Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, development, fremantle, hospitality, tourism by freoview on April 14, 2016

Fantastic news for Fremantle today that the ADINA group will build a $ 120 million, 142 room apartment hotel on the Woolstores shopping centre site owned by Freo-based company Silverleaf. The shopping centre will also be upgraded.

The hotel will mainly feature one bed apartments, 60 studios and a few two bed rooms.

Construction will start next year and completion will be in 2018.

This is extremely good news for Fremantle after the delay of the Hilton Doubletree hotel development at Point Street, which might not happen at all when a new hotel is being built just over the road.

The Adina Hotel operators hope to take advantage of the cruise ship industry and people attending conferences in Fremantle.

All we need now is for the Department of Housing announcing they will move into Kings Square and Fremantle would be well under way of economic recovery and support for our retailers and hospitality industry.

My real big hope now is that we will get an exceptionally beautiful building on the Woolstores site. Come on Gerard O’Brien, you and Silverleaf can do it!!!

Roel Loopers




Posted in city of fremantle, development, western australia by freoview on April 14, 2016

The controversial State Development Assessment Panels-DAP are here to stay by the sound of it. The West Australian reports today that Gail McGowan, the Director General of the Planning Department, has dismissed the angst around DAPs as not being helpful.

McGowan told the West that Councils and DAPs are bound by the same planning schemes, but adding that the discretionary options DAPs have are interesting. Yep, like building a 17 storey building in the centre of Subiaco when Council’s planning scheme only allowed for eight storeys!

There has been a lot of protest by local councils against the DAP system with Vincent, South Perth, Stirling, Subiaco, Cottesloe, Mosman Park, Bayswater and others asking for it to be abandoned or significantly changed.

All development over $ 10 million is assessed by a DAP and developers of over $ 2 million projects can opt-in and bypass councils.

There is no doubt that the urban sprawl can’t go on indefinitely as WA does not have the funds for all the extra infrastructure, so urban infill makes a lot of sense. It should however only be done with quality architecture and in very targeted locations that don’t destroy the local character of especially the older suburbs.

The population of metro Perth is predicted to rise by 70 per cent by 2030 to 3.5 million, so all those new people need to be catered for.

Demographer Bernard Salt told a Property Council conference that Perth needs to address the challenge of densification and that is is inevitable as it has happened in all major cities in Australia.

City planning experts URBIS predict that within ten years 30 per cent of dwellings in Perth will be apartments.

Premier Colin Barnett warned Councils a few weeks ago that unless they get closer to their urban residential infill targets the State would take over and enforce them. That would severely erode local government democracy and is not acceptable.

I am worried about the discretionary allowances in planning schemes as they are far too often used to bypass and overrule the schemes. As I understand it the Fremantle Hougoumont Hotel in Bannister Street will be allowed to build a fifth storey loft in the West End Conservation Precinct although the planning scheme only allows four storey. The invasion of additional height in the West End under the guise that it is only a loft and set back is not acceptable and Fremantle Council and the DAPs are too lenient in that regard.

I hear the arguments that Bannister Street is not a great street and has little heritage value and already some pretty average buildings, and that to just add a little loft does not have much impact on the streetscape and surroundings, but that does not cut it for me.  It should be a matter of principle to not award discretionary height in the West End unless a very, very good case can be made that is would be the very best heritage outcome for the building, the streetscape and the West End. There would not be very many projects that would apply to.

Yes to modern development for inner city Fremantle, but only with extreme restraint and exceptional architecture.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society, kings square by freoview on April 13, 2016

The Fremantle Society is calling another public meeting, this time about the Kings Square project. While this project is very much in limbo and the business case for it questionable, I can’t see any purpose in rehashing what has been debated extensively in the local newspapers, mainstream media and on this blog and social media over the last two years or so.

The invitation to the event claims that the project would bring high-rise to Kings Square and that is incorrect, because the Myer building would be only 5 storeys and the Queensgate building in parts go up to only six storeys. That might be considered ‘high-rise’ in a country town but it is not in a modern developing city.

Fact is the project might never get off the ground unless the State Government relocates a department there. The project partners Sirona Capital and the City of Fremantle have been hoping and waiting for that for three years now.

FS also claims the project would split Kings Square in two triangles, but it has been like that for a long time, as half of the square is owned by the St John’s Church and the other triangle half by the City. Developing the City triangle won’t change that. St John’s might well want to develop their triangle or part of it in the future. The High Street road reserve splits the two triangles.

After having been a Fremantle Society committee member for many years, and president and vice president, I decided to cancel my membership with the organisation this week as I find them too narrow-focus and negative for my liking. They no longer represent my views on the future of Fremantle. Disappointing.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, heritage, western australia by freoview on April 12, 2016


As you are aware the Heritage Council recently resolved that West End, Fremantle is of cultural heritage significance in terms of the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990, and that stakeholders should be consulted on the proposal to recommend the Minister for Heritage enter the place in the State Register of Heritage Places.

We are seeking your comments on the proposed entry of West End, Fremantle in the Register. The register entry will be based on the three documents which are available on our website using the links below, so please read these carefully:

· Draft assessment documentation
· Curtilage Map – showing the area of land that is proposed to be registered
· Zones of significance – showing the level of significance of the various areas within the West End

Submissions can be made using the form on our website, or by returning the West End Submission Form by post or fax, or by emailing it to Additional comments or information can be submitted in a separate attachment. Please provide your submission to us by Monday 2 May 2016.

Please note that all owners within the West End, the City of Fremantle, and other key stakeholders, including tenants, have also been asked to comment on the proposed registration.

Following the closure of the comment period all documentation will be presented to the Heritage Council and a recommendation on whether to recommend the Minister enter West End, Fremantle in the State Register will be considered.

The ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ on our website provide answers to commonly asked questions about the State Register and the registration process. More information can be found at including a brochure on the State Register, our publication on making heritage your business advantage, and some words from owners within the precinct

Dr Kelly Fleming
Senior Heritage Officer
State Heritage Office


Posted in city of fremantle, heritage by freoview on April 11, 2016

heritage 4 heritage 3 heritage 1 heriateg 2


It appears the Fremantle Society is on a mission to discredit award-winning City of Fremantle architect and heritage coordinator Alan Kelsall, with the announcement of yet another public event on April 20. The Society president claims that “Heritage staff and Heritage Council staff have spectacularly failed to ensure good outcomes for the West End…” and mentions the former Tarantella building in Mouat Street and the Boost retail outlet on the corner of the High Street Mall as examples.

Fremantle City heritage coordinatorAlan Kelsall was awarded the highest individual heritage award in Western Australia a few weeks ago.

I agree that the new white piping at the Mouat Street building is rubbish and should at least be painted in a colour close to the colour of the brick wall. The ugly B&B signs on the facade are far more of an issue than the pipes on the sides though.

I personally don’t have issues with the Boost shop as it is a modern outlet that does not do any damage to the beautifully restored heritage facade of the Atwell Arcade building.

But when COF staff demands from the B&B in Mouat Street to paint the white plastic tubes it might also want to ask the owner of the Adelaide Steamship Company building opposite in Mouat Street to do the same to the ugly white downpipes at the back of his building. Oops, that building is owned by the Fremantle Society president.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle, photography by freoview on April 6, 2016



Taking photos of reflections is a bit of a hobby for me, but I mainly do it to make sure I concentrate and am aware of my surroundings when pounding the pavement of Fremantle.

I always point out reflections to the people who attend ROEL’S FREMANTLE PHOTO TOURS, not because I want them to shoot every reflection, but to make sure they actually notice them.

There are so many hidden gems in the detail and one needs to have one’s eyes wide open to observe them in daily life. It makes one’s days so much more beautiful and appreciative of the great city we live in.

I took this photo in High Street this morning. The reflection is in the bonnet of a blue car.

Roel Loopers/ROEL.COM.AU


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, western australia by freoview on April 4, 2016

Atwell 1


The scaffolding is coming down at the Fremantle Atwell Arcade development, so we will see some activity there in the next few months when it officially opens.

It is not a great building and that is disappointing, but it is also not at intrusive and offensive as I feared it might be. It is basically boring when it could have been inspiring.

Better architecture should be a must for every development in Fremantle, but how can we legislate for it so that it becomes reality?

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, development, western australia by freoview on April 4, 2016



On Wednesday the City of Fremantle’s Planning Committee will debate the development application for the Hougoumont Hotel extension in Bannister Street again and the officers’ recommendation is for it to be rejected as it is not compliant with the West End Conservation Area Policy.

The owners of the hotel want to build a 48 rooms, restaurant, bar and 34 car bays, and a conference room with a roof top terrace. It is basically four storeys with a loft, but since there is no preservation of heritage that might be used to get discretionary extra height the proposal is not acceptable and should be thrown out.

Final decision is with the State’s Development Assessment Panel, so we can only live in hope.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, development, fremantle, western australia by freoview on March 29, 2016


The HEIRLOOM by MATCH adaptive re-use residential development of the former Dalgety woolstores at Queen Victoria Street in Fremantle’s east CBD is taking shape, with some of the scaffolding coming down and revealing the facade.

The development is a partnership between Sirona Capital and the Match group and is being constructed by BUILT. A BUILT. supervisor confirmed to me today that the apartments are progressing well and looking great. There are still some for sale so if you would like to live in inner city Freo, why not check out this building.

Staying with development, it is interesting to note after my article on the Woolstores shopping centre site development and my call last night for better design, that the State government is now looking into introducing strict guidelines for better architecture of highrise for infill development, according to an article in today’s West Australian.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development by freoview on March 28, 2016

The plans for a 12-storey mixed-use building development by Silverleaf on the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre site will no doubt have many people in Freo up in arms since many believe that buildings of that height have no place in the CBD.

The height battle was unfortunately lost years ago when Fremantle Council rammed through very controversial Planning Scheme Amendment 49 against the majority of submissions by the public received by Council, so the building height proposed is within the PSA 49.

While I would have preferred a building not higher than 8-9 storeys in that location my main concern is the design quality of the building, as Silverleaf does not build outstanding buildings.

There was no doubt Silverleaf would develop the site once they bought the property and there was also never any doubt for me that they would go for the highest possible building allowed under PSA 49.

I doubt fighting the height at Fremantle Council or the State’s Development Assessment panel will make any difference so the best we can probably do is insist on good architecture for such a prominent building.

Roel Loopers


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