Freo's View

THE GREATER FREMANTLE ACTION PLAN

 

chamber function

 

Future Freo chairman Adrian Fini launched the Greater Fremantle Action Plan by the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce in the Australia II gallery of the Maritime Museum on Thursday evening, in front of Minister Simone McGurk, Mayor Brad Pettitt and several councillors and CoF staff, as well as representatives from Notre Dame University, Fremantle Port, Silverleaf Investments and business leaders.

The 28-page Action Plan is well worth reading and I assume the Chamber will put it on line, as it is too substantial to address every item in it here on the blog.

FCOC chair Ivan Dzeba said that Fremantle is already a great place but it can be better, while Adrian Fini said that we do need change and will fall apart if we don’t move forward.

We need to ask ourselves what is Fremantle’s strength and cultural identity, and we have great opportunities which need great leadership, but growth in technology will take shoppers away, but Fremantle has unique offerings that other shopping precincts do not have.

There is a deep journey ahead that demand teamwork with council, businesses and the community working together, Fini said.

The Greater Fremantle Action Plan records Freo’s strengths as having:

  • Dynamic economy particularly in transport and related industries, the arts and receational services, accommodation, food and health care
  • A unique profile consisting of heritage strength and character
  • Fremantle Port remains Fremantle’s most important industry
  • Fremantle has a unique combination of the knowledge economy and creative industries
  • Health services and related sectors continue to play an important role despite the downsizing of Fremantle Hospital
  • Fremantle has a global reputation as a tourist destination

 

So what are the plans for action?

 

Create the Conditions

  • Business attraction plan
  • Destination marketing campaign
  • Develop financial incentives
  • Policy and regulation review
  • Complete structure plan
  • Develop infrastructure to support a cultural plan

Connecting People, Places & Markets

  • Planning for affordable housing
  • Improvements to urban realm in commercial areas
  • Improvements to public transport
  • Sophisticated city centre parking plan
  • Connected cycle path network
  • Improvements to regional connections
  • Improvements to visitor booths and wayfinding
  • Improvements to pedestrian access

Promoting our Place

  • Broader and more unified approach to marketing
  • Develop relevant Fremantle ‘apps’
  • Unique brand development
  • Expand toursim accommodation
  • Explore new tourism opportunities
  • Grow conference/events industry

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

FREMANTLE ESPLANADE HOTEL FOR SALE

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, esplanade, hospitality, hotel, property, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on August 2, 2018

 

Fremantle’s iconic Esplanade Hotel is for sale! The historic hotel which opened in 1897 is on the market and is expected to attract offers of around $ 110 million.

The  300 room hotel was sold by long-time owner Marylyn New only six years ago in 2012 for just $ 90 million.

The Esplanade Hotel  has been refurbished and restored and is receiving most of its revenue from tourist accommodation and conferences.

It is being sold with a 3043sqm site opposite the hotel at 7 Essex Street, that has 172 parking bays, and a 78sqm leased retail tenancy and a 314sqm office.

I am not sure if Marine House, opposite the hotel, has been sold yet. It was put on the market about half a year ago.

CBRE’s Aaron Desange, Ryan McGinnity and Chloe Mason have been appointed to sell the hotel, so if you got a hundred million dollars under the bed, contact them.

 

Roel Loopers

DOES ECONOMIC REALITY DEMAND FREMANTLE DEVELOPMENT PRAGMATISM?

 

coles-woolstore-six-floors-2

 

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

A MAGIC FREO WINTER MOMENT

Posted in bathers beach, city of fremantle, hospitality, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on July 29, 2018

 

Beach House

 

With more heavy rain predicted for next week people took advantage of the nice winter sunshine on Sunday.

What a delightful spot the balcony at Fremantle’s Bathers Beach House is for a quiet drink and a meal while watching the Indian Ocean..

Roel Loopers

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THE REPUBLIC OF FREMANTLE

 

An application for a tavern and gin distillery at 3 Pakenham Street in Fremantle’s historic West End will be considered at Wednesday’s Planning Committee.

The Republic of Fremantle would occupy the former warehouse, that was most recently used as a cafe and photographic gallery, and accommodate up to 350 patrons, including 28 in the alfresco parklet.

Ground level would have a bar, kitchen and toilets, while the mezzanine level would be for a bar and lounge function area.

The operators want to conduct gin distillery tours and classes.

Food would be available during all operating hours of the tavern, up to one hour prior to closing time, which would be Monday to Friday 11am to midnight and Saturday and Sundays 9 am to midnight.

There would be 20-25 staff employed in the tavern and two in the distillery.

I believe this would be a very good new addition to the West End and help the much-desired evening activation of the area.

Roel Loopers

 

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PROGRESS AT THE FREMANTLE SYNAGOGUE

Posted in accommodation, city of fremantle, development, hospitality, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on July 11, 2018

 

synagogue

 

I am delighted to see this sign stating that the former synagogue building on the corner of Parry Street and South Terrace is now under contract.

The site behind the building was going to be developed into short stay tourist accommodation but heritage issues arose and the owners left the partly developed site unattended for a long time now.

It will be great to see it used again. Hopefully soon!

By the way, City of Fremantle, what is happening with the Evan Davies building in the former KULCHA spot above the Dome cafe? Restaurant development there was approved by council months ago, but nothing appears to happen. What’s going on?

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE’S BEACH IN THE CITY CENTRE

Posted in bathers beach, beaches, city of fremantle, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on July 9, 2018

 

Bathers Beach

 

The great thing about great places is that they are always controversial, so there is plenty of negativity about Fremantle from those who are not open-minded enough to see our city’s beauty.

Although I have lived in Freo for 25 years I still  find it easy to take charming photos daily, like this one I took this morning at Bathers Beach.

Roel Loopers

ARCHITECTURE COMMENDATION FOR ROUNDHOUSE FESTIVAL HUB

 

Hub commendation

 

THE HUB next to the Fremantle Roundhouse, created by Fremantle-based Harris Architects, was awarded a commendation at the recent WA architecture awards.

The Hub was created for the High Tide Biennale as the festival hub and has since become very popular for weddings on Arthur Head and school groups on excursions having their lunch break in it.

It is a delightful, light and open structure that mirrors the Roundhouse, so I am one of many who hope and wish that the City of Fremantle will allow The Hub to remain permanently on the Bathers Bay look out.

Roel Loopers

THE ROUNDHOUSE A VERY SPECIAL PLACE TO VOLUNTEER

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, historic, roundhouse, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on July 3, 2018

 

Roundhouse school holidays

 

School holidays are a busy time for the Fremantle Roundhouse volunteer guides and it shows the dedication of the mainly seniors who come from wide and far to keep the Roundhouse open for visitors every day of the year.

Gino, who is pictured in the photo above, drives 45 minutes from Sorento to Arthur Head to provide his unique Italian charm. Other guides come from Darlington, Kelmscott and Rockingham to provide the invaluable tourist service. Without them the oldest public building in Western Australia might not have become the tourist attraction it is.

The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides are in desperate need of more volunteers to do a day shift a week, or a fortnight. If you like to meet people from all over the world contact: enquiries@fremantleroundhouse.com.au

Roel Loopers

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FROM FREMANTLE BID TO FREO NOW

Posted in bid, city of fremantle, hospitality, local government, retail, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on June 30, 2018

 

Freo Now-BID

 

The Fremantle Business Improvement District-BID ceased to exist, but it will continue in a different form and with a different name- FREO NOW.

Fremantle Council decided to use the differential rate CBD traders pay as part of their funding for the new Fremantle Destination Marketing and that meant the end of BID in its present form and the financial support from the City of Fremantle.

I will try to have a meeting with BID chair Karl Bullers soon to find out what role Freo Now want to play in marketing and supporting the small retailers in Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

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