Freo's View





The City of Fremantle has released images of what the new library in the new civic centre at the Townhall will look like.

If al goes to plan the civic centre will open late next year when the entire Kings Square Project should be completed.

The Kerry Hill architects design will bring some class to Freo’s city centre.

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on April 18, 2018


The 38.9 metre high proposal for the development of the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre site by Silverleaf Investments was this morning unanimously rejected by the five members of the South West Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP.

The Fremantle Society had brought the big guns with architects Ken Adams, Ian Molyneux and Sasha Ivanovich all stating that the development was inappropriate for the location and the design was not of exceptionally high standards to allow additional discretionary height.

Silverleaf’s Gerard O’Brien expressed his frustration and angrily said that he was gutted that the development might not go ahead after spending so much time and over $ 2 million dollars on it already.

“I have been misled all the way” O’Brien thundered, and that it was hard to stomach for a small business. “What do we expect Fremantle to be? What does the public want? We wanted to create something for Fremantle!”

There was a lot of talk that the building should relate to its context and that the scale did negatively impact on the heritage surroundings. Fremantle is globally a unique place!

The design of the proposal was considered to be at best very ordinary, according to architect Ken Adams and that it poorly related to the streetscape.

Former Perth City architect Craig Smith sent his assessment that the applicants had addressed all the issues brought up by the Fremantle City Design Advisory Committee. While the DAC suddenly wanted the hotel tower to be set back there were no setbacks required in the planning scheme. Smith believes there is no rational reason to set back the hotel from Queen Street.

DAC chair Geoffrey London said the decision of exceptional design was made by the collective judgment of an expert group of people, but one of the JDAP panel members said he believed there was a high degree of subjectivity.

There was short adjournment for CoF planning staff to give additional confidential information to the JDAP panel members, so no idea what that was all about as it did not change anything.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton said that the vision behind controversial Planning Scheme Amendment 49 was to give developers the option of getting more height allowance as long as they offered superior standard design. I don’t want to relax that requirement, she said.

One of the JDAP members rightly stated that the East CBD part of the city was very run down and that investment in that area was crucial for Fremantle’s development. Maybe there was too much concern about the design quality. “Who is going to invest in this type of scale when the process is so intimidating?”


While I agree that the building design is definitely not exceptional I still believe this is a loss for Fremantle. If Silverleaf Investments pulls out of this development Fremantle will end up with the very ugly and mediocre shopping centre site for many years to come and that is a disaster for the rejuvenation plans for the inner city.

There is little guarantee that the Hilton Doubletree development will happen, so then all we might get is the eight-storey Little Lane development next to Target.

I really hope Gerard O’Brien will not chuck all his efforts in the bin and walk away from his plans to develop the site, and that he will give it one more good try to get the height he believes he commercially needs and Fremantle gets the iconic landmark building it wants there. PLEASE!!

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on April 18, 2018


synagogue 1

The former Fremantle Synagogue on the corner of South Terrace and Parry Street is up for sale.

The present owner wanted to develop it at the back for short-term tourist accommodation but heritage issues stopped the development that has been dormant for over a year.

The site will be a great asset with the planned Fremantle Oval development plans the City of Fremantle has that will activate that area of the inner city.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, lifestyle, living, Uncategorized by freoview on April 18, 2018




It is disappointing but not a surprise that the World of Renovation shop by the Million Dollar Makeovers renovation experts in Fremantle’s High Street has closed down.

The business was ostentatious and pretentious, and three of the businesses of owner Sasha deBretton have gone into liquidation, according to the West Australia today.

The quite lovely cafe at the back already closed sometime in January.

Roel Loopers




The proposal by Silverleaf Investments for the development of the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre site will come before the state’s South West Joint Development Assessment Panel tomorrow morning at 10 am at the temporary council chambers at Fremantle Oval.

Fremantle Council have recommended to reject the proposal because the proposed additional discretionary height conditions are not met to give the proposal the excellent design rating that is required to be granted extra height.

I hope a compromise can be reached between the City of Fremantle and Silverleaf Investments as the site is of great importance for the rejuvenation of the CBD and Fremantle’s attempt at economic recovery.

The present building is ugly and boring and offers a provincial low-key shopping experience, so a new development, especially with a hotel, would be very good.

We should also not forget that the developers could simply drop their request for additional discretionary height and build a very mediocre building that is within the PSA 49 rules, so the City and Silverleaf need to try to work together to get an exceptional iconic building.

Roel Loopers





I received these artist’s impressions of the proposed new slim tower behind the Royal George hotel in East Fremantle from developers Saracen Properties.

The developers plan to fully renovate the beautiful heritage listed Royal George for tourist accommodation, a gin distillery, bar, restaurants, etc.

They also want to build a 15 storey elliptical spike set on a four storey podium along Duke Street, and create a community square between the former Brush Factory building and the Royal George.

The architect for the project is highly-regarded Michael Patroni of the Fremantle spaceagency.

Roel Loopers






The development proposal by Saracen Properties for the Royal George hotel site in East Fremantle is as exciting as it will be controversial.

The plans for the restoration of the gorgeous heritage building are great and would see the old building, that has been vacant for far too many years, be brought back to life and activation.

The entire building would be restored, including the massive and very high cellars below, that would house a gin distillery or winemaking facility.

On Thursday afternoon Joel Saracen took me on a tour inside the building while our great Freo architect Michael Patroni of the High Street Spaceagency explained his thinking behind the concept.

The Royal George would house a cafe, restaurant, bar, function and community meeting rooms and tourist accommodation, while they would also develop a new public realm between the former Brush Factory building and the Royal George.

On the flip side all the expensive heritage restoration needs to be paid for and the proposal is for a 19 storey slim elliptical spike that is set back from a so called podium in Duke Street. It would house 40 large apartments. The building would have ‘fins’ to make it visually more attractive and would become an iconic landmark pointing to the Fremantle area.

The height along Duke Street would be similar to the height of the Brush Factorey and Royal George.

Parking for residents would be provided for inside the building with a car stacker, but does not include parking for the restaurant and bar patrons.

I know height is always going to be an issue in Fremantle, but I believe that a really well designed slim and very high building could be accommodated in that location. No doubt many locals will disagree with me.

There is a very nice brochure that explains most things but I am flabbergasted by the ‘clever’ PR of explaining why a taller building is better than a shorter and wider building, and showing the ugly shorter box, but not actually showing the proposed 19-storey slim tower. The cynical public will no doubt ask what the developers are trying to hide by not showing the tower.

The decision making authority will be the WA State Development Assessment Panel, not East Fremantle Council.

Roel Loopers

PS: I was promised on Thursday that the developers would email me some images, but still have not received any at 10 am on Saturday so just copied some from the brochure. I publish a daily blog not a quarterly magazine. :>)






The  former MYER building at Fremantle’s Kings Square is a mere skeleton now that the part demolition is at an advanced stage with large sections of the Queen Street facade now also removed.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on April 13, 2018


hero shot


What an absolute delight it was this Friday morning to see the Mediterranean Shipping Company-MSC reinstalling the cupola on top of the heritage building on the corner of Cliff and Philimore streets.

The company has to be thanked and applauded for spending a lot of money on doing that important bit extra.  They should be an example and inspiration for other property owners of heritage buildings in Fremantle’s West End and elsewhere to reinstall some of the former features on buildings.

Very well done MSC and a big thank you from the Fremantle community!

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of cockburn, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on April 12, 2018


Energy Museum 2

Energy Museum


My blog post yesterday that the sale of the former Fremantle Energy Museum building means the end of the M/27 residential development by the MATCH Groups was not correct, so I copy their media release below for your info:

The completed restoration works by M/Group of the original S.E.C Building and former Western Power’s Energy Museum at the Fremantle Substation site in Parry Street, is another example of how M/Group has worked effectively with the City of Fremantle and State Heritage Council to support the integration of valuable heritage fabric into contemporary urban living.

The property, which sits adjacent to a boutique Match apartment development that overlooks parkland at its rear, has been released for sale under an Expression of Interest (EOI) campaign; opening the door for a range of potential uses.

Mr Lloyd Clark, Managing Director of M/Group, said the apartments on this site are already 35% sold, and the renewed heritage building will be on a separate green title. He said the opportunity to build a business on this site comes with inherent character and is surrounded by an established and new residential community.

“The planned apartment building, M/27 by Match, will be home to 40 boutique apartments and is due to commence construction in late 2018,” he said.

“The opportunity to take ownership of the building certainly opens the door for a ‘Bread in Common’ type food and beverage venue, although could as easily be adapted for boutique office space. The purpose of our work on this site is to, perhaps ironically, create new energy. It is a great opportunity for a potential proprietor in a great location.”

Match, which is part of M/Group, is the company behind the highly celebrated Heirloom by Match heritage renewal and is currently in the construction phase of the M/28 by Match boutique apartments in South Terrace.

The company prides itself on introducing design-focused apartment product that enhances the streetscape and activates living space in strategic locations.

The heritage works on the heritage building, undertaken by M/Group’s building division M/Construction, have included the restoration of existing brickwork, refurbishment of metal window frames and the restoration of existing large timber sliding doors.

The sale of the building is being managed by Knight Frank and more information can be obtained by contacting James Baker on 0418 912 007.

For more information on the limited number of parkside M/27 by Match apartments, visit or contact 0432 660 066.

Roel Loopers

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