Freo's View

SIRONA APPOINTS PROBUILD FOR KINGS SQUARE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on May 16, 2017

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SIRONA CAPITAL has appointed national building company ProBuild for the $ 270 million Fremantle Kings Square Project. Building will commence in August this year.

ProBuild has been signed up for several major construction jobs in Perth recently and is already busy with building the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Elizabeth Quay.

I believe it is great news for Fremantle and will truly change our city’s fortunes for the better.

Roel Loopers

WONDERFUL FREO TOWNHALL

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, kings square, tourism, western australia by freoview on April 11, 2017

 

I can’t get enough of it! What a wonderful sight the newly restored Fremantle Townhall is.

Go and have a look at how detailed the conservation work has been and what a fantastic job has been done.

Roel Loopers

 

SUPPORT FREO TRADERS DURING DEVELOPMENT

Posted in cafe, city of fremantle, development, kings square by freoview on April 5, 2017

The problems traders in Scarborough face, and business closures because of the massive redevelopment there, sends a message to Fremantle Council to be pro-active and assists retailers and the hospitality industry over the next 3 years during the Kings Square project development that will have serious short-term negative implications for businesses in the area.

While the City of Fremantle is not exactly rolling in money it might be a good idea to stop charging cafes alfresco fees during the development period and also to allow retailers to move out into the streets to show their wares.

Free parking at the Parry Street and Beach Street carparks could also be a consideration for the start of the week to try to support our local traders. If they can hang in there for the next three years they will all benefit from an invigorated Freo economy with new hotels opening, new office workers coming to Fremantle and many more people residing in the inner city. The long-term future for Fremantle is a very good one and well worth investing in!

We don’t want more shop closures, vacant buildings and people going broke, so we need to support them as well as we can. Let’s start talking about it now as a priority!

Roel Loopers

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TREASURER RINGS ALARM BELLS FOR KINGS SQUARE

 

The announcement at a function on Friday night by new Western Australian Treasurer Ben Wyatt that the state government will not go ahead with the relocation of government departments because of the financial implications is very worrying for Fremantle and should send alarm bells ringing at the City of Fremantle.

Wyatt said that he had to make substantial savings to fix the budget and that the state unfortunately does not have the money for expensive relocations. The new government was in favour of the decentralisation of the workforce away from the Perth CBD but it would be better to reduce public servant staff numbers through early redundancy, increase efficiency and productivity, and reduce duplications of services, creating smaller offices, as the state could not afford the very costly relocation of departments in the near future because of the dire financial state of Western Australia.

The move of Department of Housing and other departments to Fremantle is essential for the success of the Fremantle Kings Square project and if this is cancelled or substantially delayed by the new Labor government it will have a huge negative impact for Fremantle.

The question is if Sirona Capital can afford to go ahead with the project if the lease with state government departments is ripped up, or could this be the end of Freo’s big dream of economic recovery through the biggest inner city project in many decades?

This is very worrying news at the start of the month where the demolition of the Queensgate building was due to start. I for one hope the exciting Kings Square project will progress as planned and that solutions will be found fast if Wyatt’s assertions are correct.

Many in the Fremantle community have questioned the need for a new expensive Civic Centre at Kings Square and no doubt they would be delighted if the project did not go ahead, but I believe it would be very disappointing if our city square is not modernised and activated.

Roel Loopers

TREE CONDITION NOT DUE TO CHRISTMAS

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, trees by freoview on March 21, 2017

The old Moreton Bay fig tree at Fremantle’s Kings Square in not in a great condition and arborists are monitoring it carefully.

Experts say soil contamination is to blame for it, not strangulation by the Christmas Tree wires, as alleged by the Fremantle Society.

The plane trees at Kings Square are all being prepared for relocation and are standing in a puddle of muddy water to make them stronger for the journey.

The demolition of the Queensgate building is starting in April and that will be the commencement of the Kings Square Project.

Roel Loopers

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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

IMPRESSIVE FREMANTLE TOWNHALL CONSERVATION

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, kings square, local government by freoview on March 18, 2017

Scaffolding will gradually come down from next week on the Fremantle Townhall.

I was given an exterior tour of the conservation works on Friday by City of Fremantle heritage coordinator architect Alan Kelsall and heritage project officer Gena Binet and Zac of the building contractors and was very impressed with the very detailed and substantial work involved in the $ 3.1 million project.

The Townhall project is the largest conservation work the city has ever undertaken and was necessary because of the deterioration of the building due to paint that did not allow the building to breath and suffocated the building, hence salt and moisture had badly damaged large areas.

Don’t expect a brightly-painted building as it has been brought back to its original stucco look of 1887.

About the town hall restoration

Before current restorative works were undertaken it had been almost thirty years since the last major capital expenditure on the Fremantle Town Hall.

Since mid-2016 a large team of skilled stonemasons, plasterers, lead workers and slate roofers with specialist traditional skills have transformed the exterior of the town hall building using traditional building methods.

Key elements such as the roof cladding and drainage systems needed to be replaced urgently to protect the building from ongoing deterioration prevent the loss of culturally significant features and address concerns about public safety.

Gutters and downpipes were too small to cope with current extreme weather events and have led to ongoing damage to the interior of the building. These elements have all been enlarged.

There were also ongoing issues caused by inappropriate surface treatments and repairs to masonry elements carried out in the1950s–60s. At this time there was little understanding of best practice conservation which had unfortunately led to the ongoing deterioration of masonry, embedded steel and timbers and decorative stucco work in the town hall.

During the works, it was discovered some inaccessible parts of the building were in worse condition than expected and extra works were required. To prevent further deterioration of the building and to make use of scaffolding already in place for the current restoration works, it was more efficient and cost effective to complete these additional works now.

Roel Loopers

P.S. Stunning views from the top of the Townhall so I will post some scenic photos of Fremantle next week and have requested a rooftop bar and a granny flat for me to be included in the renovations.

RELOCATION OF FREO KINGS SQUARE TREES

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, nature, trees by freoview on February 27, 2017

It is quite exiting to see the first preliminary work for the Fremantle Kings Square Project with arborists working on the relocation of the seven plane trees.

Others are conducting open heart surgery on the old Moreton Bay Fig tree that is home to the Christmas tree. The tree has shown signs of distress, but that might just be old age.

No doubt the arborists will advise the City of Fremantle what is wrong with it.

Roel Loopers

 

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FREO AIMS HIGH FOR NEW CIVIC CENTRE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, kings square by freoview on February 24, 2017

I support the idea by the City of Fremantle of adding a third commercial floor to the new Civic Centre at Kings Square. I believe that is good long-term planning and caters for the future, while also adding long-term revenue for the City.

Architecturally it will also give the architects more chance of creating a more visually appealing vertical building that compliments the Townhall better.

When council amalgamations finally happen, well after my lifetime, and Fremantle is a much bigger city that requires more staff, we don’t have to make expensive additions, but already have the space to accommodate them.

The financial sustainability of Fremantle is a worry though and Council needs to ruthlessly prioritise as we don’t want to end up with a Colin Barnett-like mega debt.

Parking revenue alone has gone down by over $ 743,500 and parking infringements were also down by some $ 300,000, so that is over a million dollars of lost revenue, while the City has got big and expensive plans for Kings Square, Fremantle Oval, Cantonment Hill and others.

On the up side we should be making millions of dollars out of the sale of the Knutsford Street depot site in the very near future.

Roel Loopers

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ALTERNATIVE KINGS SQUARE FIGURES FACTS

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, western australia by freoview on February 21, 2017

It appears that Premier Colin Barnett and the City of Fremantle engaged in a bit of ‘alternative facts’ spin when they announced late last year that 1,500 state government staff would relocate to Fremantle to the Kings Square project.

A reliable source informs me that nearly one-third of them will relocate from Marine House opposite the Esplanade Hotel in Essex Street, so they are already in Fremantle and will only move one kilometre further east.

I hear marine-related officers are not too happy about it as it will take them further away from their boats in the Fishing Boat Harbour.

Roel Loopers

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