Freo's View

WORLD OF RENOVATION CLOSED DOWN

Posted in architecture, art, city of fremantle, lifestyle, living, Uncategorized by freoview on April 18, 2018

 

liquidation

 

It is disappointing but not a surprise that the World of Renovation shop by the Million Dollar Makeovers renovation experts in Fremantle’s High Street has closed down.

The business was ostentatious and pretentious, and three of the businesses of owner Sasha deBretton have gone into liquidation, according to the West Australia today.

The quite lovely cafe at the back already closed sometime in January.

Roel Loopers

THE YEAR WE HAD IN FREMANTLE

Posted in aboriginal, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 21, 2017

 

Christmas is only fours sleeps away and the year has just ten days left, so this is a good time to reflect on what kind of year it was for Fremantle. I do this randomly as important issues come to my mind.

The October local government election was a resounding rebuke for the right-leaning very vocal social media negativity, with all the sitting members re-elected. I find it hard to argue that this is not a vote of confidence in the plans and policies Fremantle Council has implemented. City ward even elected a new Green councillor.

The positivity and negativity of massive planned development is a fine line between a stunning modern Fremantle CBD and an aesthetic disaster that could kill our city’s unique heritage character.

Quite a few new hotels are in the pipeline and that will be good to attract more tourism and for visitors to stay overnight, but the many plans for more taverns in the inner city are a worry.

The Kings Square Project is finally underway and will be the game-changer Fremantle desperately needs, and the new FOMO retail concept by Sirona Capital sounds very exciting.

The change of Australia Day celebrations on January 26 to One Day on the 28th shows Fremantle council is getting more serious about Aboriginal issues, and the funding to investigate a purpose-built Aboriginal centre is also a clear indication that council wants to do more than just tokenism.

The heritage listing of the entire West End is significant and well overdue.

The cancellation of the Roe 8 Perth Freight Link by the new state government, and the Westport taskforce could well open up opportunities for the development of Victoria Quay.

The Long Table Dinner along High Street was a resounding success and raised $ 80,000 for St Pats, so well done Freo community for caring!

Fremantle City took back ownership of Fremantle Oval which opens up opportunities for good development of that precinct. And good riddance to the greedy Dockers!

The development of the South Fremantle Senior High School into Fremantle College and the departure of TAFE also create fantastic opportunities for substantial development in the heart of Beaconsfield.

Well-overdue traffic improvement in the Hilton centre are happening and so is traffic calming in South Fremantle.

The J Shed tavern saga continues and is a stand-off between what the community wants and Freo council stubbornly does not want to accept, while it also fails to concede that the Bathers Beach Arts Precinct concept is a failure.

Notre Dame University listened to the community and scrapped plans for a five-storey School of Nursing and Midwifery in High Street and bought the three-building Customs House complex instead to accommodate expansion.

Fremantle culture is maturing very well with outstanding exhibitions and concerts at the Fremantle Arts Centre and the very impressive and creative High Tide Biennale during the Fremantle Festival. More of that please!

The Cantonment Hill Project is now underway with the opening of the Tuckfield Oval playground.

The City of Fremantle has added three new communication officers, so we should rightly expect much better genuine communication and information from the City. The October election showed that there is a lot of ignorance in the community about what Fremantle Council and the administration do and that needs to be improved.

Well, that’s all that comes to my mind early this Thursday morning, so remind me what I failed to mention and I might do another article on other important issues in a few days time.

Roel Loopers

LIFESTYLE PROTECTION FOR FREO’S EAST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on September 5, 2017

 

 

Freo’s View reader David, who lives in the East End of the Fremantle CBD, commented that my letter in the West Australian last week indicated I had an anything goes attitude to that part of the city, as far as development is concerned, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I strongly believe the entire inner city demands excellent buildings that respect the unique heritage character of Fremantle, and I have expressed this many times here on the blog and in verbal and written submissions to Council.

While there is huge development potential, considerations needs to be given to the heritage buildings and streetscapes in the East End of town, where we have the beautiful Victoria Hall, Basilica, Boy’s School, Railway Station, etc.

And I believe that we need to protect the lifestyle of inner city residents, and Council needs to manage it better.

I objected to the architectural blandness of the Hilton Doubletree hotel, the proposed boring development between the Australia Hotel and St Patrick’s, and the mediocrity of the eight-story Spotlight site development.

When Defence Housing showed their initial plans at Kings Square for the six-storey LIV development at Queen Victoria Street, I suggested to one of the architects that the facade was far too long and needed to be broken up, which was met with a what would you know stare from the tall expert.

It was interesting then to read comments by the City’s Design Advisory Committee a few months later, who recommended exactly what I had done, that the facade needed to be split up. This has now been done with a large gap that creates a community piazza all the way to Quarry Street, but it should have been more with more attention to detail.

I would still have liked to see stronger vertical features on the LIV building, that would juxtaposed more with the majestic verticality of the Heirloom building opposite it.

The Fremantle Society fought under my presidency very hard against Planning Scheme Amendment 49 and the inappropriate height in some of the 13 locations. We had a scale model in the Adelaide Piazza and Woolstores to show the public what would happen, but it was to no avail and now the Woolstores shopping centre site could go up as high as eleven storeys.

The major problem I see with bureaucrats having a broad-brush approach to an area is that it stifles architectural excellence. In the right location and with great design, a cupola feature or something alike on a higher building might well look much better, even when it is a few metres higher than the planning scheme allows.

I don’t have a general objection to height in the east of the Fremantle CBD and believe it should all depend on how creative a building is and how it enhances the spatial amenity and streetscape.

For example the six-storey building on the corner of Cantonment and Parry Street, opposite the Australia Hotel, is good Freo human scale for me, because it has very attractive features, round corners and some tower like structures, instead of a boring flat roof. It does not appear to be too high because of that, but a square boring concrete box of the same height might well have been inappropriate and look too big for that corner site.

The issues with flexibility of course is that it would be very hard for planning departments to work with, developers would try to take advantage, and JDAP and SAT could allow inappropriate buildings because there is no planning scheme that disallows them. That is a big dilemma.

As it stands, the rules and regulations more often than not restrict creative design, because the attitude is that you can’t have a 2-4 metre feature sticking out above the allowed height. Somehow we need to get around that, so that we’ll get more excellent architecture in Fremantle.

Let’s have a symposium about what desirable design for Freo would be, and not just focus on height.

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!

NEW FREMANTLE PARK CLUBHOUSE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, recreation, sport, Uncategorized by freoview on May 25, 2017

 

The plans for a new clubhouse at Fremantle Park on Parry Street can finally go ahead after Fremantle Council approved it on Wednesday.

The clubhouse will become the new home for the Fremantle Workers Club, Fremantle Tennis Club and Fremantle Bowling Club which will share the two-storey premises.

The City of Fremantle also plans to build a public carpark next to it to accommodate inner city parking.

The $ 4,4 million project will be paid for by the Workers Club, the CoF and the Department of Sport and Recreation.

The Fremantle Workers Club will pay $ 1.85 million, as will the City. The State Department will pay $ 400,000, and Fremantle City will pay another $ 300,000 for the public carpark, if the use is approved by the state.

Roel Loopers

 

NO UGLINESS IN HISTORIC WEST END!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on April 23, 2017

Pakenham Street development proposal

There is an information session at the City of Fremantle on Thursday April 27 at 5.30 pm about the ridiculous development proposal for Pakenham and Phillimore streets in the heritage-listed historic West End.

The proponents want totally inappropriate five storeys of ugliness, so it is important that the community let Fremantle Councillors and State agencies know that we do not want these buildings in our heritage precinct.

You can write a submission against these proposals on the City of Fremantle website. Do it!

Roel Loopers

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CUTE DOURO ROAD MURAL ART

Posted in architecture, art, fremantle by freoview on April 9, 2017

 

This cute mural has been painted on the architecturally very creative new building at Douro Road in South Fremantle, so check it out when you ride, walk or drive by next time.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE WORLD OF RENOVATION

Posted in architecture, fremantle, home, lifestyle, living by freoview on April 5, 2017

 

Another new business will open in Fremantle’s West End in a few weeks and it’s not yet another cafe.

World of Renovation is setting up shop in a former art gallery space in High Street near the Police station.

It’s is an outlet of Claremont based  Million Dollar Makeovers, so if your old home needs a facelift or a bit of rejuvenation this might be the people to go and have a talk with.

The entire Fremantle CBD is going through a massive renovation process, so this new enterprise is very appropriate for Freo.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE EAST CBD DEVELOPMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, development, economy, hotel, housing, tourism by freoview on March 19, 2017

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.

Roel Loopers

TWO HUGE NEW FREMANTLE DEVELOPMENTS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, western australia by freoview on March 7, 2017

EXCLUSIVE!

Two big new developments in the Fremantle CBD are not far from reality. My ears are always on the ground and my eyes on the ball to pick up interesting news on the Freo grapevine and this news is huge!

It hear the derelict woolstores building opposite Clancy’s could be developed in the not too far distance. My informants tell me that Sirona Capital has shown interest in developing the heritage-listed building opposite Princess May Park that is owned by Marilyn New, the former owner of the Esplanade Hotel.

This eyesore has been an embarrassment for decades for Fremantle residents and businesses and a very ugly welcome sign for cruise ship passengers, so it would be great to see it developed and the building occupied again.

There will be a meeting about the plans at Hotel Australia next week, but I doubt it will be a public meeting.

In other news I hear that Freo developers Silverleaf have submitted their proposal to the City of Fremantle for a mixed development on the Woolstores shopping centre site at Cantonment Street.

The initial plans were not very good I have been told and the developers got frustrated having to change them several times while working with CoF planning officers and the Design Advisory Committee, but one elected member told me that the submitted plans “look surprisingly good.”

Planning Scheme Amendment 49 for that specific location allows for up to 11 storeys, if my memory is correct, so expect the proposal to be for a very large and high development.

My understanding is that the development will happen in two stages and that it involves a hotel, commercial and residential floor space and ground-level retail, so stay tuned.

The development of these two major sites in the East CBD is huge, especially in context of the planned and approved Hilton Doubletree, Spotlight and former Energy Museum sites developments.

The modernisation of that part of the inner city that is known as ‘Little Beirut’ will greatly enhance Fremantle’s tourism and retail potential and is another significant step forward to a prosperous future for our city.

Roel Loopers

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