Freo's View



Predictably the Fremantle Society has lodged a submission with the City of Fremantle against the planning approval for a mixed use development of the Woolstores shopping centre site, as the FS  president shared with his members.

John Dowson argues that there is no need to rush the development of the site and that the City should take possession of the six shops near the corner of Elder Place and Queen Street, which was investigated by Fremantle Council last year, but no action taken.

The Society has many arguments against the development, and I too have heard some architects say the plans were disappointing, while others find it acceptable. I believe the development would be a huge improvement to the bland and boring building that is currently there, so that would be a big step forward to modernising that run-down part of Fremantle’s CBD, and for me that is a priority for our city.

Of course the plans could be different and better, and if we asked 25 architects we would get 25 different plans, and everyone of them would receive criticism from the public and other architects. That is the simple reality of life and anything creative. Someone else will always have another, maybe better, idea on how to improve our city.

For example, as a layman, I would have liked to see the corner of the building at Cantonment Street be rounded, to compliment the other corner and also the roundabout there, and there are no doubt many other ideas on how the plans could be improved, but too many cooks…..

I am more interested in the big picture and see the development in context with what is happening at Kings Square, the Little Lane residential development over the road, the proposed Hilton Doubletree hotel development, the Energy Museum development, a possible new use for the Adelaide Plaza next to the Basilica, and maybe a new hotel on the former Spicers site at William Street.

All these developments, once realised, will make that part of Fremantle much safer, and far more attractive and it will start creating the 24/7 economy and lifestyle that Fremantle needs, if our retailers and hospitality providers are going to survive.

We all want perfection and outstanding architecture, but that will not happen overnight. We need to accept that progress is slow and not always perfect, but the plans for the Woolstores are a big improvement for this significant site, and I hope they will be approved, and that Silverleaf Investments will commence with the construction very fast.

Roel Loopers




My hope that the Fremantle Hilton Doubletree hotel might be starting soon might well be premature, as I assumed the development application by the SKS Group is merely a modification and not an all new plan.

Unfortunately I have been advised by the City of Fremantle’s Planning Department that the application is a new one, and should it be approved by JDAP next year SKS would have to commence the development only within four years, and that is a very long way away for a development that is very significant for Fremantle.

SKD have been delaying the construction of the building reportedly because of de-watering problems on the Point Street site, where they wanted to have two basement carpark levels, but this new application would now give them the scope to delay by another four years, which would be extremely disappointing.

One can only hope that contractual arrangements with the Hilton hotel group will have a completion date for the hotel that is sooner, rather than much later. Time will tell.

Roel Loopers



KS 1

KS 3

KS 2


The latest photos of what the City of Fremantle new Civic Centre development at Kings Square looks like.


Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, city planning, development, local government, tourism, Uncategorized, youth by freoview on November 27, 2019


There is an interesting opinion piece by URBIS director Kris Nolan in today’s West Australian.

Nolan writes that Fremantle Council is on the right track with its push for more inner city development, but he laments, like so many of us have done for years, the missing connectivity between Victoria Quay and the Fishing Boat Harbour.

I am one of many in the Freo community who does not understand that that link is not a priority for Fremantle Council, that constantly talks about the need for more activation of the West End.

Nolan also points out that there is a lack of young people in the CBD and that Council should address that, which it has to a certain degree with the planned stunning new playground at Kings Square. One should also not underestimate the impact the closure of Hungry Jacks on the Cappuccino Strip has, that attracted a lot of young people.

So what would Fremantle’s Youth Council like to see in the inner city?

Roel Loopers



Dev 1

Dev 2


Very good to see the start of another development in the Fremantle inner city, with builders McCorkell taken possession of the former Warders Cottages in Henderson Street next to the Fremantle Markets.

The site which is owned by the Hougoumont Hotel people will become a tiny boutique hotel and a tavern at the back between the cottages and the market.

At the former Energy Museum in Parry Street the Match group has put signs up that they will commence with the residential M/27 development there as well, and just down the road at Adelaide Street the Yolk property group has also indicated they will be starting with the Little Lane residential building soon as well.

If, as expected and I hope, Silverleaf Investments will get the go ahead for the Woolstores hotel development, that will also start in the first quarter of next year, so things are very much on the move in good old Freo!

Roel Loopers




There is a very good article about Fremantle by Kim Macdonald in the WestBusiness Insider magazine of the West Australian newspapers.

The front cover headline is Freo, The Billionaires&The Future with photos of Andrew Forrest and Angela Bennett.

The five-page article mentions that there is a lot of interest for investment and development in Fremantle by some of the biggest players in Western Australia, such as Bennett, Forrest, Adrian Fini, Sirona Capital, Silverleaf Investments, etc.

Sirona Capital’s Matthew McNeilly is quoted as saying that there is a lot of love for Fremantle….because you cannot find another Fremantle anywhere else in Australia.

Angela Bennett’s son Todd is the executive director of AMB Capital that wants to do a major development in the Fishing Boat Harbour south of Little Creatures, with residential and short-stay accommodation, retail, food, etc.

Twiggy Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation owns the Spicers site on the corner of William Street and the Henderson Street mall and they are doing a feasibility on developing that into a lifestyle boutique hotel, while the Fini Group wants to develop the Italian Club site, south of the Esplanade, into apartments, a boutique hotel and wellness centre.

Silverleaf Investments is busy developing the Mannings Building, is close to starting the Woolstores hotel development, and also have approved plans for the former Police&Justice complex between Parry and Henderson streets.

Silverleaf’s Gerard O’Brien told WestBusiness that Fremantle is magnetic. Perth wants the CBD Fremantle has got.

It is really good to see the West Australian acknowledging the huge and positive transformation Fremantle is going through. It is a shame though to hear from a Freo newsagent that the magazine was not inserted in the newspapers he got on Thursday, so many people who asked for it were disappointed it was not available.

Roel Loopers







Quite a few people criticising the new Woolstores plans on social media say it is not very Fremantle, so when are we going to define what very Fremantle is, and who is going to make that judgment?

Is modern and daring architecture not very Freo? Is anything taller than five storeys not very Freo? Is mock heritage very Freo? What is very Freo when it comes to new and existing buildings?

We can all and always argue about taste because we all have a different opinion about what beauty is, but what makes a building very Freo?

A well-known Cottesloe architect said on Facebook some weeks ago that the architects who designed the Kings Square buildings did not get the Fremantle context, so what is the Fremantle context when we talk about architecture, and how can the state make planning rules, so that our Council and state agencies such as JDAP and SAT understand what very Freo development should be?

Roel Loopers





Manning 1

Manning 2



The centre core of the new City of Fremantle Civic Centre is now clearly visible when one looks at it from the first floor of the Fremantle Mall in William Street. The core will allow daylight to flood down into the basement library and surroundings.

Over the road the redevelopment of the Manning’s Chambers by Silverleaf Investments is also progressing well and it looks great. I hear that it also looks stunning inside the building with all new handmade window frames for the offices there which are already leased to 80%.

Silverleaf Investments is one of the major players in Fremantle and often gets a lot of criticism, but I believe while the community and Council always will have to demand top quality development we also have to acknowledge how significant all the Silverleaf development is for our city.

Silverleaf is developing the Woolstores, Manning’s Chambers, the Police&Justice complex and will no doubt also make changes to the Newport hotel they own, so this family business is very important for Fremantle and should be respected for that.

The Yolk Property group is also playing a part in Fremantle’s renaissance with the Little Lane development next to Target, and if the SKS Group finally makes a move on the Hilton Double Tree hotel development the inner city of Fremantle will be substantially modernised to attracts more people to live, work and visit. Bring it on!

Roel Loopers





It looks like 2020 could be a huge building bonanza for Fremantle with the probable start of three major developments close to each other in the city centre,

New hotel plans by Silverleaf Investments for the Woolstores shopping centre will go to public consultation soon, and I hear the SKS group is getting serious about the Hilton Double Tree development on the Point Street car park site, while the Yolk Property Group has indicated they will also start soon on the Little Lane residential development at the former Spotlight site next to Target.

Sirona Capital will open the new buildings at Kings Square and the FOMO retail and hospitality concept in the first quarter of next year, and the Housing Department will move in above it.  The City of Fremantle’s new Civic Centre is due for completion by the end of 2020.

The refurbishment of the Mannings Building is looking great, but I hear the micro brewery part of it is on hold because Silverleaf Investments have also obtained the Newport Hotel next to it and want to open up the back of it to create a hospitality hub in Paddy Troy Lane, where Benny’s cafe and bar is already creating an alfresco area.

In the West End The Social residential development on the former Fremantle Workers Club site in Henry street is also progressing well.

Still no word when the Match group will start on the residential development at the former Energy Museum site at Parry street, and when Silverleaf Investments will begin with the development of the former Police and Justice complex in Henderson Street.

Hopefully the Minderoo Trust and Forest Family Foundation will develop the sites they bought in Fremantle soon as well

I find it inspiring to witness Fremantle’s transformation toward a city of a mix of stunning heritage buildings and many new modern buildings. It’s the facelift Freo had to have.

I am certain there are great times ahead for Fremantle.

Roel Loopers




Civic Centre


I assume that the angle of the steel beams is the start of the grassy slope Civic Room of the new City of Fremantle Civic Centre at Kings Square.

I love seeing the new community and library building take shape more and more.

Roel Loopers


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