Freo's View

WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT TO START LATE NEXT YEAR

Posted in accommodation, architecture, city of fremantle, development, hotel, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on November 9, 2018

 

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Word on the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre grapevine is that the development of the Adina Hotel by Silverleaf Investments will start around September next year, because Coles is going to spend about $ 6 million on relocating the supermarket further east within the centre, presumably to make way for the hotel lobby.

Just around the corner the Point Street carpark is also still operating, although the SKS Group had asked the City of Fremantle to return the property to them, so that they could start on the basement of the mix-use development, that will also house the Hilton Doubletree hotel.

But we are seeing a lot of development in Fremantle, and more planned, so our city is moving forward.

Roel Loopers

PLANNING FOR FREMANTLE’S FUTURE

 

The Ordinary Council meeting of the City of Fremantle had two interesting potential development items on the agenda, the first one the application by Silverleaf Investments for the removal of four free half-hour parking bays and one loading bay at Market Street, so that they could widen the footpath and re-instate the awning along the Manning Building to improve pedestrian amenity and safety, and lighting under the awning.

The attempt to restrict the use of shops there to retail only and not allow alfresco was squashed with a motion by Councillor Adin Lang who argued that market forces should decide the use of shops, not council policy.

I find it hard to accept the argument for better pedestrian safety and amenity, as Silverleaf’s Robert O’Brien did, when the relatively narrow footpath can be made even narrower and more cluttered with alfresco tables and chairs, which will restrict the flow of walkers.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton’s suggestion to plant trees was unrealistic, as trees would interfere with the proposed awning and also on the road side with public transport and tourist busses which use Market Street very frequently. She was correct however that the City should be doing something about the excessive signage as too many A-frames clutter our streets. They have become a hazard an visual pollution.

Councillor Sam Wainwright argued that it was time to relocate bus stops along the Cappuccino Strip, especially near Fremantle Markets. The item was passed unanimously.

Another very interesting item was the Lefroy Road Quarry Local Structure Plan that would allow for substantial development near the Portuguese Club and the heritage-listed 1890s Healy House, with buildings of up to eight storeys permitted.

To maintain good views to Healy House was considered essential, as was public access and connectivity through the site. Councillor Andrew Sullivan said it was a very difficult site to develop and it needed to be a combined effort by the developers, community, Portuguese Club and Council to make it work. It was important for Council and planning officers to have a good relationship with the proponents as it will require robust conversation and compromises.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton stressed that design excellence on this landmark site was really important. The item was passed unanimously.

Roel Loopers

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SILVERLEAF BUYS FREMANTLE NEWPORT HOTEL

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, food, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on September 17, 2018

 

The hospitality grapevine in Fremantle is abuzz today with the yet unconfirmed rumours that Silverleaf Investments has bought the Newport Hotel on the Cappuccino Strip.

The Newport back entrance comes out onto Paddy Troy Lane and is adjacent to the Manning Building, which Silverleaf will be developing into a tavern, micro brewery, retail, etc., so it makes sense for the company to try to control that rundown part of town and improve it.

Sad news to hear that the Miss Chats bar in historic High Street has closed. It appeared to be doing well, so it’s a shame a small bar in the West End has disappeared.

But work has already started on the Republic of Fremantle tavern and gin distillery just up the road at Pakenham Street, so that will help activate the area during the evenings. It is due to open late this year.

Roel Loopers

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WORK STARTED ON FREO JUSTICE&POLICE PROJECT

Posted in city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on September 14, 2018

 

 

One thing is for sure about Fremantle’s Silverleaf Investments; they don’t dilly-dally.

Soon after receiving planning approval to develop the former Justice&Police complex in Henderson Street they have started on the exiting project.

Asbestos specialists and demolition workers of ANZENVIRO are doing the preparatory work and were busy this morning when I drove by.

Roel Loopers

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NEW AWNING FOR MANNING BUILDING

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, local government, parking, Uncategorized by freoview on September 13, 2018

 

Manning Arcade

 

The Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee of Fremantle Council last night approved the application by Silverleaf Investments for the potential improvement of the public realm adjacent to the Manning Building in Market Street, but the item needs to be endorsed still by full council since there was no quorum as two members excused themselves due to a conflict of interest.

Silverleaf wants to put a new awning along the building but that requires that the city gives up the four 15-minute parking bays plus the loading bay, near the intersection with Bannister Street.

Council already granted permission for the developers to use the percentage for the arts money to re-install the veranda along William Street, when the development of the Manning Building, with a tavern and micro-brewery commences.

Councillors were reluctant to lose parking bays but also acknowledged that pedestrian safety has been an issue on busy days, especially on weekends.

Roel Loopers

FINALLY! FREO WOOLSTORES APPROVAL

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 6, 2018

 

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The Planning Committee of Fremantle Council made a pragmatic decision last night to recommend for conditional approval to JDAP the $ 15 million development by Silverleaf Investments for a six storey mixed-use development of the Woolstores Shopping Centre site. I have no doubt that the Joint Development Assessment Panel, which is the deciding authority, will also approve the development which is well within the local planning scheme and does not require discretionary height concessions.

The development will consist of 141  hotel rooms on levels 2 to 5, retail tenancies and offices, and a basement carpark.

While the proposed new building is not spectacular and not the desired iconic landmark Fremantle Council was hoping for, it is an adequate and acceptable building for the location, Councillors, planning staff and the Design Advisory Committee believe, and so do I.

The proposed building is not excessive in height or excessive in bulk and will modernise the run down inner eastern CBD and help activate the area. It will replace the current eyesore and will hopefully encourage Marilyn New to also soon develop the even worse derelict historic woolstores to the east of it opposite Princess May Park.

The development, together with the already approved Hilton Double Tree hotel at Point Street and the Little Lane residential development in Adelaide Street will revitalise the area 24/7 and make it a safer place for all.

Just down the road the Match Group also intends to develop a four-storey  residential building behind the former Energy Museum building, where 30 per cent of apartments have already pre-sold.

All these developments will be a game changer for the east of the CBD, with Heirloom which opened last year at Queen Victoria Street, and the LIV apartments opening this month, also revitalising that part of Fremantle.

It has been a very very long road for Fremantle based Silverleaf Investments, and councillors last night thanked them for persevering after many refusals and set backs. It is in my opinion a realistic and pragmatic decision by council, as we could have waited for perfection forever and halt progress in that run down part of the city. It is a compromise but a much better outcome than keeping the status quo.

Roel Loopers

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WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT RECOMMENDED FOR APPROVAL

 

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The application by Silverleaf Investments for the development of the Woolstores shopping centre site will go before the Fremantle Council Planning Committee this coming Wednesday.

The planning officers and the City’s Design Advisory Committee recommend Conditional Approval for the six storey, 141 hotel room new building and alterations to the shopping centre and car park.

Details such as giving the facade a more robust and less glass look are still to be dealt with, but it is likely that the Elected Members will follow the recommendations of the CoF experts and recommend approval of the development to the state’s JDAP, which is the decision-making authority for the $ 15 million project.

I believe the proposed building is a lot more appealing than the present eyesore and will help improve the run down eastern part of the Fremantle CBD. The hotel will also significantly help to revitalise and modernise the area. This is not a great and iconic building, but in my opinion an acceptable compromise for the site that will improve the area, rather than keeping the status quo derelict appearance.

Roel Loopers

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WHEN WILL ATWELL BUILDING BE FINISHED?

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on August 8, 2018

 

 

Toward the end of last year an item came before  Fremantle Council to deal with the fact that Silverleaf Investments had not completed the Attwell development. Large sections of the glass paneling had not been installed because Silverleaf had spent too much money on tuck pointing.

Councillor Rachel Pemberton put a motion forward, which passed, that the item be deferred for 30 days so that CoF officers and Silverleaf could find a compromise

That was in October or November last year and we have not heard anything since about this, and Silverleaf have not started on the completion of the building nearly a year later, so what is going on?

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When developers get approval from council they do so after council has seen detailed plans of what the buildings will look like, so not completing a development to the specifications in the approval is basically a breach of contract between the developers and the City of Fremantle, and that should not be allowed to happen.

Silverleaf Investments has received approval for a significant development of the former police and justice complex in Henderson Street, as well as for the development of the Mannings building, and another application by them is on the table for a six storey addition to the Woolstores shopping centre site, so they are major players in Fremantle.

What Fremantle Council cannot permit to happen is that developers keep getting away with not completing buildings to the specifications in the planning approval, as this is becoming a common occurrence.

One way of getting buildings completed is by putting a stop on the commencement of any other future development by the same developers until they have completed the previous one to the satisfaction of planning staff. Get on with it!

Roel Loopers

WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT INFO SESSION TOMORROW!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on August 1, 2018

 

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An info session about the proposed Woolstores development will be held tomorrow, Thursday August 2 at 5.30pm at the City of Fremantle offices at Fremantle Oval.

Community members can see the floor plans and talk to CoF planning staff about the proposal.

Roel Loopers

DOES ECONOMIC REALITY DEMAND FREMANTLE DEVELOPMENT PRAGMATISM?

 

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The latest development proposal by Silverleaf Investments for the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre site was released last week and has already received criticism that it is boring and ugly, so where from here? I have been thinking long and hard about this conundrum, so here my thoughts.

I agree that this proposal is yet again not for an outstanding iconic building of exceptional design, but I also believe we need to be pragmatic about this if we want the current eyesore to disappear.

From past proposals we can deduct that it is highly unlikely that Silverleaf will ever build and iconic building in Fremantle. Great architecture and aesthetics don’t appear to be a priority for the company, so should Fremantle Council reject this latest proposal as well, or should they approve it so we just can get on with it, because Fremantle desperately needs development in that run down inner east of the CBD?

I believe that the development of the Woolstores, Spotlight site and Hilton Doubletree hotel, together with the Kings Square redevelopment are part of the critical mass to turn Fremantle’s economic, retail, tourism and hospitality fortunes around and attract many more people to our city. If that is the case the community unfortunately will have to compromise on the aesthetics, or we’ll end up with the Woolstores ugliness for another 2-3 decades.

Silverleaf director Gerard O’Brien told me at the FREO NOW launch on Friday that Coles will leave if the shopping centre is not developed, and that Target will also close its doors. Fremantle cannot afford to let that happen, I believe.

The proposed six storey addition is in my opinion not great but not an eyesore, and it would definitely be an improvement to what is there at present. So maybe the reality that Fremantle does not have the luxury of being too picky, because we desperately need development, should be part of more pragmatic decision making.

Silverleaf is a major player in Fremantle, with the exciting development of the former justice complex in Henderson Street and a new hotel there imminent, as well as the development of the Manning building in the mall and William Street, so do we want them to walk away from developing the Woolstores site because the proposal is not iconic and visually attractive enough, or do we prioritise economic necessity over aesthetic beauty in that unattractive part of the inner city?

Let’s be clear and honest that up to know all new commercial buildings approved in Fremantle over that last years are not of outstanding design quality, but for the MSC building in Cliff Street. The Myer and Queensgate buildings at Kings Square are not great architecture and neither are the LIV apartment building, or the approved Hilton hotel and Little Lane developments.

Some people who hate high buildings can be happy that the new Woolstores proposal is for only six storeys, so a lot lower than the previous proposal, that was rejected by JDAP because it lacked the architectural excellence required to receive the two storey additional discretionary height allowance.

I was worried the last few years that the Hilton Doubletree development might not go ahead, and although I have been critical about the design of the building, I am happy that the SKS group will now start on the development this year, because I strongly believe that these developments in the east CBD are critical, and once open will make a big positive difference for our struggling Freo traders.

I love outstanding modern architecture and I am disappointed that we don’t seem to attract any of that in Fremantle, but in this case I am for compromise and pragmatism, even when I know I will be heavily criticised for it by some people in our community.

I am looking forward to receiving your opinions, pro or contra, as this is a discussion we need to have.

Roel Loopers

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