Freo's View



Kings Square


Only a handful of local traders turned up yesterday for an update about the building progress of the Kings Square Redevelopment Project.

These updates at the Federal Hotel have been regular events to keep affected traders in the loop.

Those who came heard form builders Pindan and Probuild, Sirona Capital and City of Fremantle Director Infrastructure and Project Delivery Graham Tattersall that things are going very well and to schedule.

Completion of our Civic Centre community facility will be in July 2020, so a construction period of 18 months. Excavation will start in two weeks for the lower level and the main structure will be up before Christmas this year, so that will give us all a much better idea of what we can expect and how it works in the space.

Sirona is on the home straight with their two buildings and they are estimated to be completed by August/September this year. The paving of Newman Court on the Sirona side will be done in September and the Civic Centre half toward completion of that building.

Queen Street should be back to normal in July when the hoarding there comes down, so that will make traffic flow a bit easier.

The Newman Court thoroughfare between William Street and Queen Street will be open before Christmas, so that is good news as well. Scaffolding around the carpark will be removed in July.

Roel Loopers










James England, the WA State Manager of the Australian Steel Institute, claims that $ 3.5 million worth of steel needed for the construction of the new Fremantle Civic Centre will be imported from overseas by Pindan Constructions.

England says that the steel industry in Western Australia indirectly and directly employs 10,000 people.

The State Government has been rather vocal on wanting to protect WA jobs and even changed the contract for the Matagarup footbridge at Burswood, so that it would be constructed by WA factories, so why does the Freo project import overseas steel? What is the price difference?

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. :>)




Posted in architecture, building, development, fremantle by freoview on January 18, 2017



Delighted to see the Heirloom by Match residential development of the historic former Dalgety Woolstores at Fremantle’s Queen Victoria Street. It was the first time in years this morning that there was no scaffolding around it.

What a beautiful iconic entry statement to our city it is!

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, building, city of fremantle, development by freoview on December 15, 2016


The WGV Baugruppen demonstration project at the former Kim Beazley School site in White Gum Valley is well underway.

The innovative sustainable medium density residential site in Fremantle will be using renewable green energy and aims to create an affordable community.

I took a couple of photos there on Wednesday to show a bit of the progress of the development.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, building, city of fremantle, development by freoview on November 7, 2016


A WA Joint Development Assessment Panel this morning rejected the application by the Yolk Property Group for a very boring eight-storey apartment development at 52 Adelaide Street, Fremantle, on the former Spotlight site.

The panel of five member which included Councillors Rachel Pemberton and Andrew Sullivan rejected the proposal by 4-1. Surprisingly only Councillor Sullivan believed the project should be approved and that is very disappointing.

The Yolk group can now apply for a ruling of the State Administrative Tribunal, so we’ll know the outcome of that in a few months, if they take that road.

For me the eight-storey height in that location was not a big issue although I believe it should be capped at seven storey along Adelaide Street, but the proposed building was ugly and mediocre and not at all sympathetic to the unique Freo character.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, building, city of fremantle, development by freoview on October 26, 2016



I had another look at the five-storey proposal for 18-22 Adelaide Street at Fremantle’s Kings Square at yesterday’s information session and walked out appalled at the laziness of the architects who have not even tried to show respect for the surrounding heritage.

They propose set-back square boxes above the old two-storey facade, when a tiny design change could have created more suitable vertical lines and make it into a building that shows at least a little bit of sympathy and reference to Fremantle’s character and heritage.

Five storeys is of course far too high as the building should not be higher than the facade of the beautiful heritage building to the west of it.


I also had a walk around the almost completed controversial Atwell Arcade development and believe it blends in sufficiently as it has a softness about it and angles away from the High Street mall.

Fremantle is in a challenging time where a lot of development is happening and more applications for very substantial and high buildings are in the pipeline, so we need to find a compromise on what is acceptable for our city and viable for developers, but ugly, boring and mediocre is not on, and neither is inappropriate height in certain locations. If developers need more height they will have to move to the east of the CBD, not in the centre, and definitely not in the West End either.



Posted in building, fremantle, photography, tourism by freoview on October 22, 2016


Great facade of a building in Henry Street, Fremantle. How easy it is to fall in love with Freo!

Roel Loopers


Posted in building, development, fremantle by freoview on October 4, 2016


Workers having a smoko on the YOLK Property group residential building site on the corner of Pakenham and Bannister streets yesterday. The building is near completion so more people living in the inner city of Fremantle soon.

Roel Loopers



Everyone who regularly reads this Freo’s View blog knows that I have been vigorously scrutinising what is happening at Fremantle Council for many years and that I have been outraged at times with my criticism when things are not done properly or not done at all, but I sometimes shake my head when I read the ridiculous negativity on social media about our Council and Elected Members.

According to some comments Freo Council is following a Greens doctrine and according to those critics the Greens are socialists. However, Fremantle Council is strongly supportive of the capitalist idea of investment and development in our city, so that is not very socialist. How can that specific criticism of Council make sense to anyone?

Those same critics also say Fremantle should be more supportive of its retailers. It is doing that by encouraging residential, office and tourist development, but those who say Council is not doing enough to support our retailers are also against higher density and infill. To be financially successful and sustainable retail needs high footfall and that means many more people living and working in the CBD and visiting it.

No new retailers, especially major ones, will open shop in Fremantle unless they know that the numbers will add up and that means many more people walking the streets of the CBD seven days a week and not just on weekends.

People complain about Freo City not doing enough and demand better and more services and want to get more free parking and reduced parking fees, without supporting a substantial increase in residents and offices. They also do not want to pay higher rates or for the city to sell off assets, so how is the City going to pay for services that are more expensive every year when it does not create more income?

I believe the community should be part of the solutions and work closer with council, and I do realise it takes two to tango. We need more respectful communication from both sides and Elected Members not ignoring community input. We need better transparency and accountability, but we also need a community that stops the often silly conspiracy attacks on Council. It is all about respect and to stop the political point scoring that too often happens. Fremantle is a very good city that can become a whole lot better when we work together on improving it.

Development is essential to make Freo grow and prosper but it needs to be very good development that reflects on the character of our city. It can be done, as I have been shown at the Elders building in Cliff Street where the Mediterranean Shipping Company will move into later this year.

North Fremantle architect Murray Slavin took me around this morning and it is a stunning new building full of natural light, while the former Elders building has been restored to its old glory. It is a tranquil environment to work in and looks great from street level as well.

It will also bring 160 new office workers to the West End and that will no doubt be good for local cafes and retailers.

For Fremantle to move forward it will need to grow. The status quo is not sustainable and that’s why I believe the ‘socialist’ building boom will be good for Freo in the long run.

Roel Loopers

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