The article about development by WA Planning Minister Donna Faragher in today’s West Australian newspaper shows the Liberal party has resigned to the fact they can’t win the seat of Fremantle at the state election in March.
While the minister is excited about all the development in Cockburn, Midland, etc. she does not mention Fremantle once, although the port city is in an unprecedented development boom. So let’s update the minister on what goes on in good old Freo nowadays.
The Heirloom by Match apartments have just opened and opposite from there the LIV Defence Housing is building a huge residential development. Down the road next to St Pat’s another large apartment building will be built and just a couple of metres from there another one at Beach Street.
The Hilton Doubletree development should start early this year and the Quest hotel opened late last year in Packenham Street, while the B. apartments at Bathers Bay are also building new rooms.
Plans for an eight storey apartment building on the former Spotlight site have been approved and plans are well under way for residential development of the former Fremantle Workers Club, while Match is also building new apartments opposite the Local Hotel in South Freo and are developing the former Energy Museum site.
Oh and Minister, there is also a huge development commencing at Kings Square this year, in case you have not heard about it, and the Atwell Arcade development has also been completed, and there are many more substantial building projects in the pipeline for Fremantle.
And the heritage Warders and Gunners cottages are now also ready for occupation, dear Donna.
There is a lot going on in Fremantle and it is disrespectful of the Minister for Planning to not mention it at all.
The City of Fremantle Oval to Ocean/Port City Priorities function at the new Coast restaurant at Port Beach on Tuesday night brought a lot of influential people to Fremantle, but Premier Colin Barnett stayed away although he had sent an RSVP.
Here a list of the crème de la crème I saw, but I might have overlooked some big wigs: Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority CEO Kieran Kinsella, Silverleaf’s Gerard O’Brien, Committee for Perth CEO Marion Fulkner, Josh Wilson MP, Matt Taylor MLA, Simone McGurk, Lynn McLaren, Chamber of Commerce CEO Olwyn Williams, Fremantle Port CEO Chris Leatt-Hayter, Fremantle Foundation CEO Dylan Smith, many business people, Councillors and CoF staff.
The Evolution of Fremantle is Happening Now Mayor Brad Pettitt said, but that was about it as the announcement that the development of Fremantle Oval and South Quay are key priorities of state significance was just a rehash of what already has been in the public realm for years. It was akin to opening a Christmas present and finding books one has already read.
A better station forecourt, moving the bus port east, building a commercial precinct, etc. are already plans Fremantle Ports had for years and went through extensive community consultation, but have been put on hold because of the possible sale of the port.
But let me embrace the Christmas spirit(s) to be more positive about last evening. It is very good when people of that calibre connect and hopefully they will engage and collaborate with the City of Fremantle and assist in shaping our city into a modern and vibrant one. Especially MRA boss Kieran Kinsella could be of great help, but that will require the State Government to allow him to take charge of the South Quay project.
There is no doubt that at present South Quay is underutilised by Fremantle Port and the Passenger Terminal is too far away from the train station, and we witness mainly old people pushing and pulling heavy luggage along either side of the railway line, rain or shine. That is not a great experience and neither is the derelict woolstores building.
I agree that South Quay should become an integrated tourist and commercial precinct, and if port buffer zones can be adjusted it should have a residential component.
Interesting in that regard to hear Labor party leader Mark McGowan in the presence of Simone McGurk on TV yesterday saying that the Passenger Terminal was substandard and South Quay should be developed. Instead of having a whinge I would actually like to hear the Labor leader telling us what he will do for Fremantle, the Perth Freight Link, etc. because being negative about the government is not good enough and we need to see more leadership, ideas, innovations and promises from the Labor leader before the election because most state governments have neglected the port city for many years, so what will a Labor government do for Freo, Mark?!
The Fremantle Oval development is a very important one in connection with the Kings Square project, so I hope the Fremantle Dockers will stop playing silly corporate games of greed and show some class and gratitude instead and hand back the keys unconditionally and without the demand for a large sum of money from the City of Fremantle.
I believe the future of Fremantle is very bright with all the development going on and being planned, but one of the major emphasises of Fremantle Council should be to try to connect better with the community and glue us together so we can all be part of the solutions and evolution.
I asked the question what the Labor Party would do if they win government next year, so it is fair to publish the answer as well. This is just a small quote from a Mark McGowan paper on transport, Fremantle Port, outer habour, etc:
• A McGowan Labor Government will work with the City of Fremantle to redevelop South Quay for high-value development including hotels and commercial uses delivering a tourism precinct and a world class cruise ship terminus.
SIRONA CAPITAL managing director Matthew McNeilly spoke about the Kings Square project his company is doing in partnership with the City of Fremantle at the monthly Fremantle Network event on Monday evening.
The great news is that the KS Project will not be done in 3 stages as was planned previously but that Sirona has decided to do the whole project in one stage, which means the Civic Centre and Library, designed by Kerry Hill architects, will be built at the same time as the former Myer and Queensgate buildings development.
This will mean a much shorter period of having building sites at Kings Square which would be disruptive for local businesses and traffic, so hoorah to that. It means we will see businesses moving in by the end of 2019 before Christmas!
Demolition of the Queensgate building will start in April and building will commence in July 2017, but the concrete structure of the Many building will be retained, which is better for the environment as well.
The total development site is 2 hectare and the project costs are $ 280 million, so one of the biggest development projects ever done in Fremantle. It will create 20,000 sqm of office space and 5,500 sqm of retail space with the possibility of entertainment areas such as a cinema.
A new feature has been added with a retail “trench” between the buildings that will be on different levels and break up the facades fronting Kings Square. The trench will run from Newman Court to William Street and will have food, bar, retailers, lots of greenery and seating.
The facades will have lots of timber but also brick and other surfaces and there will be lots of greenery, even in the basement.
The carpark will be significantly modernised and integrated in the development.
I believe the Kings Square Project is a game changer for Fremantle and that the modern new shops will attract new people to town and significantly benefit the Fremantle retail and hospitality traders. I went to the brand-new Cotton On shop in the High Street mall yesterday and it was very busy there and a delight to shop in a modern large environment. It felt very good, so I bought some new T-shirts.
On another positive note Matthew McNeilly told the audience that the Heirloom by Match residential development on Queen Victoria Street was completed on Monday, so people will soon move into their new apartments. That will be the first of the big positive change of the run down East End of the CBD, with the construction of the large LIV apartment development by Defence Housing opposite Heirloom, commencing early next year.
Freo is on the move and it is a well-overdue, very positive and exciting one! I can’t wait!!!
GODOT FINALLY ARRIVED AT KINGS SQUARE!
Premier Colin Barnett this morning announced that 1,500 public servants will relocate to Fremantle and that the Housing and Corrective Services departments will have their new headquarters in Fremantle, as well as the Department of Transport.
The Premier said it was seen as good to have several agencies sharing the two Kings Square buildings and that this will be a major boost for retail after Fremantle has languished for a long time.
The State Government will save $ 53 million over 15 years with the relocation of the departments which are part of the government’s plans for decentralisation of the public sector. This is the biggest decentralisation by the government, Colin Barnett said..
Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly said he was thrilled with the support the government has shown for the Kings Square development and that Sirona will invest a quarter of a billion dollars into the project. It will be the catalyst to the start of a seven-day a week economy in Fremantle.
The project will be a vast improvement to the public realm with new retail and entertainment and 20,000 sqm of office space. Demolition will start in April/May next year and building will commence soon after with retailers moving in by late 2019. McNeilly said that projects of this complexity can be very time consuming.
A delighted Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said that this was probably the most significant day in Fremantle since the America’s Cup in the mid 1980s and a real catalyst for a wave of investment in Fremantle.
This is a vote of confidence in Fremantle by the government and will give the city a proper heart. It is a real milestone into the future, the Mayor told the media and the large group of Councillors and City staff.
For years I have vented my frustration about the lack of progress of the Kings Square development and compared it with the Samuel Becket play Waiting for Godot, so I am delighted to eat my words and am looking forward to the development that should make a significant difference to Fremantle’s economic recovery.
I am not a financial experts at all, and while I respect the opinion of professional auditor Craig Ross and financial expert Martin Lee who have warned against the financial implications for the City of Fremantle and its ratepayers, I also need to respect the opinion of the expert consultants employed by the City of Fremantle who have a different opinion. I cannot judge who is right or wrong on this.
What price are we willing to pay to invest in the future I ask myself and only the future will tell us that.
I now hope Sirona Capital and the CoF will agree to make fully public the financial and business details as commercial confidentiality surely no longer applies.
I am truly delighted and needed a boost after the Trump disaster yesterday, so let’s get out the bubblies and celebrate Fremantle’s bright future!
WA Premier Colin Barnett accompanied by Heritage Minister Albert Jacob officially opened the renovated historic Warders Cottages next to the Fremantle Markets this morning.
The cottages look very cute inside and have a nice little courtyard, so no doubt there will be plenty of takers for them.
I believe they are ideally suited for B&B but too small for a bar, especially with the very steep steps to the first floor being a challenge to walk down on.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt, CEO Phil StJohn, MLA Simone McGurk and MP Josh Wilson were all there, as were Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly and Silverleaf boss Gerard O’Brien.
It is fantastic to see the cottages restored after far too many years of neglect and vacancy. They are a real attraction in the Henderson Street mall.
The building boom in Fremantle is good for our city I believe but it also requires long-term strategic planning and a blueprint for where in Fremantle infill should be considered in the next 25 years.
Just doing small planning scheme amendments for a few streets and masterplans for other areas is not good city planning, so the City of Fremantle should do a comprehensive study on where the appropriate locations for medium and high density in Fremantle are.
Developers, investors and home owners should be able to access City of Fremantle information that will show them that a certain street or suburb is earmarked for higher density so they don’t get a nasty shock surprise just after they have purchased property that a six-storey building or even higher could be built next to their two- storey home(s).
It would also assist the Public Transport Authority and other State Government agencies to plan ahead instead of the slow reactive planning that is happening too often.
While it is good to have masterplans for specific areas I believe it is essential to have an infill masterplan blueprint for the entire city, as only that is well-considered and detailed long-term planning.
Fremantle has many good potential development areas just outside the CBD that need to be considered for residential development, because inner city living has become unaffordable for many people. A tiny new one-bedroom apartment in the city centre starts at half a million dollars, so hopefully locations a fifteen-minute bike ride away from the CBD will be cheaper and more affordable to people on lower incomes.
Accommodation for students, artists, pensioners, low-wage earners, etc. need to be part of the residential mix in Fremantle or we might develop into a yuppy city for the well-off only. That would not be very Freo at all!
On Thursday morning Premier Colin Barnett will officially open the renovated Warders Cottages in Fremantle’s Henderson Street after the historic buildings were vacant and neglected for many years.
It is fantastic to also see the former Gunners Cottages at Cantonment Hill renovated and occupied by Defence personnel as they too had been empty and neglected for far too long.
It is a very welcome sight indeed to see the old cottages back in their old glory, but it has been a long battle. The Fremantle Society, MLA Simone McGurk, former MP Melissa Parke and the City of Fremantle all deserve credit for keeping the pressure on state and federal governments to get the cottages renovated and occupied again.
The restoration of the heritage cottages is an indication of the start of the renaissance of Fremantle with an unprecedented building boom in our city.
The Heirloom by Match apartment building will open in December, and opposite from it work on the huge Defence Housing residential building complex will commence early next year. Just down the road from there next to St Patrick’s and the Australia Hotel another apartment building will be erected soon, opposite the new one that opened last year on Queen Victoria Street.
The former Energy Museum is also going to be developed for residential and hospitality, the Hilton Doubletree hotel building down the road from there in Adelaide Street will start in the second quarter of next year, and there are plans for a residential building at the former Spotlight site, and also huge plans for the Woolstores shopping centre site at Cantonment Street.
The Kings Square project appears back on track with Sirona Capital just finalising the lease arrangements with the State Government, so with some luck building there will also start next year. There are also plans for a tourist accommodation building at the Mills records site.
The Atwell Arcade is near completion and so are the Quest Hotel and another residential building in Pakenham Street, while the MSC has moved into the new building at Cliff Street and the former Elders building. A few metres from there Notre Dame University has plans for a new building on the corner of High Street.
There are plans for the development of the Fremantle Oval precinct, once the City of Fremantle can boot out the annoyingly greedy Fremantle Dockers, and in South Fremantle new apartments built by Match will go up opposite the Local Hotel. An awkward-looking apartment building has also been erected on the corner of Douro Road and Hulbert Street.
The Be. tourist motel at Bathers Bay is also growing with new apartments added to it.
The big development players in town are Silverleaf, Match and Sirona Capital.
I am delighted that there is so much and substantial development in Fremantle that will make a positive difference to our city. It will no doubt bring a resurgence in new retailers also opening up shop in Fremantle in the near future, but I am frustrated and disappointed about the lack of class and creativity of most buildings proposed for our character city.
Have I overlooked other major development happening or planned in Freo? Tell me what I have forgotten to mention!