Freo's View

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

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

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

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN ON FREO’S FUTURE

 

The West Australian newspaper published a feature article by Ken Acott today about Fremantle’s future with the headline Freo ripe for new investment to retain its edge.

The article is based on analysis by PCW City Pulse and features the opinion of Nadia van Dommelen, who is a partner in that firm, and also Freo Mayor Brad Pettit.

A lot of what van Dommelen says is not new and she puts a lot of hope in a new waterfront development along Victoria Quay and the move of the container port to Kwinana, so that is still far too far away to be realised.

But Nadia van Dommelen rightly states that Fremantle needs to stop comparing itself with other cities and be proud of the special character and gritty uniqueness of the old port city.

While van Dommelen is excited about eventual waterfront development she believes that the working port, sheds and railway are all part of Fremantle’s charm, and any future development needs to be authentic. She says there is now major opportunity for transformative investment in Fremantle, and that is already happening

I believe Fremantle’s immediate future needs intensive city planning that deals with all the current and imminent development, and that the City’s Council and planners need to have a strategic plan for creating better and more public realm that connects the new developments in the CBD.

The Heirloom and LIV apartments at Queen Victoria Street will be joined in the next few years by the Little Lane apartments in Adelaide Street, the Hilton Doubletree hotel development and apartments at Point Street and the Adani Hotel on the Woolstores site.

Add to that the development of the Manning building, the huge Kings Square development, plans for a new Fremantle Oval Precinct, a small boutique hotel next to the Fremantle Markets plus a four-storey hotel at the former Court and Police site at Henderson Street, and one can envisage a huge change in the inner city that will require more detailed planning for people movement, parking, safety, and enjoyment.

It is imperative that Fremantle Council is very realistic and very pragmatic about what it needs to do and what can be achieved. This is not the time for pie in the sky ideas but for the elected members to have their feet firmly on the ground.

I hope it’s not a bad omen that the West Australian on-line article about Fremantle’s future features a photo of the Botega cafe that recently closed. ; >)

Roel Loopers

 

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NEW LOWER PLANS FOR FREMANTLE WOOLSTORES

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 23, 2018

 

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I am relieved that Silverleaf Investments have not chucked in the towel after the recent rejection by JDAP of their proposal for the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre site.

The new development application is significantly different, and with only six storeys, almost half lower than the previous suggestion. It is not a landmark building, but one that many will prefer a lot more than the significant high rise the company wanted to built there.

I believe it is very important for the Fremantle CBD and economy to have a good size hotel, more office space and inner city parking, so I hope this will go through the development application without major hurdles. Together with the Hilton Doubletree development at Point Street, the Little Lane development on the former Spotlight site, and the Kings Square development, this will change the run down face of the east of Fremantle into a modern city.

And there are also the development of the Manning building and the Warders cottages in Henderson Street as well as the former Courthouse and Police precinct there, with more hotel accommodation.

The proposed development includes a six storey addition and alterations to the existing shopping centre, including:

  • a new 141 room hotel
  • new office spaces
  • new retail spaces on Queen Street
  • new basement parking, accessible from Elder Place
  • refurbishment of the exisiting shopping arcade
  • alterations to the existing facades on Cantonment Street and Elder Place
  • minor alterations to the existing car park.

Public comments are invited until August 21.

For more info: https://mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au/woolstores

 

Roel Loopers

 

Henty's

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