Freo's View

KINGS SQUARE DISPLAY AT TOWNHALL

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on August 23, 2017

 

 

Hello boys and girls, this is your uncle Roelie, the regular provider of fake Freo news, the new council spin doctor(sorry Jason and Paul!), and the election campaign manager for Bradman for the Entire Universe and Beyond, according to a Fakebook page.

Uncle Roelie went to the Fremantle Townhall to check out the displays about the Kings Square Project development. Not that he really needed it, because he has been involved in it from the very first start and community consultation.

Your old senile uncle, who can’t get his facts right, met the Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly at the first walk around the area to look at connectivity, sightlines, etc. and went to every Kings Square session after that, including the citizenship jury.

But unlike others, I believe it is not good to be ingnorant, and that one should be informed and have the facts before one makes comments, so hence my visit to the beautiful Townhall to see if I could update my knowledge.

Mayor Brad Pettitt and Sirona’s Matthew McNeilly were there, and I saw Councillor Jon Strachan and his partner Cathy Hall, and Beacy election candidate Fedele Camarda was also there, as was developer Bruce Moriarty.

A comment I read, claiming that this Council had not achieved much in the last eight years is not based on facts, yet again. Fremantle has got unprecedented development happening and in the pipeline, that we have not seen in the port city in forty years.

If the Barnett State Government had earlier committed to the Department of Housing moving to Fremantle, the Kings Square development could have been ready by now.

But boys and girls, it’s always easier to blame council rather than dealing with facts. As for Uncle Roelie, he’ll be at the Fremantle Council ordinary meeting tonight to make sure he knows what he’s talking about.

Good night boys and girls. Sleep well!

 

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE KINGS SQUARE WEBSITE LIVE

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on August 7, 2017

 

The Fremantle Kings Square Project website http://www.kingssquarefremantle.com is finally live, so check it out regularly to keep up to date with the development, and also keep an eye on their Facebook page.

This is part of the website page:

At the centre of Fremantle’s civic and commercial heart this once-in-a-generation project will transform the heart of WA’s favourite port city into a vibrant commercial and community hub in coming years – it’s the Kings Square Renewal Project…

It’s the largest public-private infrastructure project in Fremantle’s history. A precinct-wide renewal of the Freo city centre with project partners Sirona Capital and the City of Fremantle redeveloping the buildings and public spaces in Kings Square where you will be able to:

  • Eat and shop – with a retail and dining experience designed with Freo people in mind, unlike anything seen before in Australia
  • Work – new 5-star green star commercial spaces including office accommodation for more than 1,500 State Government employees relocating to Fremantle
  • Relax – a revamped city square complete with landscaped grassed area, shady trees, public art and new street furniture
  • Play – a major new children’s play space and baby change facilities
  • Learn and transact – state-of-the-art council customer service and community learning hub (which includes a new library)
  • Meet – new competition-winning City administration building with purpose-built indoor and outdoor community spaces and meeting rooms

The new Kings Square will also:

  • Boost the local economy –  more than 2,100 new local jobs and an estimated $358m injected into the local economy
  • Cater for everyone – designed for accessibility, the new buildings and public spaces will enable people of all ages and abilities to enjoy everything on offer in Kings Square 
  • Embrace technology – Free Wifi throughout the precinct with CCTV and enhanced lighting
  • Utilise ESD (Environmentally Sustainable Design) principles –  Energy efficient building design with the use of renewable energy and water saving technologies 
  • Be sensitive to local heritage – the buildings and public spaces  will fit with the unique character and history of Kings Square, enhancing the heritage values of the Fremantle Town Hall and church and becoming Freo’s future heritage

More workers, more activity during the working week, more people that may move to Fremantle to be closer to work in the city centre, more shops, more money for the local economy, more indirect jobs created, more community events, improved community safety and a better reputation for Fremantle. 

It’s a game-changer for Fremantle!

QUEENSGATE PARKING ONLY $ 2.00 PER HOUR

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, parking, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on July 20, 2017

 

From the end of July parking fees at Queensgate car park will change ensuring it continues to be one of Fremantle’s best value carparks.

A new flat rate of $2 per hour, every hour, will apply to all car park users after 27 July, resulting in a simplified and easy to understand fee structure. An early bird rate of $9 will also be available.

Queensgate will continue to offer parking rates at or below the cost of other facilities in Fremantle including surrounding commercial facilities and City-operated meter parking.

Sirona will also undertake a multi-million-dollar refurbishment of the car park which will make Queensgate a more attractive, cleaner, safer and reliable facility.

The upgrade starts next week with the installation of new boom-gates and easy to use ticketing and payment equipment.

Announcing the new simplified fee structure, Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly said there had been no adjustment in fees since July 2015.

“We’ve thought long and hard about the best way to structure parking fees at Queensgate both in terms of legacy issues and the overall outcome we’re expecting in the precinct with the Kings Square Fremantle renewal,” Mr McNeilly said.

“Our analysis of the car park operations found that simplifying the fee structure would contribute to a better performing and more user-friendly car park.

“Our independent analysis has recommended other ways to activate the car park and deliver broader positive outcomes for the precinct beyond free parking.

“We’ll be implementing those concepts both during and after the Kings Square Fremantle renewal,” he said.

The car park and adjacent Queensgate building were purchased by Sirona as part of the City of Fremantle’s contribution to the City’s $50m investment in the $270m Kings Square Fremantle Renewal project.

Queensgate car park is operated by Secure Parking on behalf of Sirona.

 

OUTRAGEOUS RANT FROM SOCIETY PRESIDENT

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on June 4, 2017

Fremantle Society president John Dowson is losing the plot and needs to be reigned in by its members and committee!

This racist rubbish below, that he sent to FS members, is disgraceful and outrageous and it is unacceptable.

Fremantle gets many thousands of Malaysian tourists every months who support our retailers, hospitality industry and economy and Malaysia is a very important neighbour for WA.

Chinese interest in our mining industry are very high and China is a very important export market for our state.

The right-wing rant from the FS president is an embarrassment to the community group and Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

Which Flag Will Fly in King’s Square?

The massive sell off of ratepayer assets by Fremantle Council means that Queensgate, Queensgate car park, and the Spicer site in the heart of Fremantle belong to Sirona Capital, who have hinted the assets may be sold to overseas interests. Does this mean that key strategic assets adjoining King’s Square may soon be owned by Communist Chinese or Islamic Malaysian interests? Both countries are increasingly buying large stakes and large influence in this country.

 

EXCITING FREMANTLE KINGS SQUARE PROJECT

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, sirona capital by freoview on November 29, 2016

 

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!!!

Roel Loopers

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THREE STATE AGENCIES MOVE TO FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, local government, sirona capital by freoview on November 10, 2016

 

GODOT FINALLY ARRIVED AT KINGS SQUARE!

ks-1

 

Premier Colin Barnett this morning announced that 1,500 public servants will relocate to Fremantle and that the Housing and Corrective Services departments will have their new headquarters in Fremantle, as well as the Department of Transport.

The Premier said it was seen as good to have several agencies sharing the two Kings Square buildings and that this will be a major boost for retail after Fremantle has languished for a long time.

The State Government will save $ 53 million over 15 years with the relocation of the departments which are part of the government’s plans for decentralisation of the public sector. This is the biggest decentralisation by the government, Colin Barnett said..

Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly said he was thrilled with the support the government has shown for the Kings Square development and that Sirona will invest a quarter of a billion dollars into the project. It will be the catalyst to the start of a seven-day a week economy in Fremantle.

The project will be a vast improvement to the public realm with new retail and entertainment and 20,000 sqm of office space. Demolition will start in April/May next year and building will commence soon after with retailers moving in by late 2019. McNeilly said that projects of this complexity can be very time consuming.

A delighted Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said that this was probably the most significant day in Fremantle since the America’s Cup in the mid 1980s and a real catalyst for a wave of investment in Fremantle.

This is a vote of confidence in Fremantle by the government and will give the city a proper heart. It is a real milestone into the future, the Mayor told the media and the large group of Councillors and City staff.

Comment:

For years I have vented my frustration about the lack of progress of the Kings Square development and compared it with the Samuel Becket play Waiting for Godot, so I am delighted to eat my words and am looking forward to the development that should make a significant difference to Fremantle’s economic recovery.

I am not a financial experts at all, and while I respect the opinion of professional auditor Craig Ross and financial expert Martin Lee who have warned against the financial implications for the City of Fremantle and its ratepayers, I also need to respect the opinion of the expert consultants employed by the City of Fremantle who have a different opinion. I cannot judge who is right or wrong on this.

What price are we willing to pay to invest in the future I ask myself and only the future will tell us that.

I now hope Sirona Capital and the CoF will agree to make fully public the financial and business details as commercial confidentiality surely no longer applies.

I am truly delighted and needed a boost after the Trump disaster yesterday, so let’s get out the bubblies and celebrate Fremantle’s bright future!

Roel Loopers

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT FINE COMB FOR KINGS SQUARE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, sirona capital, western australia by freoview on August 22, 2016

A little bit more detail has emerged about the Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association engaging prominent Cottesloe lawyer John Hammond to investigate the Kings Square Project deal between the City of Fremantle and Sirona Capital.

John Hammond told the West Australian ” He would investigate whether the city had complied with the Local Government Act.”

This implies that FRRA believes that Tony Simpson, Minister for Local Government failed to do his job properly when they asked him last year to investigate the matter, and the minister declared it was all above board.

It should not take long then for John Hammond to do that investigation as the Local Government Act should be pretty straight forward.

Let’s hope it can all be dealt with fast so the project can commence as soon as possible so the square comes alive again.

Roel Loopers

 

 

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COURT CHALLENGE WILL DAMAGE BRAND FREMANTLE

I realise the Kings Square Project and its handling by the City of Fremantle has divided community opinion, which has now resulted in the Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association engaging prominent lawyer John Hammond to try to stop the development.

I also know that by publishing this article the same opponents will bring up the same arguments we have read many times and heard at Council and during public meetings. I don’t want to rehash all the pros and cons, but ask what it would mean for Fremantle if a court challenge succeeded.

The first hurdle is probably that the Department of Housing would not sign a long-term lease with Sirona Capital unless it can guarantee that the development will go ahead within an appropriate time frame, so even if the legal challenge is not successful it could delay the Kings Square Project substantially.

The legal and financial ramifications for the City of Fremantle and its ratepayers, should a court challenge to stop the development be successful, could be enormous, as it is likely that Sirona Capital would want compensation in the millions of dollars from COF. It is also likely that Kerry Hill Architects which won the Civic Centre architect competition would want compensation if the building is cancelled.

At the end we could end up with huge costs to the City and no development at Kings Square, and that would be a huge shame in my opinion.

It is very disappointing that the Kings Square Project public relations has been so inadequately managed by the City and has left too much room for doubt, although many Councillors made very strong presentations and assured the community they had listened to and challenged expert consultants and staff and were satisfied they had crossed all the Ts and dotted all the Is.

I do support the Kings Square Project because I believe substantial inner city development is essential for Fremantle to grow and become a shopping destination again, but I am disappointed about the lack of transparency and the City citing commercial confidentiality.

A few hundred dissatisfied Fremantle residents who are not happy with the answers they received about the financial details, will now question the democratic process and the right for local government to make tough decisions, sell assets and invest in the future. It will be very fascinating to hear the legal arguments in court.

Whatever the outcome, I fear this will do serious damage to brand Fremantle when it has just started a very good recovery process of many new buildings in the CBD and many more planned for the very near future. It makes me sad that we are such a divided community and that there is so much negativity and political point scoring. There will be no winners at the end of it.

Roel Loopers

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT MANY 6160

Posted in art, city of fremantle, economy, retail, shopping, sirona capital, western australia by freoview on August 8, 2016

Architect Nic Brunsdon, the owner of Spacemarket and inventor of the Fremantle Kings Square Many 6160 retail incubator concept sent me the interesting research report Many 6169 Social and Economic Evaluation by Hannah Sutton.

The report is too extensive to publish in full but I will add it as a pdf to this blog post. Below some highlights from the report:

MANY6160 is a temporary space activation project that invited creative individuals and entrepreneurs to inhabit the vacant space. The results have demonstrated that this not only re-established active streetscapes but also provided many social and economic benefits to the tenants, and the community.

The makeover was spearheaded by Spacemarket and supported by the City of Fremantle and the building owner, Sirona Capital. MANY6160 is a large, previously unused and underutilised reactivated space for enterprise to gather, collaborate, and produce. “A place of curated, supportive, complimentary and quality operators working together towards the common goal of an active and vibrant Fremantle” –MANY 6160.

At 20,000m2 it has now become, to the best of the project team’s knowledge, “the worlds largest interior space activation”.

The community benefits of MANY6160 include:

  • Creation of Jobs
  • Improved “Brand Freo.”
  • Improved security in the area, activating streetscapes
  • Improved business and community confidence in the local area
  • Contribution to the local economy The tenant benefits of MANY6160 include:
  • Affordability of space
  • Customer sharing and more exposure
  • Business growth and skills development
  • Networking and collaborative opportunities
  • Allowance for experimentation
  • Graduated” businesses

From the initial joint funding of $45,000 from the City of Fremantle and Spacemarket more than 100 new businesses have operated from MANY6160 in Fremantle, over 20 businesses that became established enough to seek their own tenancy elsewhere, over 500 part time and full time jobs and thousands of dollars generated into the local economy due to weekly employee expenditure at local businesses.

MANY6160 is a case in point for the retention of urban ghosts, for passive energy management, and for new, collaborative forms of retail and urban habitation.”

Spacemarket

The report also states that Many 6160 has 580 daily average visits and 695 daily average walkbys and that Many 6160 has produced 500+ people employed, 100+ business start-ups, 20+ graduates, 25 artists, 80+ retail stores, 95 workshop events, 70 events hosted, 1 wedding party, 2 motorbike shows, 12 murals painted, 5 music videos filmed, 70% of 20,000 sqm space used, 5 art galleries, 2 pop-up bars, and 100,000 happy customers.

The likelihood of the Kings Square Project now going ahead has improved a lot since Sirona Capital was announced as the preferred tenderer for a government department move to Fremantle, so that would mean the end of Many 6160 at Kings Square. The question is if Spacemarket and the City of Fremantle will want Many to continue and if a suitable space can be found to continue the innovative project.

 

MANY6160_SUTTON

Roel Loopers

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KINGS SQUARE DEVELOPMENT CLOSE TO REALISATION

What a good scoop for the Fremantle Herald which today reported on their front page that Sirona Capital has been announced as the preferred tenderer for a state department to move to Fremantle’s Kings Square.

Finance Minister Bill Marmion told the Herald that the finance department will start negotiations with Sirona Capital, which means the tender by Fremantle based Silverleaf to get a department to move to the to be developed Woolstores shopping centre site has been unsuccessful.

This is a huge step forward for the Kings Square project which would see the Myer and Queensgate buildings developed and a new building on the Spicers site carpark on the corner of William and Henderson streets, as well as the building of a new civic centre at Kings Square.

It was always going to be hard for Silverleaf to win the tender process as I have no doubt the City of Fremantle would have made it clear to State Government that their Kings Square development would be in limbo without a department moving there.

There is no doubt though that State Government will have the upper hand in the tender negotiations as they and Sirona Capital are well aware that without a department moving to Kings Square the project is dead in the water, so the State will expect an exceptionally good deal from Sirona in a period where the commercial property market is soft and office vacancy is at an all time record.

I believe the Kings Square development will be a huge boost for the revitalisation of Fremantle’s CBD and can’t wait for it to get started.

Well done Fremantle Herald for getting the exclusive, without even boasting about it!

Roel Loopers

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