Freo's View

FUTURE OF EAST FREO’S ROYAL GEORGE IN DOUBT

 

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The future of the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel in Duke Street, East Fremantle is in jeopardy after the East Fremantle Council on Wednesday approved a scheme amendment that will only allow six storey buildings in the precinct, without discretionary additional height.

Saracen properties have proposed to refurbish the beautiful old building but to make that financially lucrative for the developers they wanted a 21-storey slim tower on the vacant site behind the hotel.

It is highly unlikely that Saracen will now continue with their proposal, but abandon it, which will severely bring into doubt the future of the Royal George, that has been vacant and derelict for far too many years.

It would be a real shame if a compromise can’t be found, but the new scheme amendment does not allow for much give and take.

Roel Loopers

ROYAL GEORGE HEIGHT A HUGE PROBLEM

 

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It will be an interesting Planning Committee session at the Town of East Fremantle tonight, with Council debating a Scheme Amendment for the historic Royal George Hotel site at Duke Street.

Saracen Properties have proposed a 21-storey building behind the heritage listed building, but that has received huge community criticism, as was to be expected.

There is not yet a planning proposal by Saracen at the Town of East Fremantle and the final decision authority is the WA JDAP, but the proposed Scheme Amendment to be discussed this evening is to only allow a seven-storey building that does not exceed 36 metres on the vacant part behind the former hotel.

Several public submissions even argued against a seven-storey building and want only 3-4 storeys behind the heritage building

Saracen made it clear during community consultation that they can’t spend millions of dollars on refurbishing the old Royal George unless they get considerable height allowance. A much lower building is not financially viable according to the proponents.

It is known that JDAP and SAT do overrule local government decisions, so even if Council tonight decide to approve the proposed Scheme Amendment Saracen might still put forward the 21-storey building at JDAP.

It would be an utter shame if nothing would happen again and if the Royal George remained a vacant and derelict eyesore for another ten years.

Roel Loopers

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TALL DEVELOPMENT FOR ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL

 

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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. :>)

 

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BY GEORGE. IT’S NOT THAT HIGH!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, east fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on September 21, 2017

 

 

About two years ago I sat around a table in a George Street cafe, together with concerned East Fremantle residents,  five East Fremantle councillors and the Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk, in response to the concerns about the neglect of the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel.

It was agreed that the Town of East Fremantle should try to do a masterplan or scheme amendment for the Plympton  Precint to better control future development.

It came as a surprise then two weeks ago that I was approached to sign a petition against Scheme Amendment 15, because the petitioner said it would allow 18 storeys on the carpark behind the old building.

I was aware that Saracen Properties  has bought the building and that they wanted to build apartments behind the Royal George, to offset the cost of the very expensive heritage conservation.

To find out what the facts are I contacted East Freo Deputy Mayor Michael McPhail, who assured me that Amendment 15 would not allow 18 storeys on the site, but only seven, with a discretionary additional height clause, which is normally a maximum of two storeys, for excellent architecture.

Council has also done an Urban Design Study for the area, McPhail told me.

P.S. McPhail’s nominated again for the Preston Point Ward seat at the October local government election, and I highly recommend him. He is a very intelligent and likeable young man.

 

Roel Loopers

BY GEORGE! BUT WILL IT BE ROYAL?

Posted in architecture, development, east fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on July 9, 2017

 

 

It looks like finally something will happen at the Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle, with Council advertising a planned amendment (No 15) to Local Planning Scheme 3 and create a Special Zone Royal George Hotel that will deal with height, setbacks, public art, heritage conservation, etc.

The vacant and derelict building has been an eyesore for far too many years, to the chagrin of local residents and businesses. It became a target for homeless people, vandalism and graffiti, so renovating the old lady and getting it occupied again will be a very good step forward.

But I heard from local residents this morning that there are plans for a ten-storey building on the carpark behind the heritage building and that could become controversial.

Height is not necessarily  a bad thing, but it is the architecture that is often a worry, as the development next door in Duke Street of the Lauder&Howard building shows.

The very boring dark brick building should not have been approved and I feel sorry for the people next door whose house is set back and now intimidated by the scale of the boring apartment building.

It is a real blight on the streetscape of Duke Street and the elected members of the Town of East Fremantle will be the only ones who believe this building is acceptable in a low-rise residential area. Aesthetics? Never heard off it!

According to the signs the Amendment No 15 proposal can be viewed at the Townhall. Not sure why it is not on-line. It’s 2017 East Fremantle!

Roel Loopers

GREAT ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL NEWS

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

EAST FREMANTLE ROYAL GEORGE NEGLECT DISGRACE

 

The neglect by the National Trust of the historic former Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle is a bloody disgrace and shows the organisation’s dismal failure of protecting the heritage buildings in it’s care.

The Royal George saga has been going on for many years, when artists were forced to move out and the building has been vacant since, making it a target for vandalism and homeless people.

Every now and then we are assured that yet again new developers are looking into the viability of renovating the building and making it habitable again, but it always turns out to be hot air and empty promises.

The Town of East Fremantle appears powerless to force the issue and demand that the site be renovated and activated.

It is an utter disgrace and something needs to be done at state and federal level to force the issue because the status quo is no longer acceptable and is endangering the beautiful heritage-listed building.

Roel Loopers

FINALLY ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, fremantle, heritage, town of east fremantle by freoview on February 19, 2016

After far too many years of being neglected and standing vacant the 1903 built Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle will finally be renovated and the parking site behind it developed.

Saracen Properties will initially lease the property from the National Trust but will be able to purchase it after rigorous heritage assessment of the proposed residential apartment building behind the heritage-listed building.

Th former hotel will be turned back to a pub and restaurant at ground level and short-stay accommodation at the upper level.

The question will be how many apartments and how many storeys Saracen want to build behind the old hotel, as this was very controversial at the burnt-out Guildford Hotel where State agencies overruled the local council there and allowed inappropriately high building behind the hotel. Hopefully Saracen want a more modest residential building that respects the heritage and streetscape.

We will have to keep a close eye on the proposed development, but at least something is happening with the hotel at the far end of charming George Street.

Roel Loopers

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WESTBRIDGE PROPERTIES LOOKING AT ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL

Posted in fremantle, heritage, town of east fremantle by freoview on September 22, 2015
Heritage protection is a serious challenge and needs to be done with utmost care.

Heritage protection is a serious challenge and needs to be done with utmost care.

East Fremantle residents and heritage advocates have been worried about the demise of the old Royal George Hotel for many years, as there appears to be little action to remedy the decline and neglect of the building.

We now however have been informed that there is  a Working Group that includes State Heritage Office, the Town of East Fremantle and the National Trust to work with Westbridge Property Group towards a conditional purchase lease over the Royal George Hotel.

Westbridge is putting together a package of information that will be used to brief the Minister for Lands. The Working Group recently visited the site, local residents were told by the department.

The Westbridge Property Group combines Saracen Properties and Sirona Capital and the group is involved in the Quest Hotel development in Pakenham Street, Fremantle, Habitat Nth in North Perth, the Glass House in South Perth, Tenth&Beaufort in Inglewood, and properties in West Perth and Perth.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent. 

Written and authorised by Roel Loopers. 5 Maxwell Street. Beaconsfield 6162

PROTECT THE ROYAL GEORGE HOTEL PETITION

Posted in fremantle, heritage by freoview on March 19, 2015

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Fremantle MP Simone McGurk has started a petition to make sure the heritage-listed Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle is not handed over by State Government to private developers without the guarantee that the heritage of the building will be respected.

The old hotel in Duke street has been under the ‘care’ of the National Trust for many years, who have badly neglected the building whilst promising renovations and occupancy which never eventuated.

Heritage conservation in Western Australia is unacceptable and needs to be addressed by our political parties, because allowing the unique buildings to rot away and to eventually be demolished is unacceptable. History is the roots of our society and needs to be respected and cared for.

Contact Simone McGurk’s office on:  Fremantle@mp.wa.gov.au or call by her office in Market Street to get copies of the petition.

Roel Loopers

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