Freo's View


Posted in art, city of fremantle, retail, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on August 13, 2018


The JIM KIDD sportswear store in Fremantle’s Essex Street is leaving Fremantle and relocating to a huge warehouse near Perth airport.

It is a shame to lose another shop and I question the new location, as there is no way I will drive all the way to the airport to buy my next comfy walking shoes, so they are losing this customer.

Vacant shops are never a good look anywhere, but unfortunately a sign of the time everywhere, so I hope FREO NOW in collaboration with property owners will find a lot of creatives to move into empty retail premises and make them at least look attractive.

It would be nice if the City of Fremantle could allocate money for artists to at least paint windows of vacant shops and make the best out of a bad situation by creating a new art walk attraction in the CBD.

Roel Loopers






The latest development proposal by Silverleaf Investments for the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre site was released last week and has already received criticism that it is boring and ugly, so where from here? I have been thinking long and hard about this conundrum, so here my thoughts.

I agree that this proposal is yet again not for an outstanding iconic building of exceptional design, but I also believe we need to be pragmatic about this if we want the current eyesore to disappear.

From past proposals we can deduct that it is highly unlikely that Silverleaf will ever build and iconic building in Fremantle. Great architecture and aesthetics don’t appear to be a priority for the company, so should Fremantle Council reject this latest proposal as well, or should they approve it so we just can get on with it, because Fremantle desperately needs development in that run down inner east of the CBD?

I believe that the development of the Woolstores, Spotlight site and Hilton Doubletree hotel, together with the Kings Square redevelopment are part of the critical mass to turn Fremantle’s economic, retail, tourism and hospitality fortunes around and attract many more people to our city. If that is the case the community unfortunately will have to compromise on the aesthetics, or we’ll end up with the Woolstores ugliness for another 2-3 decades.

Silverleaf director Gerard O’Brien told me at the FREO NOW launch on Friday that Coles will leave if the shopping centre is not developed, and that Target will also close its doors. Fremantle cannot afford to let that happen, I believe.

The proposed six storey addition is in my opinion not great but not an eyesore, and it would definitely be an improvement to what is there at present. So maybe the reality that Fremantle does not have the luxury of being too picky, because we desperately need development, should be part of more pragmatic decision making.

Silverleaf is a major player in Fremantle, with the exciting development of the former justice complex in Henderson Street and a new hotel there imminent, as well as the development of the Manning building in the mall and William Street, so do we want them to walk away from developing the Woolstores site because the proposal is not iconic and visually attractive enough, or do we prioritise economic necessity over aesthetic beauty in that unattractive part of the inner city?

Let’s be clear and honest that up to know all new commercial buildings approved in Fremantle over that last years are not of outstanding design quality, but for the MSC building in Cliff Street. The Myer and Queensgate buildings at Kings Square are not great architecture and neither are the LIV apartment building, or the approved Hilton hotel and Little Lane developments.

Some people who hate high buildings can be happy that the new Woolstores proposal is for only six storeys, so a lot lower than the previous proposal, that was rejected by JDAP because it lacked the architectural excellence required to receive the two storey additional discretionary height allowance.

I was worried the last few years that the Hilton Doubletree development might not go ahead, and although I have been critical about the design of the building, I am happy that the SKS group will now start on the development this year, because I strongly believe that these developments in the east CBD are critical, and once open will make a big positive difference for our struggling Freo traders.

I love outstanding modern architecture and I am disappointed that we don’t seem to attract any of that in Fremantle, but in this case I am for compromise and pragmatism, even when I know I will be heavily criticised for it by some people in our community.

I am looking forward to receiving your opinions, pro or contra, as this is a discussion we need to have.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, hospitality, retail, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on July 28, 2018


It was full house at the Fremantle National Hotel last night for the official launch of retail supporter FREO NOW, that attempts to replace the BID, which was abandoned by Fremantle Council, to make way for Destination Marketing.

FREO NOW CEO Karl Bullers, who owns the National Hotel,  said Fremantle traders need grassroots assistance to help their businesses grow and that FREO NOW would provide that.

There will be free business coaching for members and FREO NOW is looking for creatives to fill vacant shops at peppercorn rent to attract people to the Fremantle CBD.

There are plans for a small business expo and FREO NOW will be seeking federal funding.

“We have not given up on you! We will be right by your side” Karl Bullers assured the crowd, which included Councillors Waltham, Pemberton, Lang and Sullivan as well as last year’s Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart, Silverleaf Investments director Gerard O’Brien and Chamber of Commerce CEO Olwyn Williams.

I was flabbergasted that a shop owner who has been trading at Cantonment Street for over twenty years asked questions about why BID was gone and what Destination Marketing was, when all that has been published in the local media and on line extensively. It helps to inform oneself about what goes on in the the town where one trades!

On a very positive by note, it was really good to hear that Karl Bullers puts his money where his mouth is when he mentioned that Clint Clark from Port Jarrah was making the wardrobes for the new hotels rooms at the National Hotel, estimated to be opened by the end of August.

Roel Loopers




Posted in bid, city of fremantle, hospitality, retail,, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on July 24, 2018




The Freo Now-formerly Fremantle BID-Board is planning on how they can help small businesses over the next 12 months!

If you want to hear more come to the official launch this Friday from 5.30pm at the National Hotel – first drink is free!

Roel Loopers




Posted in bid, chamber of commerce, city of fremantle, retail, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on July 9, 2018


It is good to see that the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce is making a real effort in connecting with small businesses. I have been critical of the FCoC in the past because I believe they only represent the big end of town and not the small retailers, so establishing a retail and small business committee is a good step forward.

The Fremantle Chamber of Commerce is calling for expressions of interest from people across Fremantle’s small business sector to nominate for its new Small Business & Retail Committee. It doesn’t matter where your business is located in Fremantle, or if you are in retail, hospitality, professional or personal services – the door is open. The focus of the group is to advise Chamber advocacy, champion the interests of small business and contribute advice to build a better foundation for Fremantle’s traders. Non-members are welcome to apply.

Let us know who you are, the business you represent and your motivation to be part of the committee. Please send your expression of interest by 20 July 2018 to:


Together with the new FREO NOW, former BID, we might finally make some inroads into supporting and marketing Fremantle as a destination for shopping with a difference in an eclectic variety of shops.

Roel Loopers




Freo Now-BID


FREMANTLE BID-Business Improvement District, abandoned by the City of Fremantle to make way for Destination Marketing, has reinvented itself as FREO NOW, as I reported a few days ago.

FREO NOW will be reliant on Member contribution as it no longer received the differential rates the City of Fremantle charges CBD businesses.

BID members are offered a 50% discount. For just $ 2 per week, or $ 100 a year Freo Now will continue to support local traders, advocate the City on their behalf, organise events and training, etc. This offer is available to every business in Fremantle, not just those in the CBD and former BID area.

Former Fremantle Councillor Rob Fittock will be the interim volunteer CEO of the new Freo Now during this transition period, and he will provide support and help. He aims to visit all the traders, but if you need urgent support you can call Rob on 0431 562 887.

Roel Loopers






Posted in city of fremantle, food, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on June 16, 2018




It took less than three hours for the very special Galati&Sons offer to sell out this morning.

The Fremantle Wray Avenue family business has been having Saturday specials from the back of a truck for months, but today’s special of only $ 1 for a 10-kilo box of tomatoes was super special. They sold 1,000 boxes!

Check out their Facebook page on Fridays to find out what Saturdays’ specials are.

Support Freo’s local small businesses!

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, environment, local government, plastic, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on June 13, 2018


The ban for single-use plastic shopping bags will come into effect from July 1, so supermarkets and other retailers will no longer be allowed to hand out the free plastic bags we have been using for decades.

The City of Fremantle, one of the country leaders in getting the shopping bags banned, will give away free reusable shopping bags. They can be collected from the Visitor Centre at the Townhall and at the temporary council building at Fremantle Oval.

I do have one suggestion to make and that is to decentralise the hand-out of the free reusable bags, as it is not fair to the people of Samson and other outer suburbs to have to come all the way into the city centre for it.

Why not have some of the bags for collection at the Samson Recreation Centre, the Hilton Community Centre, etc. We have become very CBD-centric in Fremantle and Council needs to improve on that!

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, music, retail, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on June 1, 2018




How lovely to listen to the mellow and beautiflul sound of a harp in the Fremantle High Street mall this Friday morning. It is such a delightful difference from the amplified music many buskers play in the CBD.

Roel Loopers




Business Directory


I haven’t received the Fremantle  Kings Square Business Directory yet, what about you?

We can collect them also at the Visitor Centre at Kings Square if they don’t land in our letter box, so that’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow morning.

It is vitally important to support our local traders during the Kings Square Redevelopment Project construction period, so make an extra effort please and shop local, have a second or third coffee/tea/drink and don’t bother cooking at home but have your meals in town.

Roel Loopers

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