Martin Lee who have warned against the financial implications for the City of Fremantle and its ratepayers, I also need to respect the opinion of the expert consultants employed by the City of Fremantle who have a different opinion. I cannot judge who is right or wrong on this.
What price are we willing to pay to invest in the future I ask myself and only the future will tell us that.
I now hope Sirona Capital and the CoF will agree to make fully public the financial and business details as commercial confidentiality surely no longer applies.
I am truly delighted and needed a boost after the Trump disaster yesterday, so let’s get out the bubblies and celebrate Fremantle’s bright future!