Freo's View

POSITIVE SIGNS FOR KINGS SQUARE PROJECT

Posted in city of fremantle, hospitality, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on June 17, 2017

 

carpark

 

The Fremantle Kings Square project is not the bad news some people want us to believe it will be.

Food related businesses will no doubt serve many meals to the many construction workers who will be on site, and the streets around the square won’t be blocked off, so access should not be a big issue.

Very good news also that the Queensgate carpark will remain open to the public, but run by contractors for Sirona Capital.

The City of Fremantle is also providing extra car bays in the CBD on the large vacant block next to the Point Street carpark and along Adelaide Street. It will be managed by the CoF as a public carpark until the SKS Group starts building the Hilton Doubletree hotel there.

All day parking at the Woolstores shopping centre is only $ 9.00, so take advantage of that and Point Street is also around that price.

Roel Loopers

OUTRAGEOUS RANT FROM SOCIETY PRESIDENT

Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on June 4, 2017

Fremantle Society president John Dowson is losing the plot and needs to be reigned in by its members and committee!

This racist rubbish below, that he sent to FS members, is disgraceful and outrageous and it is unacceptable.

Fremantle gets many thousands of Malaysian tourists every months who support our retailers, hospitality industry and economy and Malaysia is a very important neighbour for WA.

Chinese interest in our mining industry are very high and China is a very important export market for our state.

The right-wing rant from the FS president is an embarrassment to the community group and Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

Which Flag Will Fly in King’s Square?

The massive sell off of ratepayer assets by Fremantle Council means that Queensgate, Queensgate car park, and the Spicer site in the heart of Fremantle belong to Sirona Capital, who have hinted the assets may be sold to overseas interests. Does this mean that key strategic assets adjoining King’s Square may soon be owned by Communist Chinese or Islamic Malaysian interests? Both countries are increasingly buying large stakes and large influence in this country.

 

FREO HEIRLOOM WINS STATE HERITAGE AWARD

Posted in development, fremantle, heirloom by match, heritage, Uncategorized by freoview on May 27, 2017

 

The Fremantle HEIRLOOM by MATCH residential development at Queen Victoria Street has won two categories in last night’s annual WA Heritage Council awards for adaptive reuse of a heritage building.

It won the Gerry Gauntlett award for excellence in conservation and also the adaptive reuse award

MATCH converted the former Dalgety Woolstores building, that was built in 1923. into 183 residential units.

The judges said that the building was a testament to the dedication and financial commitment of MATCH and they had used innovative solutions.

The Heirloom development was financially supported by Sirona Capital, which will start the Kings Square Project in the next few weeks, helping to rebuild the Fremantle economy.

Hillcrest in North Fremantle received a commendation for the conservation work done on it.

Roel Loopers

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SIRONA APPOINTS PROBUILD FOR KINGS SQUARE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on May 16, 2017

kings-square_lr

SIRONA CAPITAL has appointed national building company ProBuild for the $ 270 million Fremantle Kings Square Project. Building will commence in August this year.

ProBuild has been signed up for several major construction jobs in Perth recently and is already busy with building the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Elizabeth Quay.

I believe it is great news for Fremantle and will truly change our city’s fortunes for the better.

Roel Loopers

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IT WAS JUST APRIL ROOLS!

Posted in april fools, fremantle by freoview on April 1, 2017

No panic Freo, the Kings Square blog this morning was an April Fools, but rewarding to receive a slightly worried SMS from Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly asking if it was an April Fools.

Also fake news was the didgeridoo story and unfortunately the one about J Shed as well.

Great April Fools also from Freo Sea Rescue who claimed the traffic bridge would become a toll bridge for boats passing underneath it, to pay for repairs.

So welcome to April, one of my favourite months because it has the Fremantle International Street Arts Festival and ANZAC Day.

Roel Loopers

 

TREASURER RINGS ALARM BELLS FOR KINGS SQUARE

 

The announcement at a function on Friday night by new Western Australian Treasurer Ben Wyatt that the state government will not go ahead with the relocation of government departments because of the financial implications is very worrying for Fremantle and should send alarm bells ringing at the City of Fremantle.

Wyatt said that he had to make substantial savings to fix the budget and that the state unfortunately does not have the money for expensive relocations. The new government was in favour of the decentralisation of the workforce away from the Perth CBD but it would be better to reduce public servant staff numbers through early redundancy, increase efficiency and productivity, and reduce duplications of services, creating smaller offices, as the state could not afford the very costly relocation of departments in the near future because of the dire financial state of Western Australia.

The move of Department of Housing and other departments to Fremantle is essential for the success of the Fremantle Kings Square project and if this is cancelled or substantially delayed by the new Labor government it will have a huge negative impact for Fremantle.

The question is if Sirona Capital can afford to go ahead with the project if the lease with state government departments is ripped up, or could this be the end of Freo’s big dream of economic recovery through the biggest inner city project in many decades?

This is very worrying news at the start of the month where the demolition of the Queensgate building was due to start. I for one hope the exciting Kings Square project will progress as planned and that solutions will be found fast if Wyatt’s assertions are correct.

Many in the Fremantle community have questioned the need for a new expensive Civic Centre at Kings Square and no doubt they would be delighted if the project did not go ahead, but I believe it would be very disappointing if our city square is not modernised and activated.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE SHOULD PENALISE DEVELOPMENT DELAYS

Posted in city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on March 22, 2017

The continuing delay of the development of the Hilton Doubletree hotel on the Fremantle Point Street carpark site and the delay of settlement of the Spicer site at Henderson Street raises questions about the contracts the City of Fremantle signs with developers.

It is nice to have a clause in the Hilton sales contract that stipulates the City can buy back the site if development does not happen within a certain period, but it is totally useless as Fremantle is not in a financial position to buy back the Point Street property, and anyway, what to do with it then?

The delay of the Kings Square project meant that valuable revenue from the Queensgate carpark was lost to the COF and the delay of settlement with Sirona Capital of the Spicer property also means that Fremantle will have to wait till they get paid for it, when the City’s coffers are very empty.

Would it not be better to include penalties for delays, let’s say $ 10,000 per week, as that would be a clear message that Fremantle wants and needs development now and not sometime down the track when the Hilton developers have built three other hotels in Perth first.

Money is a great incentive to get things done fast and buy-back clauses are unrealistic when the City of Fremantle does not have the money for it.

Roel Loopers

SPICER SITE DEVELOPMENT DELAY

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, local government by freoview on March 20, 2017

 

Sirona Capital has requested that the settlement with the City of Fremantle of the sale of the Spicer site on the corner of William and Henderson streets will be delayed for 12 months to May 9, 2018.

The site was sold to Sirona for $ 6.65 million and according to expert advise the market value of the property has remained the same.

The Spicer site development is part of the Kings Square Project where Sirona develops the former Myer and Queensgate buildings, build a new Civic Centre and develop the Spicer site with a five-storey building.

It would probably be a big task for any developer to do all that development in the same area at the same time, so Council will probably approve the settlement delay at Wednesday’s full Council meeting.

Above another historic photo taken from the top of the Townhall that shows the Kings Square and Fremantle Oval Project development areas, and of course the Henderson Street Courthouse/Police precinct will also be developed by Silverleaf.

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

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