The West Australian reports today that the two-year delay of the 150-room Double Tree Hilton hotel at Princess May Park is due to the many lengthy discussions between the SKS Group and the City of Fremantle’s Design Advisory Committee and heritage department.
Construction of the seven-storey hotel was due to start late last year but it now appears it will not happen for a long time, leaving that part of town in a derelict state.
Fact is that the initial design I first viewed at a public viewing was unacceptable, boring, uninspiring and disrespectful to the heritage area, so the City’s DAP and heritage department tried to get changes that would improve the proposed building.
New buildings in a historic city like Fremantle need to acknowledge and compliment the heritage of place and create a new amenity with character that respects and enhances, but instead we see developers proposing bland boxes that have no reference to the history and lack a sense of place. SKS general manager Francis Foong should not blame the development process and COF but his company’s own uninspiring design of the building.
It is disappointing to see that there is still no building start for the Hilton Double Tree development at Fremantle’s Queen Adelaide and Point street as it was projected to start late 2015.
The site now looks derelict but the City of Fremantle told me the developers have agreed to tidy it up. They demolished the retail buildings but left the Point Street carpark standing and operational. According to my source the SKS Group have not yet applied for a building permit although all development approvals have been given by the WA Development Assessment Panel.
I contacted SKS yesterday and asked if they could tell me an estimated time of building commencement but they have not responded to my email.
The Hilton development is in my opinion critical to Fremantle’s economic recovery as it would create substantial tourist accommodation, which is lacking in our city. It is also essential for the creation of a much better Princess May Park and the modernisation of the eastern part of the CBD, so I hope the delay will not be as lengthy as the Kings Square project one.
There will be a big Christmas party in Fremantle’s Princess May Park this Friday from 4-10 pm. There will be food and gift stalls and a Clancy’s pop up bar, and of course Father Christmas will be there.
There will be live music by local school bands and the Celtic big band The Fling, so get ready to make this a family night out and sit under the stars.
The Fremantle Esplanade Reserve has not looked this good for many years and the challenge for the City is now to keep it that way and don’t let the expensive surface upgrade be destroyed by too many large events.
It is also important to get the new Masterplan for the Esplanade right, and also the one for historic Princess May Park.
Connectivity and way finding are the buzz words that have substituted placemaking, and instead of looking well after our parks we are getting so called parklets with a few plants.
Planned paths through the Esplanade and Princess May should not be the cheap and common concrete ones but creative paving, maybe even some cobblestone at Pioneer Park?
I do understand that we all want to keep our green areas but I also accept that in our hot climate large grass areas are difficult to maintain and need a lot of water. There is a need for compromise and that should be more trees, more shade for people, more protection from the sun for grass, and trees and large bushes create a nicer overall amenity than just vast areas of lawn.
It did cost a hell of a lot of money to make the Esplanade look great again, so let’s see if it will be protected better or if the City of Fremantle just wasted ratepayers’ money by letting it be damaged again.
I am not sure at all that the residents of North Fremantle near McCabe Street are going to like this, but the headquarters of the Mediterranean Shipping Company at 15 McCabe Street is for sale. The real estate agent says the 1690 sqm. site has “significant redevelopment appeal” so maybe the locals there are in for another battle to stop highrise buildings in the area.
The MSC staff will relocate to their new building in Cliff Street later this year, and that is a welcome development for the West End of Fremantle and no doubt good for the cafes along High Street.
Another development will be going ahead in the centre of Fremantle soon, with Council giving approval to the Match group to redevelop the former Energy Museum site at Parry Street.
The heritage-listed building will be developed into a Bread in Common-style food and beverage venue and behind it a four-storey apartment building will be built that will house forty 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments. I hope the apartment building will compliment the heritage building with good matching design and not negatively overshadow it.
I am not sure if the initial idea to also have a micro brewery on site has been dropped after protest from residents and St Patrick’s so stay tuned.
I believe a Bread in Common style venue would be great for the East of the CBD and will become a real attraction for the hundreds of people who will move into the area once the Heirloom development is finished in 2017. It would fit in well with the Hilton hotel development, the upgrade of Princess May Park and new tenants for the former FTI building.
ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.
Written and published by Roel Loopers of 5 Maxwell Street, Beaconsfield 6162.
The City of Fremantle will hold a community consultation session on site at Princess May Park this Saturday to show the draft Masterplan for the area. It will be at the back of Clancy’s from 10-12 am, so just in time to stay on and have lunch at Freo’s great family pub.
The Princess May Park heritage precinct is on the cusp of development and community activation with the start of the Hilton hotel building very soon and a lot of building activity to the East of it along Queen Victoria, Quarry and Beach streets. The former Energy Museum site is also destined for development, so it is essential to integrate the Masterplan with traffic management along there as the intersection at Parry and Adelaide Street is a pretty awful one.
Go and have a look, have your say, put a written submission to Council and be pro-active. There is little use complaining when the horse has bolted so be creative and part of the solution!
ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.
Written and authorised by Roel Loopers. 5 Maxwell Street. Beaconsfield 6162.
It is a real shame how cavalier we sometimes treat our heritage. The beautiful George Hotel in East Fremantle is still vacant and neglected although we have been promised for years that it will be renovated and occupied. Graffiti tagging has started to reappear while next door the former Lauder&Howard building got its guts ripped out and only the heritage facade is still standing.
On a positive note it is good to see the renovations of the Married Quarters cottages at Cantonment Hill, the Warders cottages in the Henderson Street mall, the Boys School at Princess May Park and the facade painting of the Evan Davies building on the Cappuccino Strip, and work under way at Gino’s as well.
And the Manning building all along the High Street mall and Market and William Street looks absolutely magnificent again. Nice also to see new businesses moving into the mall in that building.
Along High Street in the West End several buildings are being renovated or get paint jobs done, so Fremantle’s recovery is well under way.
ROEL FOR FREO! Truly independent
This Wednesday’s Special Projects Committee meeting of the City of Fremantle is well worth attending with items such as the Cantonment Hill masterplan, the Green Plan and a Princess May Park masterplan on the agenda.
The Green Plan has in my opinion rightly identified the importance of incorporating Nature Play green spaces for children and families to enjoy, away from the standarised, and a bit boring and too safe, normal playgrounds.
The creation of Urban Forest is something many councils around Australia are implementing and Fremantle wants to be part of the trend of creating green lungs and combatting heat zones in the city.
The Green Plan also identifies that there needs to be a focus on the provision of green space within high-density areas to compensate for reduced private open space. Mayor Brad Pettitt reported recently on his blog that in some European cities 30% of new development has to be public open space.
All that is good but it is also essential to retain existing green spaces and tree canopy and not take away those and then replace them with new trees and spaces. A building at Pioneer Park for example would be contrary to what we should be doing in the Freo CBD, instead the space should be beautified with modern seating, shade structures and a children’s playground.
The Princess May Park Masterplan follows on quite well from the Green Plan with emphasis on providing good public amenity, playground, seating and light and the integration of the soon to be built Hilton Hotel bar and restaurant with terraces down to the park, and the possible use of the former Boys School and FTI building as a cafe. That would create a great community hub in the east end of the CBD where residential and commercial development is already thriving.
I recommend to attend Fremantle Council meetings as the community can have a real input and impact, and it is the closest we’ll ever get to democracy. In that context it was intriguing to get feed back from the Notre Dame University student council that “The consensus is that students are not interested in local government and never will be.” Politics and governance affects each and every one of us, so we should participate to make sure the community has a voice, even if we believe we often get ignored.
There are community concerns about the micro-brewery and mixed-use development proposed for the former Fremantle Energy Museum site at 12 Parry Street with some people worried about a pub so close to St Patrick’s and local schools.
While I don’t see a big problem having a micro brewery and restaurant there I do believe the proposed five-storey residential building behind it is too bulky and high for the location, as it is surrounded by low-rise heritage buildings such as the Basilica and the former school buildings at Princess May Park. The bulk of the building would have a big impact on the also heritage-listed residence behind it at 3 Quarry Street.
One also needs to question the need to demolish the Easter part of the Energy Museum building, as it should remain intact, and architects will just have to work around that.
There is a lot of development going on in the East of the CBD and that is a good thing, especially since there will be more people living in that run down part of town, but there is also a charm about many of the older buildings in the area that needs to be respected. The proposed mixed-use development behind the Energy Museum does not show respect for or reflect on the heritage of the site and the surrounding buildings.
Fremantle’s new PRINCESS MAY MARKETS at CLANCY’S will open today from 5-9 pm! This is very Freo fun for all with international foodstalls offering spit roast, pizza, paella, papusa, Moroccan, Goan Indian, Peruvian, Tequenos(cheese fingers), pies, La Paletta, crepes, juices, etc.
Fairy Sandie will be there to have fun with the kids. There will be face painting and renowned graffiti artist Lady Bananas will do her Street Art for Kids workshops each Friday as well. There is also Henna painting, massage, stalls that sell clothing, accessories, vintage, retro, bricabrac, flowers, Indian fairtrade, plants, shoes, jewellery, preserves, books, etc.
Clancy’s live outdoor music stage will feature Melbourne-based roots legend Benny Walker and there will be a Little Creatures outdoor bar in the alfresco area of the famous family pub.
The trees in the park will be lit up and of course the Basilica will be a beautiful backdrop for the weekly event.
Come and join Kylie Wheatley and me and say hello. It will be a great night out and a vibrant start to the weekend.