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.
After a very busy day as volunteer guide at the Roundhouse I am going to be a lazy bugger and just copy the latest media release by the City of Fremantle about the Kings Square and Central City Masterplan below:
The City of Fremantle is progressing with detailed planning work ahead of construction of the $220m Kings Square Project which will transform the heart of Fremantle into a vibrant civic, retail, commercial and community hub.
The current focus for the City is the development of a coordinated masterplan to link public spaces in Kings Square with other key parts of the city centre.
The masterplan will include upgrades to the Kings Square public spaces as well as enhancements to connecting areas including Queen, Adelaide and Point streets and the development of a new public square at the Fremantle Train Station.
“The Kings Square project is a catalyst project with a far greater flow-on benefit for Fremantle than just the development of buildings in the Kings Square precinct itself,” said acting Mayor Dave Coggin.
“The project has always been seen by council as a way to reconnect public spaces in central Fremantle which have become disconnected from the city centre over several decades.
“The current work is focused on how best to upgrade surrounding areas which flow towards Kings Square to ensure the entire city centre is well-connected and a more attractive place for visitors, workers and businesses.
“Sirona has entered commercial negotiations with the Department of Finance, which is the next stage in the state government’s Fremantle office accommodation process and this is very positive and encouraging for the project’s future delivery.
“The current master planning work being undertaken will enable us to deliver what will be a game changing project for Fremantle as soon as possible after these commercial discussions are finalised,” Mr Coggin said.
Kings Square and City Centre Masterplan
As part of ongoing work, the City will develop an over-arching masterplan for the public realm in key city centre precincts. This masterplan will guide the detailed design and sequencing of the individual projects which will see parts of the city upgraded with better roads and footpaths, new street furniture, bike lanes, hard and soft landscaping, public art, lighting and CCTV.
The focus areas in the Kings Square and City Centre Masterplan are:
• Kings Square public realm upgrade
• a new city square at Fremantle Station Precinct
• Queen, Adelaide and Point street upgrades
• City Centre Northern Gateway: Proclamation Tree, Queen Victoria and Parry Street intersection upgrades.
The masterplan also recognises two important public open spaces: Pioneer Park and Princess May Park.
Another much-needed development in Fremantle’s east CBD is closer to getting approval with the Planning Committee of the City of Fremantle on Wednesday recommending approval for the eight-storey residential/mix-use building on the former Spotlight site next to Target and the Westgate mall at Queen Adelaide Street.
Many Freo people refer to that part of town as Little Beirut because it is run down and attracts anti-social behaviour in the area and people are reluctant to wait at the bus stops there. Just a few hundred meters east of it the Hilton Doubletree Hotel development should also be starting in early 2017.
I have commented on the unattractive design of the building here on Freo’s View before but strongly believe that development will improve and activate the east CBD and that is absolutely necessary.
The building is opposite the ugly Johnson Court, that recently received a new coat of paint and looks a tiny bit better.
I agree with Mayor Brad Pettitt’s sentiment that almost anything is an improvement for the area, but don’t agree with him that this is a good development. Fremantle Council and the State’s DAP need to push for more quality architecture and outstanding design and not accept mediocrity, as that is slowly becoming the norm for new development in our beautiful city.
The Kings Square partnership project contract between the City of Fremanle and Sirona Capital is due for review in a few weeks and the Fremantle community would like to know where from here, as there still has been no announcement by State Government that a department will be relocated to Fremantle and Kings Square.
Will the City extend the contract by another year and keep living in hope, or will the project be abandoned? Will that decision be left to the discretion of retiring CEO Graeme McKenzie or will it go back to full council to make a decision about the future of Kings Square and the shaky partnership?
I hear that Sirona might be willing to purchase the Queensgate building even if the project is not going ahead, but would that be the best outcome for Fremantle? The City would then have to lease back office space from Sirona and also pay rent for many parking bays for staff in the Queensgate building, while selling off a major community asset.
Would the COF still want to go ahead with building the new civic centre designed by Kerry Hill Architects if the project is scrapped and would that make sense? The civic centre alone will do very little to revitalise Kings Square and it would be a very expensive development in the CBD. Maybe the City should consider moving a large number of staff to a new development on the Knutsford Street workshop site, when that is being vacated and it moves to O’Connor in the very near future.
Should the Kings Square project be scrapped it would probably also mean that the Spicers development on the corner of Henderson and William street, opposite the Fremantle Markets, would not go ahead and the carpark there would remain.
I am surprised that in the latest Annual Report Mayor Brad Pettitt expresses his confidence that a State department will move to Fremantle when all the State has done is advertise for expression of interest to lease space in Fremantle to a department. With the precarious financial situation WA is in and the sale of Fremantle Port now also unlikely to proceed it is questionable the State will spend a lot of money on moving a department to Fremantle.
While it is good for Fremantle to see so much mainly residential development happening in the CBD, it is disappointing that the Kings Square project is still in limbo and that the project partners quite clearly have no alternative plans if a State department does not move into the Myer building.
Something new, big and bold needs to happen at Kings Square because the status quo of the old and tired looking civic square is not a great promotion for Freo’s image of a thriving city.
The Fremantle CBD has another parklet in Pakenham Street, that makes it the third parklet in that street and the removal of six parking bays. The well-built parklet by Scapes Unlimited is at the Fremantle Backpackers.
Just down the road a new one was installed at the Natural Light cafe and Bread in Common has had one since opening. Together with the parklet in High Street at Lapa, that is rarely used by diners, alfresco dining parklets have removed eight bays from the West End and retailers are not at all happy about it.
It is my understanding that the Kings Square partnership project between the City of Fremantle and Sirona Capital is due for review in April, so what will happen to the much heralded development plans that were supposed to start the economic revitalisation of Fremantle?
We have been waiting for years for the State Government to announce if/when they will move the Department of Housing to Fremantle. It was supposed to be announced again last December but nothing has eventuated. The joint-venture partners don’t appear too confident this will happen with Many 6100-the former Myer building-now starting a roof top bar again and opening and art space in the basement, while the COF is renting out cheap space for creatives at the Queensgate building.
So who will make the decision to cancel the contract with Sirona? Will it be at the discretion of CEO Graeme McKenzie, who will leave Fremantle at the end of June, or would it have to be ratified by full council?
The partners have been pretty good at living in hope and not revealing much about alternative plans, and accepting the development delays. The assurances made to me personally a year and a half ago at the Moore&Moore cafe by Sirona’s general manager Matthew McNeilly that they had a plan B, C, etc. should Housing not come to the table appear pretty empty now after all this time and no progress whatsoever.
It’s time for a change of plans Fremantle Council, because the Godot-like wait for the development of our city square can’t continue indefinitely and the part-time Many 6100 has not created the retail activation the Freo CBD needs.
Freo’s View reader David sent me some email last night about the now derelict Hilton Double Tree hotel development site on the corner of Point and Queen Adelaide streets. The developers have announced a delay of two years and David suggested the City of Fremantle could do what some eastern state councils do and beautify the area and make it into a park for the time being.
I think the idea is good but the land is no longer owned by the City and insurance issues might also be a consideration.
Does anyone have ideas how we could make a positive out of a negative and make the land near Princess May Park and the old Boys School more attractive?
It is disappointing to see that there is still no building start for the Hilton Double Tree development at Fremantle’s Queen Adelaide and Point street as it was projected to start late 2015.
The site now looks derelict but the City of Fremantle told me the developers have agreed to tidy it up. They demolished the retail buildings but left the Point Street carpark standing and operational. According to my source the SKS Group have not yet applied for a building permit although all development approvals have been given by the WA Development Assessment Panel.
I contacted SKS yesterday and asked if they could tell me an estimated time of building commencement but they have not responded to my email.
The Hilton development is in my opinion critical to Fremantle’s economic recovery as it would create substantial tourist accommodation, which is lacking in our city. It is also essential for the creation of a much better Princess May Park and the modernisation of the eastern part of the CBD, so I hope the delay will not be as lengthy as the Kings Square project one.
It wasn’t a good start for the first working day of the year for the builders of the Heirloom by Match residential development in Fremantle’s Queen Victoria Street. Fire broke out in a generator at around 8.30 this Saturday morning and the fire brigade had to attend to it.
The Heirloom heritage project is a joined development between the Match group and Sirona Capital and will create around 160 apartments in Freo’s east CBD. It is the beginning of the revitalisation of that part of the inner city with several other developments starting soon.
The announcement by Sunset Events that the 2016 Blues&Roots Festival will be scrapped and that they will relaunch the event at the Fremantle Esplanade in 2017 as the Blues, Roots and Beyond raises serious questions about the management of the embattled Esplanade Reserve that has to cope with far too many events.
The B&R attracts between 12,000 and 16,000 visitors and Director David Chittey told the media they want to boost these numbers by having gigs in other venues throughout the port city “To bring the heart of Freo alive.”
This would be achieved by allowing pass outs and supplying ticket holders with wrist bands that will give them access to the other venues as well as the Esplanade. One can assume at least two of these other venues will be Sunset Events managed J Shed at Arthur Head and the Drillhall(former Fly by Night).
Fremantle Council has identified that the Esplanade is over used for events in the summer months, so which events will be forced to go somewhere else to make way for the B, R and B?
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt sounds all excited saying that moving the festival to the Esplanade Reserve with create a stronger connection with the city, but inner city activities need to be better managed to not inconvenience residents and businesses in the area unfairly compared to those in other parts of town.
Sunset Events will already organise concerts that will attracts 12,000 paying customers yearly to J Shed, if the WA Planning Commission gives the go ahead for that next week, so they are going to make a shitload of money in the historic precinct without paying much rent and without having to upgrade the J Shed and build a proper venue with toilets, kitchen, etc. They also hold the Jerome Laneway Festival on the Esplanade each year. So far they have not started on their commitment to invest some $ 3 million on restoring the heritage Drillhall they are renting from the National Trust, so their investment in Fremantle is nil while they are reaping all the benefits and make serious money.
It is time for the Esplanade Masterplan to set a proper management structure for events and limit them, because the grass surface can’t cope and has just cost the City of Fremantle’s ratepayers $ 100,000.00.