This photo taken from the top of the Fremantle Townhall on Friday has historic significance for Fremantle as the inner east CBD will look very different in a few years from now with major development plans for the area.
In about five years we will see the new Woolstores shopping centre commercial, hotel and student development by Silverleaf, the Point Street Hilton Doubletree hotel project, and the eight-storey residential development of the former Spotlight building, and just beyond that the residential development next to the Hotel Australia at Beach Street.
The Fremantle QUEST serviced apartments hotel in Pakenham Street opened yesterday, so let your visitors know about this new accommodation in the port city.
It is very important for the Fremantle economy to keep visitors here over night, instead of them going to Perth or elsewhere, so the more tourist accommodation the better.
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!
The start of construction of the Fremantle Hilton Doubletree hotel on the Point Street carpark site has been delayed again with Fremantle Council on Wednesday agreeing to extend the contract by one year.
Council approved the sale of the site in December 2012 and the contract required the SKS group who bought the property to commence building within three years of receiving planning approval, however SKS has now advised the City of Fremantle it will not start construction before the second quarter of 2017.
Council does have the option to buy back the property at an estimated value of $ 9.6 million, but what would it do with it then?
The construction delay is because of dewatering issues for the basement of the new building that now has to be redesigned, according to SKS.
What is means is that we will have to live with this ugly eyesore for another year in the centre of the city.
Sirona Capital was also granted a six months extension to finalise its lease negotiations with the WA Government for the Department of Housing to move to Kings Square.
There is a lot going on in Fremantle in the retail and hospitality sector with a New Orleans style cafe opening in Phillimore Street near Cliff Street and the Stable Hand cafe in Bannister Street.
In Market Street Wassup Dog will start selling gourmet hotdogs where the Freo Kebab shop was, opposite the National Hotel, and ACAI Brothers have opened in High Street west where the newsagent next to the Adam Monk gallery used to be and sell superfoods.
Chemist Warehouse has moved next door in Adelaide Street into the bigger former Dick Smith shop and the Italians are modernising with Galati’s at Wray Avenue changing the shop layout and Romano’s at Lefroy Road doing the same and including a cafe.
If you know of any new shops, cafes, etc. that open in Freo let me know please so I can keep the wider community informed about those positive changes in our city.
Oh, and the QUEST short-term apartment hotel at Pakenham Street has its sign up and will open in six weeks on November 23.
A lot of good changes are happening in Fremantle!
It was interesting to hear, while I was being interviewed on RTRFM radio yesterday morning about unacceptable mediocre development in the Fremantle inner city, that the 5-storey development proposal for 18-22 Adelaide Street has now become a significant development and that the period for submissions will therefore be extended.
It is beyond me that the City of Fremantle Planning Department believed that a five-storey development in the heart of the heritage city, opposite Freo’s oldest church St John’s and the historic Townhall could be of low significance to the community.
I was the first on Freo’s View on September 27 to report about this under the headline “Outrageous ugliness proposed for Kings Square.” I followed that up with an article two days later about the unacceptable mediocrity of most buildings proposed for the Fremantle CBD.
Interesting to note in that regard that the Fremantle Society claims the front page of the Fremantle Herald and two letters from FS to the CoF changed the mind of the City of Fremantle planners, when they should have given credit that it was Freo’s View who disclosed the plans first.
Because it is now a significant development we can now also show an artist drawing of the proposal that shows three storeys of set-back square boxes with balconies, above the heritage facade, that make no reference to the vertical lines of the neighbouring buildings and the general vertical character of heritage buildings in Fremantle. It’s not good enough and the plans should be withdrawn and redrawn!
If only all architects had the values of Perth architect Jean-mic Perrine who states on his company’s website that he tells his co-workers that they have a duty to create beauty and that mediocre buildings are not an option. Amen to that!
Bland mediocrity with very little colour is the fashion of the day for new development in Fremantle as architects keep designing uninspiring buildings for our inner city.
So it is great to finally see some bold colours in Short Street where they are giving the building opposite Spare Parts Puppet Theatre a facelift.
The QUEST apartment hotel is also getting a splash of colour on the corner of Pakenham Street there, but I am not certain that all that blue matches up well with the cladding of the building.
I also thought these glass panels were going to show a heritage feature and not just a modern abstract art work.
Good to see new short-stay accommodation units added to the Be. apartments on Mews Road that overlook Bathers Bay and have a great view of the Roundhouse and Fremantle Port cranes, and good to see that they are doing it in the same style as the older ones.
It’s no doubt the best tourist stay accommodations in Fremantle at the yacht harbour and only a lovely ten-minute walk into the centre of Freo.
I went and had a look at the development plans for 18-22 Adelaide Street at the City this morning and I am outraged that architects could have so little respect for Fremantle’s heritage and character.
The five-storey short-term accommodation building is a disgrace because of its utter blandness and ugliness. The architects and developers no doubt believe they can get away with sticking three storey of ugly concrete boxes with balconies above the two lower levels because they are set back, but it is the most horrible architecture, if one can use that word for it, one could imagine for that location at historic Kings Square and next to a beautiful old building to the west of it.
For this disrespectful architecture we should open up the stocks at the Roundhouse again, so those who ‘designed’ the disgraceful proposal can get some appreciation of the beauty and heritage of Fremantle.
The proposed building is cheap, ugly, unacceptable and shows absolute disregard for what Fremantle is about!
Stop ugly development now, City of Fremantle, or you will have a riot on your hands!
Please do put your submissions against this unacceptable development in writing to the City of Fremantle by October 6. We can not tolerate this ugliness in the centre of our city. The plans are available for viewing at the reception desk at COF, so don’t take my word for it but get enraged yourselves when you see them.