The continuing delay of the development of the Hilton Doubletree hotel on the Fremantle Point Street carpark site and the delay of settlement of the Spicer site at Henderson Street raises questions about the contracts the City of Fremantle signs with developers.
It is nice to have a clause in the Hilton sales contract that stipulates the City can buy back the site if development does not happen within a certain period, but it is totally useless as Fremantle is not in a financial position to buy back the Point Street property, and anyway, what to do with it then?
The delay of the Kings Square project meant that valuable revenue from the Queensgate carpark was lost to the COF and the delay of settlement with Sirona Capital of the Spicer property also means that Fremantle will have to wait till they get paid for it, when the City’s coffers are very empty.
Would it not be better to include penalties for delays, let’s say $ 10,000 per week, as that would be a clear message that Fremantle wants and needs development now and not sometime down the track when the Hilton developers have built three other hotels in Perth first.
Money is a great incentive to get things done fast and buy-back clauses are unrealistic when the City of Fremantle does not have the money for it.
The old Moreton Bay fig tree at Fremantle’s Kings Square in not in a great condition and arborists are monitoring it carefully.
Experts say soil contamination is to blame for it, not strangulation by the Christmas Tree wires, as alleged by the Fremantle Society.
The plane trees at Kings Square are all being prepared for relocation and are standing in a puddle of muddy water to make them stronger for the journey.
The demolition of the Queensgate building is starting in April and that will be the commencement of the Kings Square Project.
Here another scenic shot taken from the Fremantle Townhall last Friday with the new Atwell Arcade building prominently in the foreground.
Sirona Capital has requested that the settlement with the City of Fremantle of the sale of the Spicer site on the corner of William and Henderson streets will be delayed for 12 months to May 9, 2018.
The site was sold to Sirona for $ 6.65 million and according to expert advise the market value of the property has remained the same.
The Spicer site development is part of the Kings Square Project where Sirona develops the former Myer and Queensgate buildings, build a new Civic Centre and develop the Spicer site with a five-storey building.
It would probably be a big task for any developer to do all that development in the same area at the same time, so Council will probably approve the settlement delay at Wednesday’s full Council meeting.
Above another historic photo taken from the top of the Townhall that shows the Kings Square and Fremantle Oval Project development areas, and of course the Henderson Street Courthouse/Police precinct will also be developed by Silverleaf.
There is an interesting opinion piece in the West Australian today about the limitations of urban infill and the necessity of regional development.
Higher density in established suburbs and near railway stations and bus lines is not something that can go on indefinitely, so other alternatives need to be considered.
The WA state government has long been talking about decentralisation and to its credit has moved some departments out of the Perth CBD, but private businesses and large corporations still appear reluctant to open offices outside of Perth.
Most big law, mining and advertising companies are in Perth or West Perth and Fremantle has been struggling for decades to attract large companies to relocate here.
While it is good that Fremantle has so much residential, commercial and tourist development at the moment, there is only limited space in the inner city and we need to protect the unique character and heritage attraction of our city.
But decentralisation and city planning needs to become a much bigger picture than that even and fast rail transport to places like Northam, Albany, Bunbury and Geraldton should be considered.
Mining companies should start building permanent accommodation for their personnel in the Pilbara to decrease the high-polluting FIFO process and increase the regional population.
The Perth metropolitan urban sprawl needs to stop because it is not sustainable and too expensive, but filling up character older suburbs with ugly high concrete boxes is also not the solution.
What our politicians lack is big visionary thinking when it comes to planning the regional cities of the future. Planning is still far too much Perth-centric that will only worsen the traffic, public transport and environmental problems that are inevitable when too many people are squeezed into city living.
Innovative integrated regional development should be a priority for the new McGowan Labor government.
There was a rather exciting BID-Business Improvement District meeting at the National Hotel on Wednesday evening that spelled out the future of the Fremantle inner city, and I was very impressed.
Mayor Brad Pettitt said it was important that the business community engaged with the City and that they went on the journey together.
Pettitt admitted the next 3 years are going to be challenging for inner city traders because of the disruptions caused by the massive development at Kings Square and elsewhere in the CBD.
The Mayor said it was disappointing that the Hilton Doubletree hotel development on the Point Street carpark site will now only start in the first quarter of next year, so that is another lengthy delay.
The more I see of Gerard O’Brien, the boss of Fremantle developers Silverleaf, the more I like his no-nonsense approach and straight-forward message that Fremantle only has a three-year window before Garden City will more than double in size.
“We need to keep moving as we have suffered big time in Fremantle”, O’Brien said. “We need to get our act together and support each other as a community and Council. It needs to be a team effort!”
Silverleaf has huge plans for Fremantle and O’Brien said that they are only the custodians and want to leave something behind that all of Freo can be proud off, not just a glass box.
O’Brien then revealed his plans for the Woolstores shopping centre site and that is very exciting for Fremantle. The development is 26,000 square metres.
There will be an Adina Hotel, commercial floorspace and -hallelujah!- student accommodation! Plus a shopping centre at ground level and underground parking.
Coles will keep trading during the construction period and Gerard O’Brien believed that was essential to keep attracting shoppers into the inner city.
O’Brien said the design of the building pays tribute to the heritage and pays homage to the environment the new building will be in.
I quite like the old&new architecture with red bricks at ground level and vertical cladding similar to the new Perth library and theatre buildings, while the levels above that are very modern, but quite striking and minimalist.
The entire roof will be solar panels, which O’Brien said was a good investment, while the windows will be double-glazed and have new technology in them that will keep out the sun and keep the interior cool. I am impressed!
Silverleaf will also be developing “ the beautiful piece of history” former police and courthouse complex and Warders Cottages at Henderson Street into three-star history tourist accommodation with 64 rooms. It will also have a market place open space and four different concepts that are all about tourism.
New BID CEO Tim Milsom said the transformation of Fremantle is about to happen and that Silverleaf could develop anywhere in the world but chooses to do so in Fremantle.
Milsom said BID have plans for a creative hub and an aspirational business mix but O’Brien said that Fremantle has enough specialty stores.
Milsom said we need to find out from the community and visitors what is missing in Fremantle and what will bring people back. For example there is no hardware store in Freo anymore.
There is no bakery or butcher or corner deli in the CBD either, but more than a dozen new shops will open in Fremantle soon, so that is more good news.
Many 6160 are moving from the former Myer building at Kings Square to the former Spotlight building next to Target and are due to open next week.
I put my neck on the line and say that this is very good news for Fremantle and that we are on the right track to create a great vibrant city where hundreds of tourists will stay over night, eat, drink and shop and where we will finally have many students living in the inner city.
While WA is having a state election in five days here in Fremantle the knives are already out for the October Council election that includes electing a new Mayor.
Although Mayor Brad Pettitt has yet to announce if he will be standing and try to get another four years, former Mayor Peter Tagliaferri launched a major attack on Petitt in the Fremantle Herald, that was strongly criticised by Councillor Jon Strachan on his blog.
Strachan told ‘Tags’ that he had served under him and Pettitt and that the leadership of the two Mayors was poles apart. Strachan claims there was “deep division” in the Tagliaferri Council while the Pettitt Council professionally works together.
Strachan writes that during the greatest economic boom in W.A. Mayor Tagliaferri had failed to attract investment into Fremantle.
It is evident from all the building sites around the Fremantle CBD that the present Council headed by Mayor Brad Pettitt has opened the doors of Freo wide and very substantial development is happening in the port city and much more in the pipeline.
Jon Strachan asked Peter Tagliaferri who his candidate for Mayor will be in October. I wonder if it could be someone from the Labor party?
There are rumours abound that former state politician Adele Carles might put her hand up, but time will tell and we’ll need to wait and see if Pettitt wants to continue with the very-demanding and highly-criticised job.
On a personal note; although I have been asked by many Freo residents to stand for Council I will not contest the October election!
Fremantle Notre Dame University Vice Chancellor Celia Hammond has advised city residents that the university has asked the state’s Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP to adjourn the application for a five-storey development at 3 High street by four weeks so that the university can further explore the details.
The application was scheduled to be considered by JDAP next Thursday on March 9.
UNDA are engaging an independent heritage specialist to assist them in addressing the heritage matters which have been raised. They will also be seeking the input and comments of the City Officers and Councillors throughout this time, the Vice Chancellor said.
This is a very professional and mature approach by Notre Dame University and shows real consideration and respect for the feedback they received from Fremantle Council and residents.
WA’s Joint Development Assessment Panel-JDAP will make a ruling on the development application by Fremantle’s Notre Dame University for a five-storey building at 3 High Street on Thursday March 9 at 9.30 am.
The council chambers are located on the first floor of the council offices at 8 William Street, Fremantle. Access to the council chambers is via the stairs located next to the children’s playground on the eastern side of the building.
Should you wish to speak at the JDAP meeting, please complete a presentation request form which can be found via the following link https://www.planning.wa.gov.au/7581.asp which must be submitted to the JDAP secretariat via email@example.com
For contact details, accessing the agenda and additional information please visit the http://www.planning.wa.gov.au/Development-Assessment-Panels.asp.
Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend the meeting and address the panel as I will be in Fiona Stanley Hospital that day, so please do raise your objections and submit your written protest against this totally inappropriate and very ugly building for Freo’s West End!!