Freo's View

OLD AND NEW AT FREMANTLE’S KINGS SQUARE

 

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The demolition of the Fremantle council buildings at Kings Square continues. It looks pretty impressive with the new buildings rising behind it.

Great to see that the eastern wall of the Townhall has been well preserved.

Roel Loopers

WHY THE FREO CIVIC CENTRE DELAY?

 

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am a supporter of the Fremantle Kings Square Redevelopment Project, so I am reluctant to post an article that can be perceived as being negative, but I was surprised to hear at a traders information meeting at the Federal Hotel last evening that the completion of the new civic centre building is now estimated to be the first half of 2020.

I am very certain that from the start we were told that the Sirona Capital redevelopment of the former Myer and Queensgate buildings and the City of Fremantle civic centre would be coordinated and finish at the same time, because the civic centre is a smaller building that would require less time to be built. So what then is the reason for a six months delay when the whole project was due to be finished by the end of 2019, and why has the City of Fremantle not been transparent about this? I am personally disappointed about the delay and the lack of transparency.

The second council building at Newman Court will be demolished by the end of October and a special council meeting is scheduled for October 31 to approve a tender to build the new civic centre. That special council meeting was scheduled some weeks ago but then cancelled, and we don’t know why that was either. PLEASE communicate CoF. Transparency is the enemy of conspiracy!

It will take about 12 months to prepare a replacement mature Moreton Bay fig tree for the Christmas tree and it might have to be lowered from a helicopter. Now that would be exciting!

There will be a big radio campaign for Christmas Support Freo Now! and the Queensgate carpark will open three levels and 470 car bays by the end of October.

Nightwork-till midnight-will have to be done on the former Myer building to put structural steel in to support the new additional level. This is done to have less impact on local traders during the daytime.

Roel Loopers

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN FREO CIVIC CENTRE

 

 

The City of Fremantle civic centre building at Kings Square is almost gone, but the bigger one at William Street and Newman Court will still have to be demolished next.

At the new building on the former Queensgate site only one more floor needs to be added until we can see the moderate five-storey height of the building.

Here some progress photos I took at around 4pm on Wednesday.

Roel Loopers

HISTORIC FREO CIVIC CENTRE DEMOLITION

 

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It is a historic day for Fremantle with the civic centre being demolished today.

Here the before photo I took yesterday morning, and in a few hours I’ll show you what it looks like after the walls came tumbling down.

For me the anticipation of what is to come at Kings Square is like a child waiting for its Christmas presents. I am excited!

Roel Loopers

 

THE FUTURE OF FREO’S J SHED

 

With the saga about a tavern at J Shed on Bathers Beach now finally closed it is now time for Fremantle Council to look at a long-term plan for historic Arthur’s Head because the Bathers Beach Art Precinct idea has clearly not improved activation of the area, and that is what Council supposedly was hoping for when approving the 21-year tavern lease with Sunset Events.

There are a few simple facts about the art precinct and that is that quite a few artists have tried but could not even earn enough to pay the rent, and only a few real professionals such as Greg James, Jenny Dawson and Glen Cowans have survived and contributed to the area, and to a lesser extend also the messy looking David Giles gallery where many Sunday painters gather.

We also know that hospitality operators looked at the No 1 glass wall studio at J Shed but did not believe it was financially viable to start a business because they would have had to invest in sewerage, toilets and building a commercial kitchen, and the costs were prohibitive. It was also questioned if a hospitality venue would be a good neighbour next to a semi-industrial art workshop where grinding, welding, wax and bronze melting takes place.

Activation is a buzz word in Fremantle, as was placemaking for a few years, but what does it really mean and how much of it is needed at Arthur’s Head? Already the Roundhouse attracts some 150,000 visitors a year and that is the number of people actually going through the door, while many who walk up to the limestone cliff face just wander around without entering. It is a coming and going that make the place look popular, and the Glen Cowans gallery next to it offers fantastic underwater photography that is admired by many visitors from all over the world.

If Fremantle Council is seriously interested in activating the area why does it not use the lawn next to the Roundhouse and the A Class reserve in front of J Shed more often for events, one has to wonder. Why for example is the far west end of High Street not used as a stage for the Street Arts Festival to attract people there and help the activation Freo councillors keep dreaming about? Why is there no weekend art and craft market in the area?

Where is the investment in the area when Bathers Beach still does not have public toilets and where the connectivity from The Fishing Boat Harbour to Victoria Quay is still not resolved properly? Why are the Pilot’s Cottages not lit up at night, that would also discourage homeless people from using them?

Why also do we live with scaffolding and fencing around the cliff face since May, and work has still not started on it when tourists numbers and cruise ship visits will increase during the warmer summer months? Why has it taken so long, nearly half a year!, to find a solution?

Fremantle Council needs to walk the walk and put ratepayers’ money to good use at Arthur’s Head, because the area looks run down and uncared for and that is unacceptable for this heritage and tourist precinct. Forget activation, prioritise tender loving care first!

Roel Loopers

FREO’S CIVIC CENTRE DEVELOPMENT PROGRESS

 

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Some more photos of what it looked like at Fremantle’s Kings Square on Wednesday morning.

The demolition team is very carefully removing the building parts that are touching the heritage listed Townhall, so that no damage will occur to the old building.

The back steps that used to be the entrance to the council chambers have already been demolished.

Behind it the Queensgate carpark building is almost ready to be reopened with a few last touches to be done before shoppers can park their cars their again.

Just over a year to go until the Kings Square Redevelopment Project will be finished!

Roel Loopers

QUEENSGATE CARPARK REOPENS THIS MONTH

Posted in cars, city of fremantle, Kings Square Redevelopment Project, parking, Uncategorized by freoview on October 2, 2018

 

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Very good news for Fremantle inner city traders and motorists! The reopening of Queensgate car park is on track for later this month.

Up to 500 bays will be available with some further work required until the entire carpark is reopened.

Roel Loopers

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RESIDENTS ACTIVATE FREMANTLE’S WEST END

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 2, 2018

 

High St

 

A good way to activate city areas is getting more residents living in them, so the proposal to change the top floor of 85-87 High Street in Fremantle’s historic West End into multiple dwellings should be encouraged by Fremantle Council, and so should the addition of a three-storey, three multiple dwellings rear building behind it.

The development plans will come before the Planning Committee this Wednesday.

The residential apartment development on the former Workers Club site in Henry Street is under way and will see more people living in the old town. Notre Dame University have also indicated they might want to create student housing in the former Customs House complex between Pakenham and Henry Street, so that would be very welcome as well.

Roel Loopers

 

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THE IMPORTANCE OF TELLING OUR STORIES

Posted in aboriginal, architecture, art, city of fremantle, city planning, culture, history, Uncategorized by freoview on October 1, 2018

 

 

I had no idea how big and impressive the new WA Museum at the Perth cultural centre was going to be until I saw the building site yesterday.

Museums, cultural centres and state galleries are such important places to tell our stories, so I hope he WA State Government will in the near future also make an investment in Fremantle and build a migrant museum on Victoria Quay and an Aboriginal Cultural Centre as well.

Fremantle Ports is creating two new websites, one for normal port business and the other specifically for Victoria Quay, so it looks like they might go ahead with development there after all, and connect the port better with Kings Square.

 

 

While in Perth, during one of my very rare visits to the big smoke, I also noticed the SKS Group building the Hilton Doubletree hotel at Elizabeth Quay, so now hoping they will prioritise the Fremantle one at Princess May Park as well.

And isn’t it nice to see that there are actually architects who design nicely curved and round buildings, instead of the boring and predictable rectangular ones. Yes, these buildings are too high for Freo, but I’d love to see some rounded corners at new developments.

Roel Loopers

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J SHED TAVERN LEASE TERMINATED!

 

In a great exclusive the FREMANTLE HERALD today reports on its front page that Sunset Events has asked the City of Fremantle to terminate its 21-year lease for a tavern at J Shed.

The development approval was rejected by the WA Planning Commission last month, but there were fears in the community that Sunset Events might take it all the way to the State Administrative Tribunal, instead the events promoters decided to walk away from the Bathers Beach venture.

This is an amazingly good outcome for the Fremantle community and heritage groups who protested long, loud and clear against the inappropriate proposal, but the majority of Fremantle Councillors just did not want to listen to them and now have egg on their face for pursuing this for far too long.

It is now time for Fremantle Council to revisit plans for J Shed and the entire Bathers Beach Arts Precinct, which needs to have new innovative ideas to activate it more and better and to make it a tourist destination in the significant heritage area just below the Roundhouse.

Roel Loopers

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