Freo's View

WILL IT BE FREO’S OWN BERMUDA TRIANGLE?

 

Fremantle’s Bermuda Triangle?

 

The hospitality triangle lease of the new Fremantle Civic Centre at Kings Square was the most debated item on the FPOL Committee agenda, and the public gallery was only allowed to hear part of it, since there were commercially confidential issues as well, so we were booted out.

I just want to make some general remarks about what has become a bit controversial in the community, because of the high financial incentives the City is required to give to the proponents of the three level hospitality venue.

Councillor Andrew Sullivan was very passionate in his support and pointed out the new building is part of the City’s commercial property portfolio and hence it should create income. I have no issue with that argument.

Sullivan continued to say it was an essential part of the Kings Square plan to have night time activity, and I agree with that as well, but that would have happened in a far better way if Fremantle Council had insisted on a residential and/or hotel component as part of their deal with Sirona Capital.

We should also consider realistically if the proposed hospitality business would last 20 years. Just look at what is happening right now: A new tavern will open in the Manning building, a new tavern in the Warders boutique hotel, an entertainment venue in the new Police and Justice complex in Henderson street, and no doubt there will be bars in the planned hotels at the Woolstores and Point Street.

All that in addition to the Federal Hotel, National Hotel, Newport Hotel, Sail&Anchor, the Monk, the Old Synagogue, the Norfolk Hotel, Freo.Social, and several small bars. All in a walking distance of five minutes or less from the proposed Kings Square venue! And there will probably be a bar or two in the FOMO centre as well.

Does Fremantle really want and need another alcohol venue, and at what cost to the ratepayers?

Yes, the $ 500,000 will be invested in the building, so it will be the property of the city, but if the proposed hospitality venue does not succeed what would an office do with a dumb waiter goods lift? And we heard that the third floor won’t be activated for at least another 18 months until the proponents have found their feet in the new venue.

I know that Councillors want the best for our city, but this is again a proponent driven venue and not the cafe and small bar that was initially on the cards. It smells a bit like the Sunset Events J Shed venue where Council have stars in their eyes and see something really big happening that they had not even considered in their wildest dreams.

The Fremantle community though might well believe this is more a case of Freo’s own Bermuda Triangle where ratepayers money disappears that we could have used to make a start on the urgently needed repairs of Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse, as Councillor Marija Vujcic pointed out.

We all want Kings Square and the inner city to be activated and the redevelopment project to be a success, but we expect our elected members to be realistic and pragmatic, and I am not at all sure that this is the right way to do it.

Roel Loopers

and some friendly advise for our elected members. Please do not make this item a confidential item at the Full Council meeting, because the community would question Council’s transparency and ask what they have to hide!

FREO A CITY ON THE MOVE

 

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One can get a good impression of what the paving at Newman Court, in front of the Fremantle Kings Square FOMO retail and hospitality centre, will look like, with large two-coloured slabs of concrete already down. It looks like there will be cobblestone in the gaps in between.

Through the windows at the levels above one can see the office furniture and computers being installed for the state government department staff, while the huge steel beam structure of the new Civic Centre clearly starts showing what the building will look like.

Roel Loopers

METROPOLIS INVESTMENT SHOWS CONFIDENCE IN FREMANTLE

Posted in bar, city of fremantle, development, hospitality, tavern, Uncategorized by freoview on January 20, 2020

 

 

The news that the owners of the Fremantle Metropolis nightclub will be investing one million dollars in the venue and upgrade the sound and light systems, shows that there is a lot of confidence in the future of our port city.

Just around the corner building work is under way for the tavern and boutique hotel between the Warders cottages and Fremantle Markets, and there will also be a new hospitality venue in the Manning building, that is nearing completion.

The success of Freo.Social and the Old Synagogue has shown that Freo has a lot to offer and there is a lot more to come.

Roel Loopers

 

HUGE FINANCIAL INCENTIVE FOR FREMANTLE CIVIC CENTRE HOSPITALITY VENUE

 

I had another read of the Fremantle Council FPOL committee agenda item about leasing the triangle part of the new Civic Centre at Kings Square to the Fremantle Doctor Restaurant and Bar Pty Ltd, and it becomes evident that the proposed hospitality operators are expecting a large financial incentive from the City of Fremantle.

The commercial rent for the three levels is $ 233,100 per annum, but the proposed venue operators want the first three years to be rent free, and the fourth year to pay only 5% of the gross income of the venue, plus they want a $ 500,000 contribution from the City for the fit out.

I am aware that it is common to offer rent free periods for long commercial leases, and this one is 10+10 years, but I believe that paying half a million dollars on top of three rent free years, and only a relatively small rent for the fourth year is asking the cash-strapped City of Fremantle for too much.

Reading between the lines it appears that not many hospitality operators were willing to commit to Kings Square before it has proven to be a success, and of course the City is keen to lease out the space that will be close to the new playground, but is a cash incentive of $ 500,000 realistic?

New venues, such as the Old Synagogue and Freo.Social, have become immediate attractions from the start, and presumably run profitable businesses, so how far should Fremantle Council go financially to lure an operator for its Civic Centre hospitality part?

In that context I was disappointed to read in the Sunday Times today that the FOMO retail and food concept by Sirona Capital is now only due to open in June/July, while it had been on the cards for April this year, after the initial marketing for the Kings Square Redevelopment Project mentioned late 2019 as the opening date. I do however understand very well that in the current retail climate it must be a huge challenge for Sirona to find enough tenants willing to sign long-term leases.

The Civic Centre construction  is well underway to be completed in the last quarter of this year, and the State Housing Department is moving in in April with approximately 1,500 staff, so it is all pretty good, but it needs to hurry up.

The item is on the FPOL Committee agenda for this Wednesday and will then go to full Council in a few weeks for a final decision.

Roel Loopers

STATE AND CITY GO HALVES FOR ROCKWALL AT PORT BEACH

 

 

Lisa O’Malley, the Member for Bicton, standing in for minister Rita Saffioti, announced this morning at the SAVE PORT BEACH festival that the State and City of Fremantle will go half and half to build a protective rockwall at the very popular endangered beach.

The City of Fremantle and the Western Australian government will each provide $ 200,000 to do what is basically a stop gap measure, as a substantial ocean wall will have to be built to ensure that Port Beach won’t disappear and the restaurant and carpark won’t have to be relocated.

Strong erosion during the winter months means that the future of Port Beach is in limbo and so is the future of the COAST bar, restaurant and cafe.

Roel Loopers

THREE LEVEL HOSPITALITY VENUE FOR FREO’S NEW CIVIC CENTRE

 

 

Great news for the future vitality of Fremantle’s Kings Square with Fremantle Council  considering the lease terms for a major new hospitality venue in the new under construction Civic Centre at a committee meeting next week.

The proposal from the City’s preferred applicant is to lease all three floors of the triangular portion of the City’s new building, with a café, bar and alfresco area on the ground floor, dining room on the first floor and function space on the top floor.

The proposed offering is based around providing casual and formal family-friendly food and beverage options, and aims to activate the area both day and night, seven days per week, by catering for different markets throughout the day.

The ground floor will feature bi-fold doors to create a seamless transition between inside and outside, with the substantial alfresco area overlooking the City’s planned new Kings Square play space.

The lease to be considered by the council’s Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee on Wednesday includes terms consistent with current market expectations.

Following consideration of the lease by the FPOL committee the item will be referred to the full council meeting on 29 January for a final decision.

Roel Loopers

DRINK AT BENNY’S TO HELP BUSH FIRE VICTIMS

Posted in bar, bushfires, charity, city of fremantle, donations, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on January 3, 2020

 

Benny's

 

Benny’s on the Fremantle Cappucino Strip is having a bush fire appeal this weekend, so go and support the good cause!

From every pint of Gage Roads Alby draught $ 2 will be donated to the NSW bush fire appeal, so this is one great excuse to have a few too many.

Robby Lang from the Fibonacci centre also wants to do a bush fire fundraising concert and they will be brainstorming at the Fremantle Townhall this Sunday the 5th at 2pm to see if they can get the support from enough bands to make it work.

What is happening over east is absolutely devastating and it affects so many families, businesses and communities, so let us all show the leadership that is lacking in Canberra and raise millions to help out!

Roel Loopers

 

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FREO BUZZING ON A THURSDAY? I’D LIKE TO SEE THAT!

Posted in bars, city of fremantle, food, hospitality, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on January 2, 2020

 

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Fremantle is buzzing with visitors on this Thursday. So many families, couple, singles, tourist groups, and all are having fun, with the kids loving the dinosaurs.

Little Creatures was at capacity when I walked past at 1pm, Joy Kitchen was doing well, and the Old Synagogue (photo above) has become a favourite in a very short time.

What we are seeing today will hopefully become the future for Fremantle, once the many development projects have been realised and attract people back to our beautiful port city.

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Meanwhile common sense has prevailed at the MONK, with the tables now turned parallel instead of at a ninety degree angle. There is now more space to pass through for pedestrians and those in wheelchairs and gophers.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE ALFRESCO NEEDS MORE CONSIDERATION

Posted in children, city of fremantle, disability, hospitality, pedestrians, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on January 2, 2020

 

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Here comes my first ‘whinge’ of the new decade. Fremantle cafe, bar and restaurant operators and retailers need to be more considerate when putting tables and chairs, or A-frames, on the footpaths and realise they are sometimes creating an inconvenience.

The MONK on the Cappuccino Strip has put two new high bar benches out for patrons, but they are too close to the steps of the venue, and the gap is so narrow that it is a nuisance for people with prams, and near impossible to get through for people in wheelchairs and gophers, or mothers with a double pram.

A -frames are also often thoughtlessly put on the pavement and that makes it difficult for vision-impaired people to navigate their way through Fremantle.

A little consideration goes a long way!

Roel Loopers

WE WANT CAFE SERVICE WITH A SMILE!

Posted in cafe, city of fremantle, coffee, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on December 29, 2019

 

A lot of Freo cafes have great coffee and good food, so for me the difference is the people who serve you, and I question why some of them seem to hate taking orders and bringing your coffee.

Now that my favourite cafe CHALKYS in the West End of High Street is closed until Jan 3 I have been getting a lot of unfriendly service is some of the cafes I tried out, and it means I won’t be returning even when the espressos were good.

You are in the hospitality business, so make your customers feel welcome!

It is not good at all for those who own the cafes when customers don’t return, because it are the regulars who support a business daily that give a bit of turnover security.

Cafe operators need to train their staff to smile and engage with customers, even at 7am. I am always courteous and smile when I order, and so are all the staff at CHALKYS!

 

Roel Loopers

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