Freo's View

BEACY HOME OF MANY ANGLES

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, lifestyle, living, Uncategorized by freoview on August 19, 2019

 

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No, this photo was not taken somewhere in the south of Europe but in McCleery Street, Beaconsfield. All those angles just fascinated me when I walked past it today.

Roel Loopers

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BEACH STREET DEVELOPMENT ON THE WAY?

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, property, residential, Uncategorized by freoview on August 13, 2019

 

 

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Good to see activity on the  Beach Street site next to the Australia Hotel. From memory, and please correct me if I am wrong, an eight-storey residential building was approved for the site by Fremantle council, so hopefully that is what is happening.

Roel Loopers

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF THE ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL?

 

 

It is always a sad thing to see the beautiful Royal George hotel in East Fremantle so neglected and not knowing what the future of the heritage listed building will be.

Saracen Properties bought the hotel last year and came up with a beautiful restoration plan for the building, but to be able to do the costly restoration they also wanted to build a 21 storey apartment highrise behind the old building. That was refused and the Town of East Fremantle council has now approved a scheme amendment for the site that only allows a maximum of seven storeys, and that is apparently not enough and not financially viable for the developers to go ahead with the restorations.

So what will happen now? The building has been vacant and neglected for far too many years and while the Friends of Royal George were yelling and screaming against Saracen’s planning proposal they are not very vocal about the building remaining unused and not cared for.

Come on East Freo, urgent action should be taken!

Roel Loopers

QUARRY STREET DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES

 

The first item on Wednesday’s Fremantle Council Strategic Planning and Transport Committee is an interesting and challenging one because it is about the City-owned properties 9-15 Quarry Street.

Proposals for the development of the sites have been controversial and not to the liking of local residents who want to retain the low-rise streetscape on the southern side of Quarry Street while it is more likeley that developers would want to build medium to high density there.

The officers recommend to:

Introduction of a uniform zoning of Mixed Use and residential density of R80 with a plot ratio of up to 1, across the lots.

Introduction of specific building height limits and setbacks, to reflect the site’s location and facilitate a transition between high and low density.

Introduction of policy controls to include specific boundary wall, overshadowing, interface and pedestrian access link controls.

Councillors and staff held an on-side workshop on April 1 this year and the agenda state that:

The following broad parameters were discussed at the informal Councillor workshop:

Priority for residential land use given the need to encourage more people to live near central Fremantle, without excluding the potential for a modest mixed use component;

A residential coding of a medium-high density (achieving an equal or greater yield to that under current zoning – previously estimated around 34 dwelling units – refer to December 2018 report);

Diversity of dwelling types is preferred but should not be prescribed beyond the new requirements recently introduced into the R-Codes Volume 2 by Design WA;

Building height up to 4 storeys (reflective of provisions already applicable to Lots 2 and 1 and its associated sub-area) in the centre of the site with lesser heights on the boundaries with existing low density residential (including that to the south-west);

A higher quality design outcome is desired on site, as far as this can be achieved through traditional planning processes (noting the much stronger emphasis on this aspect established in the new R-Codes Volume 2 by Design WA);

Existing vegetation should be encouraged to be retained but not be prescribed beyond the new requirements recently introduced into the R-Codes Volume 2 by Design WA;

There should be specific provision on where boundary walls should be permitted, along with minimum setbacks for upper floors to limit bulk and overshadowing on neighbouring properties;

Pedestrian access should be incorporated through the site to provide a connection to Fremantle Park and to potentially activate the ‘dead’ corner at the back of the site

The site walk-around reinforced local community concerns about excessive bulk and height, impacts on amenity, the suitability of the site to accommodate non-residential uses and concerns about design quality. Support was expressed for the proposed pedestrian connection into Fremantle Park.

There have been suggestions made to use the sites for age-care and affordable housing and Slavin Architects released plans on how good low-rise development could be achieved at Quarry Street.

The sites are very well located close to the railway station, high frequency buses, the Leisure Centre and Arts Centre, shopping, schools, Fremantle Park, Princess May Park, etc.

It will have to be seen if developers are interested at all as there are a lot of apartments still vacant at Heirloom and LIV and the proposed Hilton development could not manage any pre-sales of the apartments on offer there.

The residential development of the former  Energy Museum, which is very close to 9-15 Quarry Street has also not eventuated although the Match group has stated it will go ahead with it.

Any other ideas for the sites? Share it with the Freo community!

Roel Loopers

WHAT IS GOOD TASTE IN BUILDING DESIGN?

 

I think all of us who often complain about the mediocre new architecture we are getting in Fremantle should be delighted that the new DESIGN WA guidelines will apply from today on, but I am quite skeptical about the impact it will have, because good design is like good taste. It is very personal and hard to quantify.

Often when I have slammed the design of buildings others have commented they liked what I believed was atrocious architecture, so why would expert panels be any different in their different taste and preferences? Who dictates what good taste and good design is?

The new DESIGN WA guidelines are all about aesthetics and a review panel of 50 people will decide which planning proposal is in good taste and which one is not. The design review panel comprises of people from architecture, urban design, planning, and landscape architects plus more from heritage, public health, sustainability and engineering. It will be near impossible to reach consensus in such a big group I fear, so Chair Geoff Warn, who is the WA Government Architect, will have a big job ahead of him.

DESIGN WA has got rid of the controversial R-Code system applied up to now, so I wonder if Fremantle and other local councils will also do that. I’ll ask the Fremantle Planning Department if changes will be made in that regard.

I believe that our cities and communities deserve much better design than what we largely have been getting lately, especially for substantial apartment and office buildings. Retaining the tree canopy or providing significant numbers of trees and plants and creating much better streetscapes and public realm will be a very positive step forward. Let’s hope it can all be realised.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE DEVELOPMENT PIPE LINE OR PIPE DREAM?

 

 

 

Before

Today

 

Worrying signs in Fremantle for the Hilton Doubletree hotel and Ancora apartments development on the corner of Point and Adelaide Street.

The SKS Group who owns the site has been delaying the development for years and were supposed to commence this October, but all promotional signage has been removed from the sales office, and only one sign remains standing at the carpark.

On their website SKS states that a glut of hotel development might end up in many vacant rooms due to a decline in WA tourist numbers, but that is no longer the case with WA recording the highest increase in tourist numbers in Australia recently.

SKS received planning approval for a six-storey 150 rooms hotel and 98 residential apartments, but have been reluctant to start the development.

There are other residential developments in the pipeline for Fremantle, but will they become reality with the residential market being very slow? It’s a worry!

Roel Loopers

 

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FREMANTLE OVAL THE NEXT BIG PROJECT

 

 

Subiaco Oval development plans

 

After the Kings Square Redevelopment Project the next big project in Fremantle will be the Fremantle Oval one, and if it is done right we’ll have an amazing new precinct in the inner city that will connect Wray Avenue with the Cappuccino Strip.

After all the planned and in progress commercial development the heart of the city will need more medium-density residential development and the Freo Oval project is perfect for that.

Height needs to be addressed though with utmost sensitivity because of the proximity to the World Heritage listed Fremantle Prison. We can’t just apply the rule that Fremantle Hospital is high, and also the residential building across it at Arundel Court, so we can go up all the way to the height of the hospital.

The Claremont Oval development should be a huge warning for Fremantle. It is awful!

I reserve my opinion about the planned development of Subiaco Oval, but check it out for yourself on the Landcorp website, see the artist’s impression above.

Roel Loopers

A CITY INVESTMENT WORTH DEFENDING

 

Like most people in our community I don’t like the secrecy about the financial implications of Fremantle’s new Civic Centre at Kings Square. I do not understand why the CEO or Mayor don’t simply declare we had to borrow $ 20 million, or more, or less, that we will have a future return on leasing commercial property within the building, the extra rates income the City will be receiving from the new Kings Square buildings Sirona Capital is building, and other new development, etc.

After all, the Kings Square development is an investment in Fremantle’s future, and with all decisions governments make, some people will support it while others will criticise it. That’s just the way we are. But be upfront and stand your ground, Fremantle Council, because that will be respected.

I was pondering last night what I believe the Kings Square Redevelopment Project means for our city. I see it as a stone thrown in a pond that creates a ripple effect of more development and activation and that is exactly what has been happening.

The Manning building, Woolstores development with hotel, Hilton Doubletree hotel, Heirloom and LIV apartments, the development of the Justice and Police complex in Henderson Street with another hotel, the Little Lane residential on the former Spotlight site and residential development at Fremantle Park behind the former Energy Museum, boutique hotel and tavern next to the markets, Atwell Arcade, the Synagogue development, and planned development of Fremantle Oval, etc. Surely all that warrants that our council makes a substantial investment.

All over the world towns became cities because of the organic growth of them. Houses were built, a square was created where farmers sold their food, a church was next, more shops opened, more houses were built around that, schools and pubs were needed, more shops, and so they grew as a community.

That is what is happening again in Fremantle. The organic growth out from Kings Square  into surrounding areas. Kings Square is that little pebble that creates the ripples that are making a huge difference. Is it worth the investment? I believe it is, but I still would like to know how much the Civic Centre is actually going to cost.

Roel Loopers

NEW BRUSH FACTORY, BUT IS IT BEAUTIFUL?

 

 

The fences finally came down along the Brush Factory development on the corner of Duke and George streets in East Fremantle, so I went to have another look at it this morning.

I know that beauty is difficult to quantify because it has different meanings for all of us, but I do find the modern top-level addition on the old building quite intriguing, while some other parts are just not my cup of tea.

I do not like the darkness the dark bricks create along Duke Street, where apartment buildings have been added, and I find that the northern side of development, which faces the old Royal George hotel, has very strange and awkward angles, almost as if much of it was an after-thought that was added to it.

But the epic development of the former Lauder&Howard antiques building has finally been completed and incorporates the Duke of George jazz and blues bar, so it is in part a good addition for the area.

In the meantime graffiti vandals have started to deface the Royal George again and it is still not known if Saracen Properties will go ahead with the development there after all, when they are only allowed to have a seven-storey building behind the former hotel.

Roel Loopers

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BUILDING CRANE IN FREO’S HISTORIC WEST END

Posted in architecture, buildings, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on December 20, 2018

 

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It is rather unusual to see a big building crane going up in Fremantle’s historic West End, but this one was put together all day in Henry Street for the construction of the four-storey residential building on the former Fremantle Workers Club site.

Roel Loopers

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