Freo's View

FREMANTLE DEMANDS CREATIVE ARCHITECTURE!

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on November 8, 2017

 

MSC 1

MSC 2

 

It is slow news day in Fremantle today, so not much to blog about unfortunately.

But walking through Cliff Street this morning I admired the innovative architecture of the Mediterranean Shipping Company new building and the respectful way the old building has been restored to its former glory.

It is fantastic to see that North Fremantle Slavin Architects were allowed to design such a creative heritage of the future building by their client MSC, and I wonder why one of our major developers Silverleaf constantly puts up mediocre development proposals, such as the Woolstores shopping centre and Manning building sites.

Do Silverleaf’s designers not understand the importance of heritage and streetscape, or can’t they be bothered being considered about the unique character of the historic Fremantle inner city?

It is important in this context to hear what professional architect Carl Payne commented about the Manning Building proposal:

In terms of the scale of Village-Fremantle, this is a massive re-defining of a hugely-important central “super-block”. We need to preserve the maximum original structures as is reasonably possible, both externally and internally.
The brewery-barn takes a lot of important old rear buildings – some of the early residential sections of the original street-front commercial, so that’s always a worry, because we lose historic context.
If Council played harder-ball, the design brief could respond by converting these into inter-related “snugs”; like the cosy-corners in European and British pubs. It just needs some strength and commitment from Council; and some imaginative responses from the building designers and their client.
I’m sick of lose/lose.
What about win/win. It’s possible if we try hard enough.
My other additional preliminary comment is that we now have a chance to fully restore/reconstruct all original street verandas, yet we are being offered a banal boxy awning. Not good enough you building designers!!!

I want Mayor Brad to come out strongly; and NOT say that we need to encourage investment and therefore we need to give a little. Getting a bit sick of that from Brad.
He needs to make a stand on what IS acceptable; and what ISN’T acceptable. We can now look back on the last few “development years”……..and measure what is good; and what is not so good.
It’s not development versus museum town any more. Those arguments were had in the seventies.
We need to be more mature than that now.
If the building owners/developers wanna make a buck – fair enough, but not at the expense of the town; not at the expense of the heritage; not at the expensive of missing the point of what Fremantle has to offer.

We just don’t really get it – yet. We go away and look at old towns overseas – rave on about character; and history; and all that. Then we are happy with stuff that chips away at the edges to the extent that all this chipping finally removes what we wanted to keep in the first place. Death by a thousand chips. Will you have fish with that?

Aaaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

———-

Re my earlier reference to a banal boxy awning – I see the drawings actually show a detail, and that includes verandah posts and wall brackets, so there’s a nod to “original” detail, but is this just a generic reference? Or have they done their photo research etc?? Is this authenticity? Or just Disney?
And gee, the Paddy Troy Mall now ends in a basement carpark entry. The road to cars-ville. City of Fremantle, just drop the car-parking requirements please. OR, maybe this is just a client-driven detail, for business-owners parking?? Either way, it just reduces the internal courtyard to roads and car-park access. Do we really want to do this??

 

Roel Loopers

FREO COMMUNITY DEMANDS GREAT ARCHITECTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on October 31, 2017

 

Woolstores

 

The latest boring and bland development proposal for the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre by Silverleaf has made me aware once again that planning laws, rules and regulations are not adequate to ensure quality development in Fremantle.

It is not the height that worries me most, although PSA 49 should never have allowed anything higher than 8-9 storeys in the CBD, but it is the uninspiring architectural blandness of the proposal that makes me want to pull my hair out in frustration.

I like it that Silverleaf develop the properties they acquire relatively fast, but they are major development players in our city and need to understand they have a corporate responsibility to the Fremantle community to build high quality development, and not run of the mill mediocrity.

Silverleaf has every right to want to maximise the investment dollar with height and floor space, and I do understand that the triple bottom line is a priority for them.

They will also be developing the Manning Arcade and Henderson Street justice and police complex and adjoining Warders Cottages in the near future, so they need to realise that they do have an obligation to leave outstanding buildings for future generations.

The Mediterranean Shipping Company could have built a boring four-storey concrete box in Cliff Street, but instead got North Fremantle Slavin Architects to design an exceptional building for them that is heritage of the future quality.

After community backlash and Council rejection of the proposal, Notre Dame University decided that their community responsibility demanded they start all over again with the design of the new School of Nursing and Midwifery, because they understand their corporate obligations to Fremantle.

Developers who want to invest in Fremantle do need to understand they have an obligation to embrace, respect and enhance the unique character of our city. The anything goes and it’s good enough attitude toward development is not tolerated by the community.

Architects and designers should create more Fremantle-appropriate architecture that shows sensitivity toward Freo’s uniqueness, and major developers such as Silverleaf should insist on outstanding design because the Fremantle community demands it.

Great development is a win win for all!

Development plans can be viewed on the City of Fremantle website.

Roel Loopers

NEW WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT PLANS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on October 26, 2017

 

Woolstores

 

Brand-new plans for the development of the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre at Cantonment Street by Silverleaf are out and open for public submissions, so check out the City of Fremantle website.

The proposal is for a 4-10 storey mixed-use complex that would have shops, a market, a tavern, offices, student and aged-care accommodation, a carpark, etc.

There would be 799 car bays, 141 hotel rooms, 261 student accommodation and 155 retirement units.

 

Roel Loopers

FREO ENERGY MUSEUM DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on October 9, 2017

 

 

The Match Group has started on the development of the former Fremantle Energy Museum at Parry Street.

The old building will be transformed into a restaurant and other commercial accommodation, while behind it Match will build a multi-storey apartment building which will overlook Fremantle Park.

The plans for the development of the Woolstores shopping centre site by Silverleaf are at the planning department of the City, so the construction of the Adani Hotel, residential apartments and office and retail accommodation should start early next year if all goes to plan.

The Little Lane development on the former Spotlight, now Many 2.0 site in Adelaide Street is advertising its apartments, starting as low as $ 349,000, which seems good value smack bang in the centre of the city.

Freo is going places, so don’t get sucked in by the nay-sayers who constantly talk our great city down. There is an unprecedented development boom in Fremantle that will be a huge boost for our local economy, and that will revitalise our city that has been stagnant for far too long.

There is no doubt that the next four years will be a challenging period for Fremantle, but if we all work together in a positive manner and promote our fantastic Freo lifestyle, we’ll come out of it with an even better and more vibrant city.

 

Roel Loopers

Vote Roel for City Ward!

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MODERN AND HIGH NEW FREO WOOLSTORES DEVELOPMENT

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, silverleaf, Uncategorized by freoview on August 2, 2017

 

Woolstores design

 

Here a first look at the proposed development for the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre site in Cantonment Street that will house an Adani Hotel.

It will be developed by Fremantle developers Silverleaf.  According to a talk Silverleaf boss Gerard O’Brien gave at the Fremantle Network a few months ago, it will also have much needed student housing.

The site is one of 13 Fremantle CBD sites included in Planning Scheme Amendment 49. which allows for it to have up to 11 storeys, which will make it the tallest building in the city.

It is not an outstanding building, but much better than the provincial country town look of the existing building. It would be the first of the inner East sites to be developed just after the start of the Kings Square Project.  The Hilton Doubletree Hotel development at Point Street has been pushed back by two years.

Silverleaf’s Gerard O’Brien said they would keep the Coles supermarket open during construction to retain activity in the area.

This development only needs WA Joint Development Assessment Panel approval, but will be debated at a City of Fremantle Planning Committee soon, where we will be able to see more detailed plans..

 

Roel Loopers

ATWELL ARCADE CHANGES NOT SUPPORTED

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on May 2, 2017

 

Fremantle Atwell Arcade developers Silverleaf are seeking alterations to the initial approval of the building from the City of Fremantle, but the changes are not supported by the City’s planning department and Design Advisory Committee.

Silverleaf wants to remove two levels of fritted glass panels on the north east and south east of the building and also some on the south of the building.

The wording of the Design Advisory Committee advise appears to be one of annoyance with the developers trying to get changes approved when the building is already occupied:

  •   DAC is very disappointed with this amended proposal. As part of the process of design evaluation, DAC spent considerable time working on key aspects of the design with the proponent. A number of design outcomes were negotiated and were considered as necessary components leading to the DAC conditional support of the proposal and its massing and form.
  •   The fritted glazing was incorporated into the original design to help address the issue of scale and massing of the additions by making the detail behind the glass less legible and therefore allowing the visible building bulk to be read as more ‘ephemeral’.
  •   The built outcome is the negation of what was negotiated and agreed, the opposite of what the DAC had been led to believe would be provided.
  •   The provision of the balustrading to the street parapet was recognised as an important component of the promised heritage contribution.
  •   DAC is unwilling to accept that these design components, agreed by the proponent and necessary for DAC’s initial support, should be deleted because of cost.
  •   In summary, DAC does not support any of the proposed changes to the fritted glazing and screening, nor the deletion of the balustrade, all critical parts of the negotiated outcome that led to DAC supporting the project. DAC believes the project should be completed in the form that it supported and on which the DA was approved.

It is interesting to note that design changes are quite often proposed by developers after the City has given building approval and often cost are given as the reason for the changes.

Silverleaf is a huge property owner in Fremantle and they are going to develop the Woolstores Shopping Centre site, the Henderson Street Police and Courthouse precinct and the Manning Arcade, so it is very important that the developers realise they can’t get away with late changes after the horse has bolted. They need to budget better so cost don’t become an issue well into the development process.

I like it that Silverleaf does not land bank and that they quickly develop the properties they buy, but they also need to be aware of their corporate responsibilities to the community. It is not helpful that they express frustration with Fremantle Council and the DAC when Council and the expert panel insist on better design, because developers trying to cut corners and getting away with average buildings is not acceptable to the Fremantle community.

Developers often behave as if we owe them gratitude for developing in Fremantle, and I for one am delighted about so many new buildings in the CBD, but trying to get approval for un-approvable buildings is becoming a bit of a norm, with five storeys proposed for the West End when only three are permitted, and with design quality that should see architects publicly flogged for daring to suggest boring mediocrity that is disrespectful to Fremantle’s unique heritage character.

Silverleaf is good for Fremantle but only if they create stunning new inner city buildings instead of blandness. The fritted glass panelling on the Atwell Arcade makes the multi-storey building appear a lot softer and it blends better into the sky. Those plans were approved by Council and the developers now need to fulfil their part of the ‘contract’ with the City of Fremantle and not expect late changes.

The item is on the CoF Planning Committee agenda for this Wednesday at 6 pm.

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE EAST CBD DEVELOPMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, development, economy, hotel, housing, tourism by freoview on March 19, 2017

This photo taken from the top of the Fremantle Townhall on Friday has historic significance for Fremantle as the inner east CBD will look very different in a few years from now with major development plans for the area.

In about five years we will see the new Woolstores shopping centre commercial, hotel and student development by Silverleaf, the Point Street Hilton Doubletree hotel project, and the eight-storey residential development of the former Spotlight building, and just beyond that the residential development next to the Hotel Australia at Beach Street.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE’S EXCITING MODERN FUTURE

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, economy, retail, shopping, tourism by freoview on March 8, 2017

There was a rather exciting BID-Business Improvement District meeting at the National Hotel on Wednesday evening that spelled out the future of the Fremantle inner city, and I was very impressed.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said it was important that the business community engaged with the City and that they went on the journey together.

Pettitt admitted the next 3 years are going to be challenging for inner city traders because of the disruptions caused by the massive development at Kings Square and elsewhere in the CBD.

The Mayor said it was disappointing that the Hilton Doubletree hotel development on the Point Street carpark site will now only start in the first quarter of next year, so that is another lengthy delay.

The more I see of Gerard O’Brien, the boss of Fremantle developers Silverleaf, the more I like his no-nonsense approach and straight-forward message that Fremantle only has a three-year window before Garden City will more than double in size.

“We need to keep moving as we have suffered big time in Fremantle”, O’Brien said. “We need to get our act together and support each other as a community and Council. It needs to be a team effort!”

Silverleaf has huge plans for Fremantle and O’Brien said that they are only the custodians and want to leave something behind that all of Freo can be proud off, not just a glass box.

O’Brien then revealed his plans for the Woolstores shopping centre site and that is very exciting for Fremantle. The development is 26,000 square metres.

There will be an Adina Hotel, commercial floorspace and -hallelujah!- student accommodation! Plus a shopping centre at ground level and underground parking.

Coles will keep trading during the construction period and Gerard O’Brien believed that was essential to keep attracting shoppers into the inner city.

O’Brien said the design of the building pays tribute to the heritage and pays homage to the environment the new building will be in.

I quite like the old&new architecture with red bricks at ground level and vertical cladding similar to the new Perth library and theatre buildings, while the levels above that are very modern, but quite striking and minimalist.

The entire roof will be solar panels, which O’Brien said was a good investment, while the windows will be double-glazed and have new technology in them that will keep out the sun and keep the interior cool. I am impressed!

Silverleaf will also be developing “ the beautiful piece of history” former police and courthouse complex and Warders Cottages at Henderson Street into three-star history tourist accommodation with 64 rooms. It will also have a market place open space and four different concepts that are all about tourism.

New BID CEO Tim Milsom said the transformation of Fremantle is about to happen and that Silverleaf could develop anywhere in the world but chooses to do so in Fremantle.

Milsom said BID have plans for a creative hub and an aspirational business mix but O’Brien said that Fremantle has enough specialty stores.

Milsom said we need to find out from the community and visitors what is missing in Fremantle and what will bring people back. For example there is no hardware store in Freo anymore.

There is no bakery or butcher or corner deli in the CBD either, but more than a dozen new shops will open in Fremantle soon, so that is more good news.

Many 6160 are moving from the former Myer building at Kings Square to the former Spotlight building next to Target and are due to open next week.

I put my neck on the line and say that this is very good news for Fremantle and that we are on the right track to create a great vibrant city where hundreds of tourists will stay over night, eat, drink and shop and where we will finally have many students living in the inner city.

Roel Loopers

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TWO HUGE NEW FREMANTLE DEVELOPMENTS

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, western australia by freoview on March 7, 2017

EXCLUSIVE!

Two big new developments in the Fremantle CBD are not far from reality. My ears are always on the ground and my eyes on the ball to pick up interesting news on the Freo grapevine and this news is huge!

It hear the derelict woolstores building opposite Clancy’s could be developed in the not too far distance. My informants tell me that Sirona Capital has shown interest in developing the heritage-listed building opposite Princess May Park that is owned by Marilyn New, the former owner of the Esplanade Hotel.

This eyesore has been an embarrassment for decades for Fremantle residents and businesses and a very ugly welcome sign for cruise ship passengers, so it would be great to see it developed and the building occupied again.

There will be a meeting about the plans at Hotel Australia next week, but I doubt it will be a public meeting.

In other news I hear that Freo developers Silverleaf have submitted their proposal to the City of Fremantle for a mixed development on the Woolstores shopping centre site at Cantonment Street.

The initial plans were not very good I have been told and the developers got frustrated having to change them several times while working with CoF planning officers and the Design Advisory Committee, but one elected member told me that the submitted plans “look surprisingly good.”

Planning Scheme Amendment 49 for that specific location allows for up to 11 storeys, if my memory is correct, so expect the proposal to be for a very large and high development.

My understanding is that the development will happen in two stages and that it involves a hotel, commercial and residential floor space and ground-level retail, so stay tuned.

The development of these two major sites in the East CBD is huge, especially in context of the planned and approved Hilton Doubletree, Spotlight and former Energy Museum sites developments.

The modernisation of that part of the inner city that is known as ‘Little Beirut’ will greatly enhance Fremantle’s tourism and retail potential and is another significant step forward to a prosperous future for our city.

Roel Loopers

FREO CITY PAYS DOCKERS $ 1.5 MILLION FOR OVAL

Posted in city of fremantle, development, heritage by freoview on February 24, 2017

The City of Fremantle will pay the Fremantle Dockers $ 1,5 million over three years for the football club’s administration building and for them to relinquish the lease over Fremantle Oval.

This is a very good outcome for Fremantle as the Dockers initially wanted over $ 9 million and up till two weeks ago a sum of $ 4 million was still on the cards.

It means the City can now continue with its Fremantle Oval development plans and also temporarily move staff there while the new Civic Centre is built at Kings Square.

The development of the precinct south of Kings Square is a very important one, so interesting to hear that Fremantle developers Silverleaf, who bought the former  Court and Police complex at Henderson Street, have also acquired all the Warders Cottages east of William Street, so expect a development there in a few years time.

Roel Loopers

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