Freo's View

BE PART OF FREMANTLE’S BRIGHT FUTURE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, politics, property, Uncategorized by freoview on July 17, 2017

 

property-council

 

There is a lot of hot air in politics, and one-eyed blinkered judging of the other’s failures and one’s own greatness. In local politics one can add parochial polemic to it that is not helpful to get a balanced view of the facts.

It becomes understandable why many people don’t really now what is going on in Fremantle, because for some it is all positive while for others it is mostly negative.

I prefer facts over fake news, misinformation, and political point scoring.

It is often good to hear the opinion of out of towners and see how they assess the performance of Fremantle Council, as the promotion for a sundowner does.

According to the poster for an event of the Property Council of Australia with Mayor Brad Pettitt and Deputy Mayor Ingrid Waltham, Fremantle is undergoing its biggest revitalisation with unprecedented levels of public and private investment underway.

The PCOA also writes Most importantly, find out about the current and imminent investment opportunities. Be part of Fremantle now as its future is bright.

The Sundowner is on Friday July 28 from 3.30-5.30 pm at the Perth Convention and Entertainment Centre. It costs $ 135.00 for non-members and $ 90.00 for members.

 

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE

Posted in city of fremantle, economy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on May 11, 2017

 

The City of Fremantle’s Audit and Risk Management Committee this week approved the principles of a draft ten year financial plan (2017-2027) which confirms the City has the ability to deliver its portion of the $270m redevelopment of the Fremantle city centre with CPI-based rate increases and without a need for future sale of income generating assets.

The plan confirms the Kings Square city centre renewal project as central to providing a solid financial base for the City of Fremantle and a strong economic future for Fremantle as a whole.

• Reserves to be reinstated to current levels by 2027
• The ability for all debt to be paid off within 10 years of Kings Square redevelopment
• Demonstrates all of the above can be delivered with CPI rate increases
• Recent wave of new investment and developments in Fremantle to deliver an estimated $5m annually to City’s commercial rates revenue by 2022
The long-term plan was also developed to deliver balanced annual budgets and restore reserves to current levels (~$20m) within the ten year period of the plan.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the draft plan included the City’s largest capital works program in its history to deliver a renewed city centre and strengthen the City’s long-term financial position.
“The redevelopment of Kings Square is a major long-term investment in the economic future of Fremantle and the revised financial modelling which includes the latest information on Kings Square costs demonstrates this,” Mayor Pettitt said.

“Before this investment in the Fremantle city centre there was a serious fear Fremantle was on an unsustainable economic trajectory. The City committing to the catalyst Kings Square project in 2013 has renewed investor confidence and has been a major contributor to the $1.3b development boom we now see in Freo.

FREO’S APARTMENTS ARE POPULAR

Posted in fremantle, housing, lifestyle, real estate, western australia by freoview on August 2, 2016

Good news for Fremantle developers and apartment owners! According to independent analysts PropertyESP the Freo apartment market has remained steady.

While the spike in sales was in 2013, Fremantle, especially North Fremantle, remained consistent, according to the analysts, however North Coogee median prices dropped significantly from $ 1.3 million to only $ 600,000 between 2010-2015. But North Fremantle median prices rose from $ 1 million in 2010 to $ 1.3 million in 2015.

It is believed the fact that many Fremantle apartments have river or ocean views, or both, and are close to the beaches is the reason for Freo’s popularity.

This sits pretty well with the City of Fremantle’s policy to attract more people living and working in the centre of the city.

Roel Loopers

 

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KINGS SQUARE NEEDS DAY AND NIGHT ACTIVATION

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square by freoview on April 18, 2016
Kings Square as it was in 1957. Two triangles.

Kings Square as it was in 1957. Two triangles.

 

With Fremantle Council having to decide in the next weeks if it will extend the Kings Square project contract with Sirona Capital, I believe it would be a good idea to revisit the actual ideas and question if they will be the best outcome for our civic square.

When community consultation was under way there was always talk about having a hotel on the square to ensure 24/7 activation, but somehow that came undone and the project as it stands will only deliver retail and office accommodation.

I do not believe that Kings Square will ever become truly activated unless there is a residential component in either or both the Queensgate and former Myer buildings.

Possible future development within the large block between Queen Adelaide, High Street, Queen Street, facing Kings Square, should also only be approved if it contains residential apartments that would help with the passive surveillance of the square and day and night activation.

Without residential and/or tourist accommodation at Kings Square it will remain a dark and uninviting place at night in the centre of the city, a few street level bars or cafes within the KS poject won’t be enough. That is even more of a worry when the planned hotels at Cantonment Street and Point Street are built, as hundreds of visitors would walk through the deserted and hence unsafe area to the cafes and restaurants west of the square.

Roel Loopers

THERE IS HOPE. FREMANTLE HAS A PULSE!

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on March 12, 2016

The City of Fremantle PULSE magazine was delivered in my letter box, so here a few facts I picked up:

# Over 500 residential apartments are under construction in central Fremantle.

# Over 150,000 cruise ship passengers are expected to visit Fremantle this year.

# Fremantle’s population is forecast to grow to over 42,000 people by 2036. It stands at around 30,000 now.

# Fremantle’s CBD vacancy rate has reduced from 10.7% to 9.2%. Out of 641 premises 59 ground level retail and offices are vacant. This is better than many national and international trends.

# Fremantle’s annual budget has grown to over $ 100 million and the city’s capacity to invest in major projects has significantly improved.

Roel Loopers

 

HOW WOULD YOU SPEND FREO’S MONEY?

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government by freoview on February 12, 2016

A very interesting media release!

Fremantle Council is considering giving the local community the power to directly decide where a portion of the City’s municipal budget is spent.

The proposal is for $1m of the City’s 2016/17 budget to go through a process known as ‘participatory budgeting’, a democratic process where the community decides what projects or initiatives they would most like to see that money spent on.

“Participatory budgeting is growing in popularity worldwide and is something we’ve been looking at with interest for some time,” said Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt.

“Our local community is passionate and engaged in local issues so giving them a real say on deciding where some of the City’s budget is spent will be a win-win for both the City and the community.

“Council sees it as way to empower our community to work with us to make decisions affecting people’s everyday lives, as well as providing more transparency and insight into our budgeting process.

“The initiative still needs to be approved by council and then a model to engage with the community agreed on, but if proved successful in 2016/17, we will extend it out to a greater percentage of the overall budget in years to come,” added Mayor Pettitt

Fremantle Councillor Rachel Pemberton, a strong advocate for the benefits of participatory budgeting, was confident the initiative would work in Fremantle just as it had in so many other places globally.

“Other examples of participatory budgeting have shown that well-informed and genuinely empowered community representatives make excellent decisions for the collective good,” Cr Pemberton said.

The proposal will be tabled at the City’s Finance Policy Operations and Legislative Committee (FPOL) meeting next week.

Proposed Fremantle model

Upon approval of the initiative by council, City officers will work with the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP) to refine the model. A key aspect of the process is to ensure a diverse cross-section of the community is reached, including disadvantaged groups.

City Officers have recommended a ‘citizens jury’– a randomly selected jury made up of a representative sample of the local community–is established to make the final recommendation of where the money is spent.

The independent jury would be presented with the most popular community ideas and based on these, would make their final recommendations.

Background

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making; and a type of participatory democracy in which the local community decides how to allocate part of a municipal budget.

Now a global phenomenon, PB has spread to over 1 500 cities in Latin America, North America, Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. It. was initially formed out of the town of Porto Alegre in Brazil in the late 1980s.

For more information on participatory budgeting visit http://www.participatorybudgeting.org

I have only two comments to make. Who will guarantee that the citizen jury will be really and absolutely selected randomly and not include mates of mates of etc…… and why use Council mates CUSP again for this project? Surely there are other organisations in Western Australia that could consult Council on the process, details, etc.

Roel Loopers

UPDATE! A quick reply from the City about the Citizen Jury. Fair is fair!

The jury would be randomly and independently selected by a third party provider as a representative sample of Freo’s population (based on demographics).

BUILDING POTENTIAL IN FREMANTLE

Posted in development, fremantle by freoview on December 14, 2015

industrial 1 industrial 2

 

Two potential development sites in Fremantle made for two minimalist industrial photos. The scaffolding tower is at Queen Victoria Street next to the fuel station while the second site is just behind it at Quarry Street. They have harbour views so probably a good investment to build a few architecturally outstanding buildings there.

Roel Loopers

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FREO STILL WAITING FOR A GOVERNMENT CHRISTMAS PRESENT

Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on December 4, 2015

Christmas is nearly upon us and once again the City of Fremantle and Sirona Capital are hoping for a big Christmas present from the State Government and the announcement the Department of Housing will move to Kings Square, as the whole planned project is clearly dependent on it. We have been hearing for years that there is a plan B and even C and D, but I believe that can be dismissed as spin and hopeful wishing rather than realistic alternative planning.

The questions we need to ask also is would the new Civic Centre still be built if Housing moved to Fremantle but not to Kings Square? I have no doubt that Gerard O’Brien’s Silverleaf will also have tendered for the government department to move into the new Woolstores shopping centre development. It would be embarrassing for the City of Fremantle to scrap the Civic Centre plans after it was a national architecture competition and one has to wonder also what it has cost so far. Talking about costs; what revenue has COF lost over the last years by not leasing the Queensgate building at commercial rates?

The Kings Square development was heralded by the Mayor as the big economic and retail revitalisation for our city, so what will happen if it all falls flat? The Many 6100 retail incubator has done little to attract shoppers to the city and Kings Square with just a few hundred customers going through the building on the few days it is open to the public. We now have the unacceptable and unsightly picture of cars parked in front of the big display windows on the days the building is closed and that gives Kings Square a derelict appearance, the opposite of what it needs.

Christmas will see shoppers go to the shopping centres and not come to Freo because our city no longer has the variety of major retailers and small independent ones. Fremantle has a very good eclectic variety of small shops but shoppers will go for the convenience of having all major retailers in the one location, plus free parking. Lazy shoppers are basically killing small creative retailers who are not in shopping centres and Fremantle suffers from that.

Last year around Christmas Fremantle was hoping Colin Barnett would announce a move by Housing to Freo and one year later that dream continues. But as many children will tell us one does not always find in the Christmas stocking what one has wished for, so the City needs to be prepared for disappointment. Even if Housing moved into the new Woolstores building it would be a disaster for the Kings Square project and the hope of a new modern Civic Centre. Plan B appears to be procrastination and living in hope because if it existed it would by now have been revealed.

I want the very best for Freo and sincerely hope that the Department of Housing will very soon announce a move to Kings Square because no matter how much new development is going on east and north of it, our city square needs urgent reactivation.

Roel Loopers

IT IS A GOOD CORPORATE MOVE TO FREMANTLE

Posted in business, fremantle, perth, west australian by freoview on November 11, 2015

Articles in the West Australian today made me contemplate to what extend corporate responsibility should go. The argument-and hope-that private investors could finance lightrail in Perth because it would be good for their workers and hence the bottom line is an interesting one and has some merit. Staff that needs to travel less to and from work will be happier and healthier and would probably be a more productive workforce so that should be good for the employers. I read though that there is little demand for office space in the suburbs and that indicates to me that employers don’t get it or don’t care about the big picture.

Decentralisation of the workforce away from the Perth CBD and the creation of so-called satellite cities should be a priority for our State Government and large employers because traffic congestion is affecting the productivity and bottom line of businesses.

Fremantle is desperate for economic recovery and revitalisation but it has been near impossible to get commitment from the State and larger corporations to move staff to Freo. Sirona Capital is hamstrung with the Kings Square development because no one wants to commit to moving to Fremantle, and even substantial residential and hotel development alone will not be enough to make Fremantle the state’s second city again. We need more office workers in Fremantle and more medium to large retailers to make the port city vibrant again.

There are huge development plans for the Coogee coast just south of Fremantle and somehow our retailers need to be able to tap into that potential and that requires better public transport along that southern corridor, ideally in the form of lightrail. It should also encourage businesses to open offices in Freo, close to where the workforce lives, but that has not been forthcoming and I wonder why that is.

Is it more prestigious for companies to have offices in big towers in Perth than four floors in a Fremantle low to medium rise, and is the corporate image more important than looking after one’s employees and the general community?

The urban sprawl in Perth cannot be allowed to continue because long commuting to work  is bad for personal health, bad for traffic and bad for the environment, and it costs money so it is bad for the bottom line. It is time for big businesses to make a move to the satellites of the metro area and for quite a few of them to make the move to Fremantle, so their workers can enjoy the unique lifestyle of our city. Procrastinating in the Perth CBD and complaining about congestion and public transport is not helpful or being part of the solution. Change is required! Make the move to Freo!!

Roel Loopers

INVEST IN FREMANTLE’S FUTURE

Posted in city of fremantle, local government by freoview on July 23, 2015

Invest_Fremantle_cover

The City of Fremantle’s Economic and Marketing Department has put together the INVEST FREMANTLE brochure to entice more developers to spend their money here. It is an interesting brochure with some interesting facts and an areal view artist impression that will shock the Freo purists when they see all those high buildings to the east and north of Kings Square.

The ‘investment pipeline’ sounds fantastic on paper and the reality is not bad either as there is a lot of building and maintenance activity going on in central Fremantle. It is questionable though if COF can claim that the construction of the Hilton Double Tree hotel project has commenced, as is claimed twice in the brochure. On half of the site buildings have been flattened, while the Point Street carpark still stands and operates and no construction work has started there yet.

19 Douro Road is listed as development approved, while construction there has started, and Douro Road is spelt Duoro.

Retail rent in central Freo is expensive, in fact it is more expensive to rent space in Market Street and the Cappuccino Strip than it is on Bayview Terrace in exclusive and rich Claremont. Market Street is $ 1,250 per sqm, Marine Terrace $ 1,850 per sqm and Bayview Terrace only $ 1,150 per sqm.

Mayor Brad Pettitt writes in his foreword that Fremantle is home to one of the oldest buildings in WA, but the Roundhouse is of course the oldest remaining public building in the state.

54% of the Freo workforce lives in Fremantle. Tourism and Hospitality were responsible for $ 373.8 million turnover and in 2013 1,26 million people visited Freo.

I received the info about Invest Fremantle on Facebook but it will be on the City of Fremantle website, so have a read and give us some feedback.

Roel Loopers

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