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.
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.
Claims by the Fremantle Society that the City of Fremantle is insolvent were strongly rejected as ridiculous by Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin at the Ordinary Council meeting on Wednesday. Coggin demanded that the Society would send him the report by the certified public accountant they claim had provided the Fremantle Society with the advise that the City was technically insolvent.
Another ridiculous claim by the Fremantle Society was the lack of community consultation on the Kings Square Project.
I don’t know where these people were when Planning Scheme Amendment 49 was debated and the Fremantle Society under my presidency had a scale model in shopping centres to show the proposed heights, which we rejected and wanted lowered, but we did not succeed.
There was also extensive community consultation on the Kings Square development and even a Citizen Jury which I addressed on behalf of the Society, and I went to all the other community meetings to make suggestions. One outcome of that was that Newman Court now no longer will have vehicular access and parking.
Also ridiculous is the expectation that a private developer like Sirona Capital would make the roof tops of the two new buildings accessible to the public. Who is going to pay for security and public liability and how many privately owned buildings in the Perth CBD have public roof top access?
More ridiculousness in the claim that Fremantle Council has a conflict of interest in recommending to JDAP approval for the two Kings Square buildings. The City is not the decision-making authority, and as Councillor Doug Thompson pointed out as a body Council cannot have a conflict of interest or perception of that, but individual Councillors need to make their own decision if they believe they do have a conflict of or financial interest, which none of them declared.
Saying that Council cannot debate the development of a property they have sold would mean for example Council could not make planning approval for the Hilton Doubletree hotel development on the Point Street carpark site the City sold.
Councillor Rachel Pemberton said Sirona Capital was very serious about creating the best possible outcome and had even instigated workshops to improve the building design and enhance the character of the inner city. High calibre people from all sections of the community had attended the Sirona workshops and we will get an outcome we all will be proud of, Pemberton said.
Planning officers told Council and the public gallery that the developers had made significant changes over the last three months in collaboration with the Design Advisory Committee and the DAC now believed the design was at a stage where it was acceptable for them to recommend approval, but more changes would be required and be part of the City’s recommendation to JDAP.
Ordinary Council of the City of Fremantle will this evening debate the design of the Kings Square project buildings and if it should recommend approval to the State’s Joint Development Assessment Panel, which is the decision-making authority for the development.
Most important for me here are the comments by the City’s Design Advisory Committee, and they have several issues with some details of the proposal.
While the DAC says they are overall in support of the proposal and opportunities this brings to the retail core of the city centre, they believe that improvements can and should be made, so I suggest Council defers the matter until the architects have made the changes the DAC has suggested.
The DAC clearly states that the design is at a stage where the committee cannot recommend support or not for the proposal and they need to get more refined and detailed plans before making a recommendation.
I support the Kings Square project but it is such a huge and significant development for Fremantle that we need to get this right and every detail is fine-tuned before Council should recommend approval.
The height is within Planning Scheme Amendment 49, so not much use arguing about that now, but for the developers to show a night shot with lots of people on the roof is bad and unnecessary spin, since this is an office building that will not be occupied after office hours, but for maybe a couple of office parties each year.
Let’s stick with the facts, and that for me this is the most essential development project for Fremantle in its aim for economic recovery. Let’s do it well and make it a new attractive feature for our city!
Ordinary Council of the City of Fremantle will on Wednesday evening debate the design of the Myer and Queensgate buildings that will start the Kings Square development.
The planning authority for the buildings is the WA Joint Assessment Panel, not CoF, but Councillors will send a recommendation to JDAP, so it is important still for the community to have their say on it.
I like it that the initial design has evolved and the buildings are now separated through a shopping mall between them that will go from Newman Court through to William Street. For security reasons there will be gates on either end so it will not be accessible to the public, and anti-social elements, after hours.
There is also a five cinema complex part of the development and plans for bars, restaurants and cafes to make Kings Square a 24/7 destination.
The new Civic building will also be built at the same time and should be ready to move in by the start of 2020 if all goes to plan.
I support the development of Kings Square as I believe it is essential for the economic recovery of Fremantle, so bring it on asap!
You can view the plans and proposal on the City of Fremantle website. Click on Minutes and Agendas on the top left of the page and download the agenda.
Hey City of Fremantle, do us all a favour and drop the bullshit to retain some integrity! I noticed you are now calling the Kings Square Project the Cultural Precinct. That is ridiculous spin!
A library and a few cinemas do not make a Cultural Precinct. In Perth the Cultural Centre has the WA Museum, WA Art Gallery, the Library and PICA and is a true centre for culture, but the Kings Square project will predominantly be a commercial and retail precinct with some bars and cafes, so not anywhere near being a cultural precinct.
I am in favour of the Kings Square development but cut the crap please!
Interesting to see this cherry picker at the Fremantle civic centre on Kings Square.
According to one of the workers they are checking it for concrete cancer to see if some of the building can be retained for the new development.
Relatively new City of Fremantle CEO Phil StJohn will have a few sleepless nights over the next months to come up with ideas and solutions to relocate all city staff during the demolition of the old and the construction of the new civic centre at Kings Square.
Where in Fremantle is there enough office space to accommodate some 450 staff and also the library, or will the library be closed during the development, which will take well over a year?
I doubt there is much vacant office space left in the new Atwell Arcade four-storey office building and no other buildings come to mind that would have enough floor space to accommodate all CoF staff.
There will also have to be a temporary Council Chamber with public access for Council and committees sittings. That could probably be done upstairs at the former Kulcha space, but it does not have disabled access.
The library could be relocated for a year to the Number 1 studio at J Shed but it is a bit out of the way of public transport and does not have sufficient parking.
Maybe the former Woolworth supermarket space in Adelaide Plaza can accommodate a lot of staff. The buildings is owned by Sirona Capital so they would be keen to assist the City.
It won’t be an easy task for the CEO to come up with solutions, so good luck Phil!
SIRONA CAPITAL managing director Matthew McNeilly spoke about the Kings Square project his company is doing in partnership with the City of Fremantle at the monthly Fremantle Network event on Monday evening.
The great news is that the KS Project will not be done in 3 stages as was planned previously but that Sirona has decided to do the whole project in one stage, which means the Civic Centre and Library, designed by Kerry Hill architects, will be built at the same time as the former Myer and Queensgate buildings development.
This will mean a much shorter period of having building sites at Kings Square which would be disruptive for local businesses and traffic, so hoorah to that. It means we will see businesses moving in by the end of 2019 before Christmas!
Demolition of the Queensgate building will start in April and building will commence in July 2017, but the concrete structure of the Many building will be retained, which is better for the environment as well.
The total development site is 2 hectare and the project costs are $ 280 million, so one of the biggest development projects ever done in Fremantle. It will create 20,000 sqm of office space and 5,500 sqm of retail space with the possibility of entertainment areas such as a cinema.
A new feature has been added with a retail “trench” between the buildings that will be on different levels and break up the facades fronting Kings Square. The trench will run from Newman Court to William Street and will have food, bar, retailers, lots of greenery and seating.
The facades will have lots of timber but also brick and other surfaces and there will be lots of greenery, even in the basement.
The carpark will be significantly modernised and integrated in the development.
I believe the Kings Square Project is a game changer for Fremantle and that the modern new shops will attract new people to town and significantly benefit the Fremantle retail and hospitality traders. I went to the brand-new Cotton On shop in the High Street mall yesterday and it was very busy there and a delight to shop in a modern large environment. It felt very good, so I bought some new T-shirts.
On another positive note Matthew McNeilly told the audience that the Heirloom by Match residential development on Queen Victoria Street was completed on Monday, so people will soon move into their new apartments. That will be the first of the big positive change of the run down East End of the CBD, with the construction of the large LIV apartment development by Defence Housing opposite Heirloom, commencing early next year.
Freo is on the move and it is a well-overdue, very positive and exciting one! I can’t wait!!!
The monthly Fremantle Network event is on at the National Hotel TODAY from 6pm, so come along, listen, ask questions, meet new people and network!
Robert James Peters of FREO FOOD will talk about the group’s idea to revolutionise the way the food system works and how to regain community ownership of it, so that will be food for thought.
Also on this eve is Matthew McNeilly of Sirona Capital who will give an update about the Kings Square development that will commence early next year. This is a development welcomed by many and criticised by others so ask the hard questions or give some positive feedback.
I always enjoy the Fremantle Network events, so join in! It’s free, upstairs at the National, so a good excuse to have a drink or stay for a meal.