Freo's View



Predictably the Fremantle Society has lodged a submission with the City of Fremantle against the planning approval for a mixed use development of the Woolstores shopping centre site, as the FS  president shared with his members.

John Dowson argues that there is no need to rush the development of the site and that the City should take possession of the six shops near the corner of Elder Place and Queen Street, which was investigated by Fremantle Council last year, but no action taken.

The Society has many arguments against the development, and I too have heard some architects say the plans were disappointing, while others find it acceptable. I believe the development would be a huge improvement to the bland and boring building that is currently there, so that would be a big step forward to modernising that run-down part of Fremantle’s CBD, and for me that is a priority for our city.

Of course the plans could be different and better, and if we asked 25 architects we would get 25 different plans, and everyone of them would receive criticism from the public and other architects. That is the simple reality of life and anything creative. Someone else will always have another, maybe better, idea on how to improve our city.

For example, as a layman, I would have liked to see the corner of the building at Cantonment Street be rounded, to compliment the other corner and also the roundabout there, and there are no doubt many other ideas on how the plans could be improved, but too many cooks…..

I am more interested in the big picture and see the development in context with what is happening at Kings Square, the Little Lane residential development over the road, the proposed Hilton Doubletree hotel development, the Energy Museum development, a possible new use for the Adelaide Plaza next to the Basilica, and maybe a new hotel on the former Spicers site at William Street.

All these developments, once realised, will make that part of Fremantle much safer, and far more attractive and it will start creating the 24/7 economy and lifestyle that Fremantle needs, if our retailers and hospitality providers are going to survive.

We all want perfection and outstanding architecture, but that will not happen overnight. We need to accept that progress is slow and not always perfect, but the plans for the Woolstores are a big improvement for this significant site, and I hope they will be approved, and that Silverleaf Investments will commence with the construction very fast.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, retail, shoes, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on December 8, 2019




A lot of shops have moved sideways in the Manning building to accommodate the redevelopment that Silverleaf Investments are doing there.

When walking back from the Christmas Carnival at Victoria Quay yesterday I noticed that the Bob’s Shoe Store has relocated and now is in a lovely modern new shop with exposed brick walls, designed by the son of owner Cory Fong.

Broome resident and Aboriginal elder Fong told me that Bob’s had been at the Cappuccino Strip for over 30 years. That is about as long as I have known Cory.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, city planning, development, food, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on December 5, 2019





I received information from Silverleaf Investments director Gerard O’Brien who assured me that the Coles supermarket will stay at the Fremantle Woolstores.

It will only close for 14 months during part of the development, so that is good news.

Now could we have a pop-up supermarket somewhere in the CBD during that period? Is the space Woolworths occupied in the Adelaide Plaza still available, Sirona Capital?

Roel Loopers



Posted in city of fremantle, city planning, development, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on December 5, 2019


The Fremantle grapevine is abuzz with the rumour that Coles will be leaving the Woolstores shopping centre and that staff have been told the supermarket chain won’t be part of the new hotel, retail, child care and police station development by Silverleaf Investments, that still needs planning approval by JDAP.

It would be a pretty big shock for Fremantle if there were no longer a supermarket in the CBD, but I am quietly confident that with all the development happening and in the pipeline in Freo another chain like IGA or Woolworths will find the Woolstores option an attractive opportunity.

Roel Loopers

UPDATE at 1.50pm:

The rumours are only partly correct as Coles will only close doors during the development, but return when the new building is finished, which will still leave the CBD without a supermarket for at least two years.





There is a very good article about Fremantle by Kim Macdonald in the WestBusiness Insider magazine of the West Australian newspapers.

The front cover headline is Freo, The Billionaires&The Future with photos of Andrew Forrest and Angela Bennett.

The five-page article mentions that there is a lot of interest for investment and development in Fremantle by some of the biggest players in Western Australia, such as Bennett, Forrest, Adrian Fini, Sirona Capital, Silverleaf Investments, etc.

Sirona Capital’s Matthew McNeilly is quoted as saying that there is a lot of love for Fremantle….because you cannot find another Fremantle anywhere else in Australia.

Angela Bennett’s son Todd is the executive director of AMB Capital that wants to do a major development in the Fishing Boat Harbour south of Little Creatures, with residential and short-stay accommodation, retail, food, etc.

Twiggy Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation owns the Spicers site on the corner of William Street and the Henderson Street mall and they are doing a feasibility on developing that into a lifestyle boutique hotel, while the Fini Group wants to develop the Italian Club site, south of the Esplanade, into apartments, a boutique hotel and wellness centre.

Silverleaf Investments is busy developing the Mannings Building, is close to starting the Woolstores hotel development, and also have approved plans for the former Police&Justice complex between Parry and Henderson streets.

Silverleaf’s Gerard O’Brien told WestBusiness that Fremantle is magnetic. Perth wants the CBD Fremantle has got.

It is really good to see the West Australian acknowledging the huge and positive transformation Fremantle is going through. It is a shame though to hear from a Freo newsagent that the magazine was not inserted in the newspapers he got on Thursday, so many people who asked for it were disappointed it was not available.

Roel Loopers






Manning 1

Manning 2



The centre core of the new City of Fremantle Civic Centre is now clearly visible when one looks at it from the first floor of the Fremantle Mall in William Street. The core will allow daylight to flood down into the basement library and surroundings.

Over the road the redevelopment of the Manning’s Chambers by Silverleaf Investments is also progressing well and it looks great. I hear that it also looks stunning inside the building with all new handmade window frames for the offices there which are already leased to 80%.

Silverleaf Investments is one of the major players in Fremantle and often gets a lot of criticism, but I believe while the community and Council always will have to demand top quality development we also have to acknowledge how significant all the Silverleaf development is for our city.

Silverleaf is developing the Woolstores, Manning’s Chambers, the Police&Justice complex and will no doubt also make changes to the Newport hotel they own, so this family business is very important for Fremantle and should be respected for that.

The Yolk Property group is also playing a part in Fremantle’s renaissance with the Little Lane development next to Target, and if the SKS Group finally makes a move on the Hilton Double Tree hotel development the inner city of Fremantle will be substantially modernised to attracts more people to live, work and visit. Bring it on!

Roel Loopers




Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on November 5, 2019





The exciting latest proposal for the development of the Woolstores shopping centre site has been revealed and has a lot of potential.

Fremantle based Silverleaf Investments want to build a six storey mixed use complex that will have a 141-room hotel, the new Freo Police Station, a child care centre, offices, retail at ground level, and five levels of parking that will be accessed from Elder Place.

If the development application gets the support of Fremantle Council and the approval from JDAP and the development would start early next year, so that would be great.

While it is always difficult to imagine what a building will look like I do really like what I see in these renders. It would be a great addition to Fremantle.

It will also be very good to keep the Police Station in the centre of the city and it would help a lot to combat antisocial behaviour in that part of town.

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on November 1, 2019




Nice to see the two small balconies at the Mannings Building in the High Street mall. Looks great Silverleaf Investments!


Roel Loopers




It looks like 2020 could be a huge building bonanza for Fremantle with the probable start of three major developments close to each other in the city centre,

New hotel plans by Silverleaf Investments for the Woolstores shopping centre will go to public consultation soon, and I hear the SKS group is getting serious about the Hilton Double Tree development on the Point Street car park site, while the Yolk Property Group has indicated they will also start soon on the Little Lane residential development at the former Spotlight site next to Target.

Sirona Capital will open the new buildings at Kings Square and the FOMO retail and hospitality concept in the first quarter of next year, and the Housing Department will move in above it.  The City of Fremantle’s new Civic Centre is due for completion by the end of 2020.

The refurbishment of the Mannings Building is looking great, but I hear the micro brewery part of it is on hold because Silverleaf Investments have also obtained the Newport Hotel next to it and want to open up the back of it to create a hospitality hub in Paddy Troy Lane, where Benny’s cafe and bar is already creating an alfresco area.

In the West End The Social residential development on the former Fremantle Workers Club site in Henry street is also progressing well.

Still no word when the Match group will start on the residential development at the former Energy Museum site at Parry street, and when Silverleaf Investments will begin with the development of the former Police and Justice complex in Henderson Street.

Hopefully the Minderoo Trust and Forest Family Foundation will develop the sites they bought in Fremantle soon as well

I find it inspiring to witness Fremantle’s transformation toward a city of a mix of stunning heritage buildings and many new modern buildings. It’s the facelift Freo had to have.

I am certain there are great times ahead for Fremantle.

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on October 19, 2019



Manning building.


The scaffolding on a beautiful High Street heritage building is coming down revealing the stunning restored facade.

The building which is next to the former RSL club has the Breaks cafe at ground level and new residential living above it. It was designed by retired building designer Tom Mascaro who did a favour for his mate the property owner who lives in Italy.

The back of the Manning building in Paddy Troy Lane is also showing what is will look like in a few months, when it will open as a tavern, micro brewery and distillery.

Roel Loopers


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