Freo's View





The development proposal by Saracen Properties for the Royal George hotel site in East Fremantle is as exciting as it will be controversial.

The plans for the restoration of the gorgeous heritage building are great and would see the old building, that has been vacant for far too many years, be brought back to life and activation.

The entire building would be restored, including the massive and very high cellars below, that would house a gin distillery or winemaking facility.

On Thursday afternoon Joel Saracen took me on a tour inside the building while our great Freo architect Michael Patroni of the High Street Spaceagency explained his thinking behind the concept.

The Royal George would house a cafe, restaurant, bar, function and community meeting rooms and tourist accommodation, while they would also develop a new public realm between the former Brush Factory building and the Royal George.

On the flip side all the expensive heritage restoration needs to be paid for and the proposal is for a 19 storey slim elliptical spike that is set back from a so called podium in Duke Street. It would house 40 large apartments. The building would have ‘fins’ to make it visually more attractive and would become an iconic landmark pointing to the Fremantle area.

The height along Duke Street would be similar to the height of the Brush Factorey and Royal George.

Parking for residents would be provided for inside the building with a car stacker, but does not include parking for the restaurant and bar patrons.

I know height is always going to be an issue in Fremantle, but I believe that a really well designed slim and very high building could be accommodated in that location. No doubt many locals will disagree with me.

There is a very nice brochure that explains most things but I am flabbergasted by the ‘clever’ PR of explaining why a taller building is better than a shorter and wider building, and showing the ugly shorter box, but not actually showing the proposed 19-storey slim tower. The cynical public will no doubt ask what the developers are trying to hide by not showing the tower.

The decision making authority will be the WA State Development Assessment Panel, not East Fremantle Council.

Roel Loopers

PS: I was promised on Thursday that the developers would email me some images, but still have not received any at 10 am on Saturday so just copied some from the brochure. I publish a daily blog not a quarterly magazine. :>)




Posted in architecture, development, east fremantle, fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on April 19, 2017


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I have received some great news about the Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle from a well-informed source.

According to my source Saracen Properties is 99% on the way of purchasing the building from the State Government. The purchase and possession will be finalised within the next 90 days.

Saracen has appointed well-known Fremantle architect Michael Patroni from Space Agency to do the interior and exterior development of the old building as well as the development of the vacant land behind the building.

Saracen has developed a Conservation Management Strategy that has been endorsed by the Heritage Council of W.A. The CMS ties them to refurbishing the building within a certain time period.

The company will immediately stabilise and clean up the building once the contract has been signed, so the decay will be stopped, until planning approval has been received and conservation and building can commence.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, development, fremantle by freoview on February 20, 2016


I had a walk through the new Landcorp development at the corner of Amherst and Blinco Street yesterday because I believe the area has huge potential to become one of the major urban infill projects in Fremantle and WA and is in need of a collaborative masterplan between the City of Fremantle and WA state government. It needs Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority style planning and management because the potential area is huge from Blinco to nearly Stevens Street and from Wood to Montreal Street and the golf course.

The area could become a showcase for urban development and higher density living that is just a ten-minute bicycle ride from Kings Square.

At present there are the 2-3 storey boxes designed by architect Michael Patroni, but a State Government that demands that local governments increase density the next step to the south surely must go up with higher buildings between 4-8 storeys.

Once the City of Fremantle has built its new works depot in O’Connor the Knutsford Street site on the corner of Montreal Street will also become available for development, so the whole area needs serious long-term planning and not just ad hoc development.

The potential to make this the new suburb for all income earners is huge. You could have 16 storey landmark spikes with penthouses with sweeping 360 degree views, but also student, low-income and Homeswest accommodation.

Busses come through Amherst Street and many more through Leach Highway/High Street so the new residential suburb would be close enough to public transport corridors to make it a desirable location for young and old, the well-off and the less-affluent. And it would only take twenty minutes to walk to the CBD.

With such high numbers of residents there would have to be retail outlets for cafes and delis, good public open and green spaces would have to be planned for, and part of the enormous development area could also have small office accommodation.

What it needs to create an outstanding new suburb is intensive long-term urban planning and consistent governance. The State should not demand higher density living from councils when it does not build it itself. Simply releasing land to developers to build single houses is short-sighted financial gain only. I am surprised the new buildings that are already occupied are only 2-3 storeys high, because there is not a lot of community amenity and lifestyle in danger in what was basically a semi-industrial area, so the area is well-suited for higher and more substantial buildings.

Roel Loopers


Posted in bar, fremantle, strange company by freoview on September 5, 2015

Congratulations to the operators and architect of Fremantle’s newest small bar STRANGE COMPANY in Nairn Street, which received an excellent review by the West Australian food writer Rob Broadfield today.

Broadfield writes “We’ve fallen in love with Strange Company.” and that the bar is more Potts Point(Sydney) than Port City.

The restaurant reviewer starts of with lauding the interior design by well-known Freo architect Michael Patroni and writes “It is one of the most welcoming hospitality places around. It makes you feel good just walking in the door.” I could not agree more! It is such a homely environment to be in that I might have to start drinking more in the future, just so that I can enjoy the ambience.

Rob Broadfield raves about the ox cheek roll for only $ 14.00 and writes that the salty spice dust on the superb ‘Strange Fries’ was so good that it is addictive.

I highly recommend Strange Company but must disclose they assigned me to do the interior photography for them before the bar opened.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Truly Independent.



Posted in bar, fremantle, strange company by freoview on August 13, 2015

The owners of the brand spanking new STRANGE COMPANY small bar assigned me to do photography for them, so I thought to do some value adding for them and promote the stunning new venue here on Freo’s View.

The place has such a homely atmosphere that I’ll probably have to become a regular there. The wooden panels and bamboo create such a cosy ambience that makes one fall in love with the bar in Nairn Street, just behind Gino’s, immediately.

The bar was designed by Freo architect Michael Patroni, who also designed the beautiful Bread in Common, just around the corner from the new bar.

They had a special evening for friends and contractors and the food looked yummy, especially the prawn sliders.

Strange Company opens tomorrow, Friday the 14th, and will be open from 2 pm till midnight daily.

Roel Loopers

Visit my ROEL FOR FREO Facebook page about the October Council election.


Posted in fremantle by freoview on September 19, 2013

Just half an hour ago today at 10 am, the all new BREAD IN COMMON restaurant, bar and bakery opened in Fremantle‘s Pakenham Street, between Collie and Bannister Street. I had a quick look and took some snaps and I believe it is one of the best looking hospitality venues in our city. It is big but feels very cosy thanks to the great design by Fremantle architect Michael Patroni. There is more local flavour with the large tables supplied by Marri and Jarrah specialists Brooker Furniture from High Street.

There is a large bar and great wine selection and an impressive kitchen, but a feature slightly hidden at the back are two large wood fired ovens from which yummy smelling and looking bread is produced and that is for sale at the counter as well.

I couldn’t  find a menu, so not sure what fare is on offer, but it promises to be a great new attraction for Freo locals and tourists. It’s open for lunch and dinner.

Roel Loopers

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