Freo's View

WILL CUSTOMS AND CENTRELINK LEAVE FREMANTLE?

Posted in city of fremantle, development by freoview on March 27, 2017

The proposal for development of the Customs House and Centrelink properties in Fremantle’s West End raises the very important question where staff would move to if development eventuates. Will they leave Fremantle and what would that mean for our city’s economy if hundreds of public servants pulled out of the city? Or might they move into the future Woolstores development by Silverleaf and stay in Freo?

The State Government and private sector need to do more to decentralise the workforce and move people away from the Perth CBD as freeway congestion is at an all-time high and public transport use down by 2.1 per cent, with thousands of people staying away from overcrowded trains and buses during peak hours.

Fremantle can ill-afford to lose people working in our city, so hopefully the Customs and Centrelink staff will be relocated here if development of their present premises happens.

Roel Loopers

RECORDING FREMANTLE’S HISTORY ESSENTIAL

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, history by freoview on March 26, 2017

 

With so much development going on and planned for Fremantle I wonder if the City has diligently and professionally been recording streetscapes in the CBD so that there are historic photographic records of what the  inner city looked like before the rejuvenating facelift it is receiving at the moment.

Adelaide, Queen Victoria, Cantonment, Beach streets and others in the area will have a totally new look in a few years from now and so will Kings Square and the Fremantle Oval precinct, so it is essential that good photos are taken, so that future generations will be able to compare old and new Freo.

It is a very important duty of government to record history so don’t neglect to do it City of Fremantle!

Roel Loopers

WEST END ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL ADVANTAGE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, heritage by freoview on March 24, 2017

Architect Carl Payne sent a comment to this blog about the article in the Fremantle Herald about yet another terrible development proposal for Fremantle’s West End. See the post below this one for it!

I believe Carls thoughts are very important so I am posting them here as well for those people who do not read the comments:

We really need to start thinking about what the West End of Fremantle is, in an Australian context.

It is a remarkably complete 19th Century urbanscape, which retains the essence of what this means. It’s a living museum; and this is important, because it is a functioning and workable collection of buildings that is rare in 21st century Australia.

Many overseas towns and cities can boast similar precincts; but few in Australia can. This is the first important point.

The second thing is that this is crucial because it has both economic and cultural advantages. The economic growth that Perth saw in the 60s; 70s; and 80s would have destroyed Fremantle’s West End if it had occurred here as it did in the State’s capital. We now have a chance to positively build on the magnificent streetscape we have inherited and – mostly – conserved. This can create significant economic advantages, because there is no doubt that Fremantle is now poised to grow its already significant Tourism marketplace.

But this is only part of the importance of the West End. It is also a cultural reminder for all of us who live here. It is a symbol of our past achievements. Cultures that demolish their past, weaken their future; they lose contact with their heritage, in both a physical and an emotional way. And adding a couple of floors to an old West End building destroys its integrity; it alters the streetscape; and it alters the skyline.

Look over Fremantle from the monument; or from the Town Hall; or from the Roundhouse. The roof-tops; and the old wall-parapet tops, are part of the heritage streetscape. They are what conservation is all about. We are talking about very fragile things here; connections; relationships; urban-scapes that are very easily lost.

DEVELOPMENT WOULD IRREVERSIBLY DESTROY WEST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, fremantle society by freoview on March 24, 2017

 

I don’t often agree nowadays with Fremantle Society President John Dowson but his comment in the Fremantle Herald today that the proposed five-storey development for Pakenham and Henry streets is ‘Insanity’ is spot on!

It would be absolute madness to approve these buildings which would irreversibly destroy the West End.

The proposed building on the Centrelink site  is evil in it’s absolute ugliness, and the beautiful facade of the Customs building on the corner of Henry and Phillimore streets would be destroyed if two storeys stuck out above it.

The problem will be that even if Fremantle Council rejects these inappropriate buildings we will be dependent on the whim of the pro-developers state agencies DAP and SAT and the new State Government need to do something about that very urgently.

The Fremantle community will not allow the destruction of our beautiful heritage West End that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to WA every year!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE SHOULD PENALISE DEVELOPMENT DELAYS

Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on March 22, 2017

The continuing delay of the development of the Hilton Doubletree hotel on the Fremantle Point Street carpark site and the delay of settlement of the Spicer site at Henderson Street raises questions about the contracts the City of Fremantle signs with developers.

It is nice to have a clause in the Hilton sales contract that stipulates the City can buy back the site if development does not happen within a certain period, but it is totally useless as Fremantle is not in a financial position to buy back the Point Street property, and anyway, what to do with it then?

The delay of the Kings Square project meant that valuable revenue from the Queensgate carpark was lost to the COF and the delay of settlement with Sirona Capital of the Spicer property also means that Fremantle will have to wait till they get paid for it, when the City’s coffers are very empty.

Would it not be better to include penalties for delays, let’s say $ 10,000 per week, as that would be a clear message that Fremantle wants and needs development now and not sometime down the track when the Hilton developers have built three other hotels in Perth first.

Money is a great incentive to get things done fast and buy-back clauses are unrealistic when the City of Fremantle does not have the money for it.

Roel Loopers

SPICER SITE DEVELOPMENT DELAY

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, local government by freoview on March 20, 2017

 

Sirona Capital has requested that the settlement with the City of Fremantle of the sale of the Spicer site on the corner of William and Henderson streets will be delayed for 12 months to May 9, 2018.

The site was sold to Sirona for $ 6.65 million and according to expert advise the market value of the property has remained the same.

The Spicer site development is part of the Kings Square Project where Sirona develops the former Myer and Queensgate buildings, build a new Civic Centre and develop the Spicer site with a five-storey building.

It would probably be a big task for any developer to do all that development in the same area at the same time, so Council will probably approve the settlement delay at Wednesday’s full Council meeting.

Above another historic photo taken from the top of the Townhall that shows the Kings Square and Fremantle Oval Project development areas, and of course the Henderson Street Courthouse/Police precinct will also be developed by Silverleaf.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE EAST CBD DEVELOPMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, development, economy, hotel, housing, tourism by freoview on March 19, 2017

This photo taken from the top of the Fremantle Townhall on Friday has historic significance for Fremantle as the inner east CBD will look very different in a few years from now with major development plans for the area.

In about five years we will see the new Woolstores shopping centre commercial, hotel and student development by Silverleaf, the Point Street Hilton Doubletree hotel project, and the eight-storey residential development of the former Spotlight building, and just beyond that the residential development next to the Hotel Australia at Beach Street.

Roel Loopers

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT A PRIORITY

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development by freoview on March 15, 2017

There is an interesting opinion piece in the West Australian today about the limitations of urban infill and the necessity of regional development.

Higher density in established suburbs and near railway stations and bus lines is not something that can go on indefinitely, so other alternatives need to be considered.

The WA state government has long been talking about decentralisation and to its credit has moved some departments out of the Perth CBD, but private businesses and large corporations still appear reluctant to open offices outside of Perth.

Most big law, mining and advertising companies are in Perth or West Perth and Fremantle has been struggling for decades to attract large companies to relocate here.

While it is good that Fremantle has so much residential, commercial and tourist development at the moment, there is only limited space in the inner city and we need to protect the unique character and heritage attraction of our city.

But decentralisation and city planning needs to become a much bigger picture than that even and fast rail transport to places like Northam, Albany, Bunbury and Geraldton should be considered.

Mining companies should start building permanent accommodation for their personnel in the Pilbara to decrease the high-polluting FIFO process and increase the regional population.

The Perth metropolitan urban sprawl needs to stop because it is not sustainable and too expensive, but filling up character older suburbs with ugly high concrete boxes is also not the solution.

What our politicians lack is big visionary thinking when it comes to planning the regional cities of the future. Planning is still far too much Perth-centric that will only worsen the traffic, public transport and environmental problems that are inevitable when too many people are squeezed into city living.

Innovative integrated regional development should be a priority for the new McGowan Labor government.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S SOCIALIST DEVELOPMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, development, economy, lifestyle by freoview on March 14, 2017

 

The LIV Defence Housing residential development at Fremantle’s Queen Victoria and Quarry streets is well under way and will be a great addition to the east end of the CBD.

I find it rather cute that people on the right side of politics keep accusing Fremantle Council of being socialists when this council has done more in thirty years to attract very capitalist development to our city than previous councils.

While some of the new development is disappointing and mediocre it will do Fremantle’s economy and traders a lot of good in the near future to have three new hotels and very substantial residential and commercial development that will bring thousands more people living in the inner city and thousands more working in the CBD.

It will be fantastic for the hospitality and retail industries to have hundreds of tourists staying overnight in Fremantle and shop, dine and drink here, and having locals and students roaming the streets day and night will make it a safer and more lively place.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE’S EXCITING MODERN FUTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, economy, retail, shopping, tourism by freoview on March 8, 2017

There was a rather exciting BID-Business Improvement District meeting at the National Hotel on Wednesday evening that spelled out the future of the Fremantle inner city, and I was very impressed.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said it was important that the business community engaged with the City and that they went on the journey together.

Pettitt admitted the next 3 years are going to be challenging for inner city traders because of the disruptions caused by the massive development at Kings Square and elsewhere in the CBD.

The Mayor said it was disappointing that the Hilton Doubletree hotel development on the Point Street carpark site will now only start in the first quarter of next year, so that is another lengthy delay.

The more I see of Gerard O’Brien, the boss of Fremantle developers Silverleaf, the more I like his no-nonsense approach and straight-forward message that Fremantle only has a three-year window before Garden City will more than double in size.

“We need to keep moving as we have suffered big time in Fremantle”, O’Brien said. “We need to get our act together and support each other as a community and Council. It needs to be a team effort!”

Silverleaf has huge plans for Fremantle and O’Brien said that they are only the custodians and want to leave something behind that all of Freo can be proud off, not just a glass box.

O’Brien then revealed his plans for the Woolstores shopping centre site and that is very exciting for Fremantle. The development is 26,000 square metres.

There will be an Adina Hotel, commercial floorspace and -hallelujah!- student accommodation! Plus a shopping centre at ground level and underground parking.

Coles will keep trading during the construction period and Gerard O’Brien believed that was essential to keep attracting shoppers into the inner city.

O’Brien said the design of the building pays tribute to the heritage and pays homage to the environment the new building will be in.

I quite like the old&new architecture with red bricks at ground level and vertical cladding similar to the new Perth library and theatre buildings, while the levels above that are very modern, but quite striking and minimalist.

The entire roof will be solar panels, which O’Brien said was a good investment, while the windows will be double-glazed and have new technology in them that will keep out the sun and keep the interior cool. I am impressed!

Silverleaf will also be developing “ the beautiful piece of history” former police and courthouse complex and Warders Cottages at Henderson Street into three-star history tourist accommodation with 64 rooms. It will also have a market place open space and four different concepts that are all about tourism.

New BID CEO Tim Milsom said the transformation of Fremantle is about to happen and that Silverleaf could develop anywhere in the world but chooses to do so in Fremantle.

Milsom said BID have plans for a creative hub and an aspirational business mix but O’Brien said that Fremantle has enough specialty stores.

Milsom said we need to find out from the community and visitors what is missing in Fremantle and what will bring people back. For example there is no hardware store in Freo anymore.

There is no bakery or butcher or corner deli in the CBD either, but more than a dozen new shops will open in Fremantle soon, so that is more good news.

Many 6160 are moving from the former Myer building at Kings Square to the former Spotlight building next to Target and are due to open next week.

I put my neck on the line and say that this is very good news for Fremantle and that we are on the right track to create a great vibrant city where hundreds of tourists will stay over night, eat, drink and shop and where we will finally have many students living in the inner city.

Roel Loopers

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