Freo's View

FREMANTLE HERITAGE HOTEL NOT A PIPE DREAM

Posted in accommodation, architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, hotel, tourism, Uncategorized by freoview on January 24, 2020

 

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Although there are a lot of pipes sticking out of the ground the Fremantle Warders Cottages heritage boutique hotel and tavern is not a pipe dream, as this photo I took of the development yesterday afternoon shows.

The hotel will only have a few tiny rooms in the cottages, but a substantial tavern between the old cottages and Fremantle Markets.

Roel Loopers

WE DON’T BUILD COMMUNITIES. WE BUILD PLACES OF ISOLATION

 

There was an interesting panel discussion NO FIXED ADDRESS, to discuss the importance of social housing and building diversity in our urban centres, in the lovely courtyard of DADAA in Fremantle’s Princes May Park, last night with Dr. Mariana Atkins, Research Associate Professor, The Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia and the UWA Living Lab, Dr Holly Farley, Research Fellow, Fremantle School of Architecture, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Dr. Shane Greive, Urban and Regional Planning, School of Design and Built Environment, Curtin University, Michael Piu (CEO, St Patrick’s Community Support Centre), and  Heather Thompson (Senior Assertive Outreach Worker, 20 Lives 20 Homes Program, St Patrick’s Community Support Centre).  It was facilitated by Lisette Kaleveld, Senior Consultant, The Centre for Social Impact, University of Western Australia.

Changing cityscapes are inevitable with urban infill making places such as Fremantle desirable, especially since most of the services are provided in town, and that attracts a diversity of people, including homeless ones, and those who require social and affordable housing, but we are not designing and building for that diversity and the needs of individuals. Not many local governments have the capacity and desire to change with the times, so how do you design a city for all?

People want to be connected, be in contact with nature and there is a real disconnect there, so we need to bring the community on board because it is about the collective, not individuals. To do that we need to start understanding the history of Australia and the values, and where we want to go. We need to understand the diverse perspective, and need to learn to understand the different realities. Design should not be about excluding people!

Homelessness is nothing new and has been around for decades, so the whole community needs to own the issues and solutions, but there is a lack of value judgement. It is a fallacy that homeless people are in control of their own future! We all are only a few steps away from homelessness and if we come together the solutions are in our own hands. Start a conversation and humanise the issue!

A social worker said she had met some of the most amazing, caring and resilient people one would like to meet.

Architects and developers need to start actively listen to everybody’s stories from a design perspective. Bring the focus of development back to the people! We need a change of mindset there, as the next generation of home buyers can’t afford to buy the homes of the present generation. Inter-generational housing is not available, the housing options are not there.

There is huge value in diversity in a community, and we don’t want people with similar social/financial issues all living together, there needs to be a mix and we need to understand what home means for different people. Public housing often results in people failing because of the wrong set up and location and the lack of support. For some community housing or a boarding house is better because they don’t have to look after paying bills and connect with others. Community housing is more flexible.

There is also an interesting small exhibition in the DADAA gallery, so go and have a look at it!

COMMENT:

We don’t build communities, we build spaces where people are alone, spaces of loneliness, because at the lower end of the apartment market there are no community spaces where people can connect. There are no swimming pools, gyms, roof gardens, etc. We build highrise along transit corridors, instead of building them around green open spaces where people can meet and play.

There are tens of thousands of single middle aged and older women and men who have no social life because they can no longer afford to go to pubs, concerts, festivals, theatres, etc. where they used to connect with friends and meet new people. They don’t meet anyone and get isolated. High density living does not cater for that by providing community spaces. Many single people live in a small box with no communical spaces where they can meet their neighbours and make new friends that way.

Roel Loopers

FREO A CITY ON THE MOVE

 

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One can get a good impression of what the paving at Newman Court, in front of the Fremantle Kings Square FOMO retail and hospitality centre, will look like, with large two-coloured slabs of concrete already down. It looks like there will be cobblestone in the gaps in between.

Through the windows at the levels above one can see the office furniture and computers being installed for the state government department staff, while the huge steel beam structure of the new Civic Centre clearly starts showing what the building will look like.

Roel Loopers

METROPOLIS INVESTMENT SHOWS CONFIDENCE IN FREMANTLE

Posted in bar, city of fremantle, development, hospitality, tavern, Uncategorized by freoview on January 20, 2020

 

 

The news that the owners of the Fremantle Metropolis nightclub will be investing one million dollars in the venue and upgrade the sound and light systems, shows that there is a lot of confidence in the future of our port city.

Just around the corner building work is under way for the tavern and boutique hotel between the Warders cottages and Fremantle Markets, and there will also be a new hospitality venue in the Manning building, that is nearing completion.

The success of Freo.Social and the Old Synagogue has shown that Freo has a lot to offer and there is a lot more to come.

Roel Loopers

 

HUGE FINANCIAL INCENTIVE FOR FREMANTLE CIVIC CENTRE HOSPITALITY VENUE

 

I had another read of the Fremantle Council FPOL committee agenda item about leasing the triangle part of the new Civic Centre at Kings Square to the Fremantle Doctor Restaurant and Bar Pty Ltd, and it becomes evident that the proposed hospitality operators are expecting a large financial incentive from the City of Fremantle.

The commercial rent for the three levels is $ 233,100 per annum, but the proposed venue operators want the first three years to be rent free, and the fourth year to pay only 5% of the gross income of the venue, plus they want a $ 500,000 contribution from the City for the fit out.

I am aware that it is common to offer rent free periods for long commercial leases, and this one is 10+10 years, but I believe that paying half a million dollars on top of three rent free years, and only a relatively small rent for the fourth year is asking the cash-strapped City of Fremantle for too much.

Reading between the lines it appears that not many hospitality operators were willing to commit to Kings Square before it has proven to be a success, and of course the City is keen to lease out the space that will be close to the new playground, but is a cash incentive of $ 500,000 realistic?

New venues, such as the Old Synagogue and Freo.Social, have become immediate attractions from the start, and presumably run profitable businesses, so how far should Fremantle Council go financially to lure an operator for its Civic Centre hospitality part?

In that context I was disappointed to read in the Sunday Times today that the FOMO retail and food concept by Sirona Capital is now only due to open in June/July, while it had been on the cards for April this year, after the initial marketing for the Kings Square Redevelopment Project mentioned late 2019 as the opening date. I do however understand very well that in the current retail climate it must be a huge challenge for Sirona to find enough tenants willing to sign long-term leases.

The Civic Centre construction  is well underway to be completed in the last quarter of this year, and the State Housing Department is moving in in April with approximately 1,500 staff, so it is all pretty good, but it needs to hurry up.

The item is on the FPOL Committee agenda for this Wednesday and will then go to full Council in a few weeks for a final decision.

Roel Loopers

THREE LEVEL HOSPITALITY VENUE FOR FREO’S NEW CIVIC CENTRE

 

 

Great news for the future vitality of Fremantle’s Kings Square with Fremantle Council  considering the lease terms for a major new hospitality venue in the new under construction Civic Centre at a committee meeting next week.

The proposal from the City’s preferred applicant is to lease all three floors of the triangular portion of the City’s new building, with a café, bar and alfresco area on the ground floor, dining room on the first floor and function space on the top floor.

The proposed offering is based around providing casual and formal family-friendly food and beverage options, and aims to activate the area both day and night, seven days per week, by catering for different markets throughout the day.

The ground floor will feature bi-fold doors to create a seamless transition between inside and outside, with the substantial alfresco area overlooking the City’s planned new Kings Square play space.

The lease to be considered by the council’s Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee on Wednesday includes terms consistent with current market expectations.

Following consideration of the lease by the FPOL committee the item will be referred to the full council meeting on 29 January for a final decision.

Roel Loopers

EMBRACE THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE.

Posted in city of fremantle, community, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on January 12, 2020

 

My ‘gospel’ for this beautiful Sunday.

Not all change is bad, and we should not be worried about progress, as these photos of me, taken some 45 years apart, show. ; >)

Life is good along the journey we take and the changes we make. It is nice to look back at our past while embracing the future, and that’s what is happening in Fremantle.

Enjoy the challenge!

Roel Loopers

Comments Off on EMBRACE THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE.

CITY PLANNING NEEDS TO PROTECT UNIQUENESS

 

There is a very good opinion piece about city planning by Tanya Steinbeck in the West Australian today, that everyone should read.

Tanya Steinbeck is the chief executive of the Urban Planning Institute of Australia(WA), and her article makes a lot of sense to me, because it talks about the challenges of protecting the uniqueness of our cities, while supporting development. This is a challenge Fremantle is experiencing currently, with unprecedented and major development happening now, and in the pipeline for the next years.

Steinbeck writes that it is about authenticity, and that the planning experts believe we need a vision that articulates who we are and what we have to offer. It is important, she writes, not to lose ourselves as we grow, and that is a debate we are having in Fremantle at present. How do we retain and protect our unique heritage city, while encouraging new modern development? What is the Freo context? What is good and specific architecture for our city? I would love to have a public forum about that!

Tanya Steinbeck writes that identity is a complex concept, that always evolves because we evolve as people. Indeed, change is happening every day, everywhere, and is inevitable, but how do we manage change so that it does not destroy the uniqueness of our historic city? That is an issue not unique to Fremantle, but applies to many older suburbs.

I absolutely agree with Steinbeck when she says that we need to avoid homogenisation and that the planning system needs to lead there, so that we don’t get sameness when developing our cities. As she writes, it needs to be planning by people, for the people, and she points to the Town Team Movement, that is all about community-driven planning and is taking placemaking to a new level.

The article is on page 20 of today’s West Australian newspaper, so anyone interested in city planning and community, go and grab a paper from a newsagent.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE NEEDS MORE CREATIVE ARCHITECTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on December 30, 2019

 

 

I am a rather simple and modest kind of old fella who does not have too many wishes for the New Year. A bit more money would be good, and having a lot of very gorgeous women throwing themselves at me would be nice too, but I know that won’t happen, so I’ll just keep living within the limitations of reality. What could improve though is what we build in our cities.

I would love to see a lot more creative architecture in Fremantle and the entire Perth metropolitan area, because the blandness and mediocrity of most of the new modern buildings we are getting is very disappointing, hence these inspiring photos from around the world, and I am sure there are many more examples of what great architecture could look like.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE NEEDS TO GROW TO PROSPER

 

Now that we are nearing the end of the year, and the end of the decade, it is good to reflect on Fremantle’s progress and opportunities.

While other councils refused to accept the State Government’s direction of higher density infill Fremantle Council was more realistic about the fact that urban infill is necessary because the urban sprawl won’t be sustainable.

Fremantle introduced new planning schemes that encouraged developers to invest in Freo, especially the CBD, and it worked with Sirona Capital on the much-needed modernisation of Kings Square that will see many more people working in the city centre from early next year.

It took a while until developers saw the unique opportunities to build in Fremantle, but they came and we saw the Heirloom and LIV residential apartments being built, plans approved for the Little Lane residential development on the former Spotlight site, redevelopment of the Manning building and the Atwell Arcade office building, plans approved for the development and hotel on the former Police&Justice complex in Henderson Street, the start of the Warders Cottages hotel and tavern development, and new hotel plans will soon be approved for the Woolstores shopping centre site.

Plans have also been approved for a wood frame commercial development in High Street, just east of Kings Square, and we are still waiting for the Match group to start on the development of the former Energy Museum, and for the SKS Group to finally commence the Hilton Doubletree hotel building in Point Street.

The residential development of the former Workers Club in Henry Street is nearing completion, there is substantial development in the Knutsford Street area, and there is development in South Fremantle.

Top that with the Freo Social and Old Synagogue attractions and big plans for the Fishing Boat Harbour and no one can argue that Fremantle has not positioned itself very well for an exciting future that embraces old and new, and low and medium high buildings.

Already the second part of this year Fremantle has seen an increase in visitors and there is little doubt that the new FOMO retail and hospitality precinct, with supermarket, at Kings Square will become an attraction, and the four new hotels will create the 24/7 activation of the CBD that is badly needed.

When one compares Fremantle with Subiaco, where council has been reluctant to embrace urban infill, and have now been told by Planning Minister Rita Safiotti that they will have to approve buildings of up to 20 storeys near the train station, one has to be grateful that Fremantle Council took our city’s destiny in their own hands and kept building heights to a more Freo-friendly level. Future Fremantle Councils will need to start planning for a port city without a container port, as there is little doubt that the Westport Taskforce will recommend to the State Government a relocation of the port to Kwinana.

There is sometimes fair criticism about the architectural quality of buildings, but that is an issue that needs to be addressed at State level, and I am not alone to wish for a bit more colour in our city, instead of the drab colours we have been getting.

I honestly believe that Freo’s future is great and that we all have a lot to look forward to. Anti development sentiments constantly expressed by a few people who are disgruntled with Fremantle Council are not very helpful. Fremantle needs to grow to prosper!

Happy New Year!

 

Roel Loopers

PS and former North Fremantle Councillor Rob Fittock chastised me rightly for not mentioning the Leighton Beach and other development in North Freo. Mea Culpa!

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