Freo's View

ARCHEOLOGISTS DIG AT KINGS SQUARE

Posted in city of fremantle, heritage, history, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on December 11, 2017

 

An archeological dig will be conducted at Fremantle’s Kings Square in January to find remains and related items of the former St John’s church, which was demolished in 1882.

A team from Archae-aus and Museum of Moving Objects will search at four locations on Kings Square from January 15-21, 2018, so keep an eye out for them.

I am still waiting for the announcement of the start of the demolition of the Queensgate building, that was due to commence in November.

Project managers Sirona Capital have assured me this won’t delay the construction of the Kings Square project and FOMO retail concept.

Roel Loopers

 

FREO NEEDS TO LEARN TO CHILL

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on November 22, 2017

 

Fremantle Council meetings can sometimes be a wee bit irritating or frustrating because Councillors in their attempt to get everything right sometimes overdo it and want to micro-manage everything.

It was such a meeting this Wednesday evening, where I wondered sometimes why the elected members were still debating an item that should have been passed, rejected or deferred many minutes earlier.

Take the debate about an awning at Newman Court for the Kings Square Project. It is bold, it is the innovative FOMO retail concept that wants to be different, modern, daring and cheeky, but our Councillors just wanted something horizontal, to the great frustration of Mayor Brad Pettitt (and me!).

We need to get over the idea that new bold design can be very Freo, as in old Fremantle, and we need to allow the entire Kings Square concept to have its own life and organically grow on us as a community.

What was great architecture 50 years ago is no longer the way we design and build. Fremantle has changed, is changing and will be changing even more, simply because times change and cities do not remain the same. They grow, evolve, progress and modernise.

Trying to micro-manage the Kings Square Project is more likely to become a design disaster, so we need to have some trust in the architects, the retail experts, the community surveys about shopping, and also in Sirona Capital, which is investing a shitload of money in the project.

Freo needs to learn to chill a bit and not always fear the worst possible outcome. FOMO is all new and something we know very little about, so let’s allow it to happen with confidence, not fear. It’s not forever, it can and no doubt will change over time, when shoppers tell us what they like and dislike and that is the time to be flexible and willing to adapt and change.

Other items on the agenda:

  • Finally signed off was the new clubhouse at Fremantle Park.
  • Finally rejected a proposal for an extension and new cafe at Wray Avenue next to  Butcher Frank’s
  • The Fremantle RSL not happy that  the Beach Street premises will be leased to Arts on the Move.  Councillor Doug Thompson agreed and said Council should prefer local organisations.
  • Councillor Jeff McDonald has been elected on the board of Circus WA.
  • 13 Mrs Trivett Place in the Bathers Beach Art Precinct will be leased to artists Mark Welsh and Fiona Gavino. It took forever to change the terms from 5 years to then 1+1+1+1+1, to finally 2+1+1+1. But they got there in the end.

I found it all a bit tedious this eve, so I need a drink!!

Roel Loopers

HELP DESIGN KINGS SQUARE PUBLIC SPACES

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on October 28, 2017

 

civic-heart

 

The Fremantle community is now able to have their say on how public spaces in central Fremantle will look and function as part of the upcoming renewal of Kings Square.

An online interactive map of the area is available on the City’s My Say Freo engagement portal, where people are able to navigate through the various zones to provide input on design and function until 4 December 2017.

Key aspects of the draft Kings Square Public Realm Concept Design include:

  • more shaded areas, with a 5% increase in tree canopy
  • an additional 600sqm of public gardens and grassed areas (a 3.4% increase)
  • a new outdoor children’s play space
  • a designated church yard and urban garden area
  • new paving and street furniture extending further out to the edges of the square
  • the retention of service vehicle access, universally accessible parking and vehicle drop-off zones
  • designated outdoor spaces for events
  • wider footpaths to encourage alfresco dining
  • integrated public artworks celebrating Fremantle’s Aboriginal and European heritage.

 

SHOP CLOSURE OPPORTUNITY FOR KINGS SQUARE PROMOTION

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on October 14, 2017

 

The Daily. Kings square

 

It is disappointing that Best&Less in Fremantle’s William Street have closed, but it creates a very good opportunity to promote the Kings Square Project and exciting FOMO retail concept there.

The location of the shop and the huge windows are ideal for an imposing large display of the virtues of the Kings Square Project.

It is highly unlikely the shop can be leased during the KS construction period, so maybe Sirona Capital and the City of Fremantle can come to an arrangement with the property owners to use the big windows to show artist’s impressions of the new buildings and FOMO retail concept.

That should not just be static images, but also large plasma screens with pictures and promotions for nearby businesses which are impacted by the project.

Another screen could live-stream the construction progress from already installed cameras, so that the public is constantly up to date on what is happening at Fremantle’s largest ever development project.

 

Roel Loopers

Vote Roel for City Ward!

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IT’S ALL ABOUT POPULATION FREO!

Posted in city of fremantle, lifestyle, living, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on September 27, 2017

 

There were calls at the South Fremantle election forum last night, and we have heard them before, that Fremantle should be like Copenhagen or Amsterdam when planning the future of transport, and that lightrail is a top priority for our city, but is this realistic?

Fremantle is not a European city, but a small port city on the west coast of Australia with a population of just 30,000. It would be considered a country town in Europe. Copenhagen had 583,525 residents and Amsterdam had 821,752 in 2015, so that is a significant and very important difference, because it is all about population numbers.

Shared streets are popular and safe in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, etc. because of the sheer numbers. When you are in your car at a traffic light behind 200 cyclists there is no way that you are going to consider to sneak passed them. You just stay behind until they turn left or right, or onto a bicycle lane. It’s safety in numbers!

In Fremantle probably fewer than 100 cyclists a day ride through the Cappuccino Strip, and mostly on their own and not in numbers, so some idiot drivers will try to sneak by them, careful not to scratch their car on the planter boxes, so they are dangerously close to cyclists.

Lightrail is not a financially viable option in a city of just 30,000, so we need drastic population growth before the state government or private investors would consider it. It is at least 15-20 years away, like the outer harbour, no matter how often we dream about it.

But why the obsession with European cities anyway? Fremantle is a very unique small city that needs to be nurtured and be allowed to organically grow. It needs sensible and sensitive medium-density infill and strongly improve residential, commercial and visitors’ numbers to help boost our economy, but we’ll never be a huge city like the European cities, and I like that.

European cities have slowly grown, layer upon layer for many centuries and Freo is still relatively young at 188 years old in that regard. Fremantle’s population has only grown slightly from 20,444 residents in 1901 to just 30,000 in 2017, so fewer than 10,000 people in 116 years. And Aboriginal people were not counted in 1901!

Why do some people want to change Freo into a city with a European character, when it is a pretty comfortable place that just needs good adjustments, more eye to detail and a lot of TLC?

Fremantle is a tree that already has strong roots, but that needs some healthy fertiliser in the form of good development, population growth and strategic planning, and some of that has to come from state and federal governments.

We need to lose the inferiority complex and be proud of Freo. We should stop believing it needs to change to a more European model, because we are very different, with a very different climate and outdoor lifestyle, and not anywhere near as hectic as the big European cities are, and our population numbers do not stack up to compare Freo with Copenhagen or Amsterdam.

It is telling that Sirona Capital gets it! They have come to the conclusion that Fremantle is like no other place and that it needs an all new and exciting very Freo retail concept at Kings Square. FOMO does not exist anywhere else in the world and will help Freo’s reputation of having a unique character and lifestyle, and we can build on that.

Let’s assist in Freo’s growth by collaborating better. If we all take ownership of our city we can create something together for future generations that we can be very proud off!

 

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD!

PERMANENT FESTIVAL FOR FREO’S KINGS SQUARE

Posted in city of fremantle, festivals, kings square, retail, Uncategorized by freoview on September 14, 2017

 

This is such big and good news for Fremantle that I have simply copied it off the Fremantle Mayor’s blog, since I did not receive any information about this from Sirona Capital or the City of Fremantle, which is disappointing.

Kings Square Fremantle will play host to a semi-permanent festival under a radical but carefully curated multimillion-dollar plan for a borderless retail, community and entertainment precinct.

FOMO, as the precinct has been christened, will reverse the effect of decades of neglect to allow Fremantle to reclaim its status as a thriving tourist destination, according to Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly, the developer of the $270 million office, retail, church and civic precinct.

“We threw out the retail rule book,” Mr McNeilly said.

“We saw a once-in-a-generation opportunity to harness the unique personality of Fremantle to create a retail environment where the journey will be as important as the destination.”

The flavour of FOMO, the 5783sqm retail space at the heart of Kings Square, will be devised in a series of workshops with the community, artists and musicians of Fremantle, highlighting and intensifying the best of Fremantle’s makers and artisans.

The Daily will be part of an art, architecture, culture and retail hub “unique to Fremantle”.Picture: Supplied

 

Its precincts include Street Alley, Tidal Land and Newman Court — a food space with slow food, good food, fast and fresh food which then morphs into spaces selling homewares, fashion and homemade goods.

Radical retail architect, HDR Rice Daubney principal Susanne Pini, said the double-storey Emporium (the former Myer building) would echo a “cool container” with an eclectic mix of organic and free flowing retail concepts.

For example, an area called The Daily, will offer local makers workspace, gallery, retail space around the base of the old carpark area and a window for passing pedestrians into how artisans bring their ideas to life.

City of Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said FOMO will be an art, architecture, culture and retail hub “unique to Fremantle”.

The project, to include two office campuses with 20,400sqm of A-grade office space, a revamped 800 bay carpark and outdoor retail, entertainment and eating spaces and a new $50 million civic precinct for the City of Fremantle, was “a unique opportunity to take a retail risk”, Mr McNeilly, said.

The office complex will house more than 1500 workers and Mr McNeilly said that in curating and intensifying the appealing elements of Fremantle, FOMO would almost double the number of tourists visiting Fremantle from 1.6 million to 3 million a year.

POSITIVE FUTURE FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on September 1, 2017

 

AA

 

The ceremonial start of the Fremantle Kings Square Project development by Sirona Capital was held this Friday morning, with WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt, Housing Minister Peter Tinley, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and Sirona Managing Director Matthew McNeilly.

The electronic and print media also turned up en-masse, and Minister for Women Simone McGurk, Federal MP Josh Wilson, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Olwyn Williams, attended, as did many Freo councillors and staff.

A special mention should go to former City of Fremantle CEO Graeme McKenzie, who did a lot of the hard work and preparations for this game-changing project. Nice to see him present!

The $ 270 millions project will deliver 25,800sqm of new commercial office and retail space, plus a new civic centre for the City. This is the largest infrastructure project in Fremantle’s history!

More than 1,00 fulltime workers will be working in the construction of the project.

Once completed Kings Square will have more than 2,000 people working there, which represents a 13% boost in the number of workers in the Fremantle CBD.

Sirona’s Matthew McNeilly said the development was an indication of Fremantle Council’s courage and desire to revitalise the city.

I am personally delighted that this huge project is finally under way, after so many years of waiting and hoping.

Those who believe that this project will not have a massive positive impact on Fremantle should stay in bed and contemplate their miserable negative existence. : >)

Roel Loopers

FREO FANTASTIC FUTURE FOCUS

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, Uncategorized by freoview on August 31, 2017

 

 

The fence maze at Fremantle’s Kings Square already looks a whole lot better with the promo wording on it.

Also good to see BID putting signs up so people know where to park during the construction, and the City of Fremantle will also put up wayfinding signs in the area.

In this context I sent the letter below to the West Australia in response to an article they published today about the former Subiaco market site:

As a Fremantle resident I find Gareth Parker’s opinion piece on the development plans for the Subiaco Market, and the opposition by its council very interesting.

While 16 storeys for the market site are probably excessive, it is important that councils do find a middle ground to assist urban infill.

In contrast to Subiaco the Fremantle Council has actively promoted Fremantle as a pro development destination over the last eight years. That has now resulted in unprecedented development in our port city for forty years.

The Kings Square Project that starts this month is the biggest development ever seen in Fremantle, and the Woolstores shopping centre site will also soon be developed into a nine storey hotel, student accommodation and commercial spaces.

Not all development we are getting in Freo is outstanding, but at least most of it is in the run down east of the inner city and does not severely impact on the heritage character of the West End.

Fremantle, like Subiaco, had been stagnant for years, our traders are struggling and there are too many shop vacancies, but that will all be turned around through massive development and more people living and working in the CBD, and more tourists being able to stay overnight in new hotels.

Future focussed planning is essential and where Subi Council failed Fremantle Council excelled. There are lessons to be learned here for other councils.

 

Roel Loopers

A-MAZE-ING KINGS SQUARE

Posted in city of fremantle, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on August 30, 2017

 

 

Fremantle’s Kings Square is a maze of fences after contractors for Sirona Capital put fences around the Queensgate and Myer building.

The start of the biggest development project in Fremantle ever is only weeks away, with the demolition of the Queensgate building toward the end of September.

The new retail and entertainment hub will provide a much-needed boost for our local traders and the city’s economy.

Officers of the City of Fremantle were out this morning to check locations for new wayfinding signs, so no one will get lost in the maze.

The present fences will be replaced with more visually creative and attractive permanent fences soon.

 

Roel Loopers

 

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KINGS SQUARE DISPLAY AT TOWNHALL

Posted in city of fremantle, development, kings square, sirona capital, Uncategorized by freoview on August 23, 2017

 

 

Hello boys and girls, this is your uncle Roelie, the regular provider of fake Freo news, the new council spin doctor(sorry Jason and Paul!), and the election campaign manager for Bradman for the Entire Universe and Beyond, according to a Fakebook page.

Uncle Roelie went to the Fremantle Townhall to check out the displays about the Kings Square Project development. Not that he really needed it, because he has been involved in it from the very first start and community consultation.

Your old senile uncle, who can’t get his facts right, met the Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly at the first walk around the area to look at connectivity, sightlines, etc. and went to every Kings Square session after that, including the citizenship jury.

But unlike others, I believe it is not good to be ingnorant, and that one should be informed and have the facts before one makes comments, so hence my visit to the beautiful Townhall to see if I could update my knowledge.

Mayor Brad Pettitt and Sirona’s Matthew McNeilly were there, and I saw Councillor Jon Strachan and his partner Cathy Hall, and Beacy election candidate Fedele Camarda was also there, as was developer Bruce Moriarty.

A comment I read, claiming that this Council had not achieved much in the last eight years is not based on facts, yet again. Fremantle has got unprecedented development happening and in the pipeline, that we have not seen in the port city in forty years.

If the Barnett State Government had earlier committed to the Department of Housing moving to Fremantle, the Kings Square development could have been ready by now.

But boys and girls, it’s always easier to blame council rather than dealing with facts. As for Uncle Roelie, he’ll be at the Fremantle Council ordinary meeting tonight to make sure he knows what he’s talking about.

Good night boys and girls. Sleep well!

 

Roel Loopers

 

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