Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, covid-19, food, health, shopping, Uncategorized by freoview on April 2, 2020




While this sign gets the message across strongly to stay at home, as much as we can and isolate ourselves, it is probably not in the best location opposite the carpark of the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre, where people go to to buy food at Coles, as I did when I noticed the sign.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, city planning, development, Uncategorized by freoview on March 24, 2020



The LITTLE LANE development by the Yolk property group in Adelaide Street is reaching its next stage with the external demolition of the former Spotlight building starting today.

The eight-storey residential building will have a food court at ground level in the Westgate Mall, and it will make a huge positive difference to that run down part of Fremantle.

On Wednesday Fremantle Council will decide on the development application by Silverleaf Investments for a hotel at the Woolstores shopping centre site, which will need JDAP approval.

Good things are still happening in Fremantle, we’ll just have to get past that bloody Covid-19 pandemic period and all together rebuilt Fremantle’s hospitality industry and all those affected by the restrictions the virus has enforced upon us.

Stay well!


Roel Loopers




The latest proposal for the development of the Woolstores shopping centre site will go before Fremantle Council this Wednesday. The plans have been altered again and now include the six retail properties along Queen Street.

While Police Minister Michelle Roberts announced three weeks ago, after police vehicles had been set on fire in Fremantle, that a purpose built new police station was planned, she would not reveal the location, but this proposal shows it would be within this development in an area of the city that needs more police presence, so it will be a welcome move for our community.

Approval is sought for the partial demolition of the southern portion of the existing Woolstores Shopping Centre buildingat No.28 Cantonment Street, Fremantle, the demolition of the six commercial tenancies at 20 Elder Place and the construction of a six (6) storey with basement Mixed use development including Shop,Liquor Store,Office, Restaurant, Civic Use (Police Station), Public Car Park, Childcare premises and Hotel uses. 

Specifically, the development includes the following:Reducing the size of the existing Coles Supermarket from 4,300sqm to 3,200sqm.The development of a 209.3m2Liquor Store adjacent to the Coles Supermarket.

The inclusion of a basement accommodating building services and 159 car parking bays.•A six (6) storeybuilding along the Queen Street frontage including:

Ground level retail tenancies (1107.5m2), a restaurant (105m2), an office (199m2), an office lift lobby and a hotel foyer (396.1m2).

A Childcare premises to the first floor accessed via Cantonment Street(743.3m2building with 703.3m2yard).

First level office tenancies (1322.5m2in total) and hotel amenities (conference rooms, pool deck, balcony); and 141 hotel rooms over levels 2to5.

A five (5) storey police station building (Civic Use) accessed from Elder Place and Cantonment Street to include:

Ground level amenities, lobby, and workshop in addition to 8 visitor car parking bays, 10 car parking bays, bus, caravan, prisoner van, and truck parking.

Car parking for 113 cars on the first floor.o7081m2of police office over levels 3 to 5.

The majority of the existing public car park to the north of the site is to be retained, with modifications to the layout to accommodate the new police building.

The existing shops adjacent to the northern carpark are proposed to be changed to a 192.5m2 Restaurant use with outdoor seating provided within the subject site.

The proposal includes a brick, metal and glass five (5) storey building to the southern portion of the existing Woolstores shopping centre intended to contain the proposed Civic Use (Police Station) and a six (6) storey glass and metal building above a brick podium. The six storey building is surrounded by angled fins.

The $ 15 million development proposal needs to be approved by the state’s JDAP, so Fremantle Council can only recommend it to JDAP for approval.which I hope they will do.

Roel Loopers



Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, jdap, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 12, 2018


Samantha Reece is active in the Fremantle community, and an influencer as part of the new FREO NOW-former BID, so I am rather disappointed with her opinion piece in the property pages of the West Australian today, where she calls for the Joint Development Assessment Panels-JDAP- to do their job better and overrule NIMBY local councils, which refer to their own planning schemes to approve or reject development applications.

Ms Reece is not happy that JDAP did not approve the 16-storey Kintail development in Applecross, where council only want to allow a maximum of 10 storeys.

Reece then also mentions the proposed Fremantle Woolstores development, where additional discretionary height was rejected by Fremantle Council and JDAP because the design was not considered to be of exceptional architectural standards. JDAP has since approved a totally different design with lower height.

If Samantha Reece has her way we might soon see 8-storey buildings in our historic West End, and other totally inappropriate height all over the place.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on February 1, 2018


New Fremantle Councillor Adin Lang believes I have somewhat misrepresented his position in my report of last night’s special planning committee meeting, so here is what he emailed me:

“I support developments in our city that offer large-scale premium office space that will ultimately attract large corporate workforces to our City – people who will help us create the 7 day economy. However, I will not support design that potentially detracts from the overall architecture of our city for the sake of building density. I will support density and design done right.

I was cautious during my speech not to say that I support this particular development as I don’t want the developer and architect to rest on their laurels – they still need to win my vote, and they can only get that vote through exceptional design. Last night I was only in support of the modifications brought forward by our Officers.”

I always try to be fair and balanced, so I hope this clarifies the elected member’s stands.

Roel Loopers


Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on January 8, 2018




Fremantle Society president John Dowson has the uncanny ability to discredit himself by making ridiculous statements, as the rant below, which he sent to FS members about the LIV apartment development at Queen Victoria Street shows.


Communist East Berlin Apartment Block Arrives

The raft of damaging oversized buildings is underway in Fremantle with the arrival of the East Berlin Communist inspired “Liv” apartment block in Queen Victoria Street opposite the “Giant of Fremantle”, the former Fort Knox wool store, the largest wool store left in Fremantle.

To allow the “Giant of Fremantle” to be overshadowed by an apartment block next to it is appalling planning and decision making, a failure of councillors to grasp very basic fundamentals of urban planning. 

The development suits the ideology of Fremantle Council, because the extensive number of low cost dwellings will largely be Labor voters.


The deciding authority for the $ 61 million development was the WA Joint Development Assessment Panel, if my memory serves me correct, and not Fremantle Council, because all development over $ 10 million automatically is moved on to JDAP.

Dowson must not have visited the former East Berlin and East Germany often when he claims the building is of the former communist country standards.  The LIV is built to One Planet green sustainability standards, and while I am not impressed either with the architecture it looks a whole lot better than the ugly dark concrete boxes they used to put up in East Berlin.

The six-storey LIV is a little higher than, but does not overshadow the very imposing HEIRLOOM woolstores over the road, but the length of the building is the issue and the facade should have been broken up a few times instead of just the one walk-through piazza to Quarry Street.

Only a wealthy person would claim that the building is for low cost occupation by Labor voters, when a small one-bedroom sells for over $ 400,000, a two-bedroom starts at $ 545,000 and a three bedroom for over one million dollars.  The building is developed by Defence Housing Australia and defence personnel will be occupying the apartments, as well as private owners.

The juxtaposition of old Heirloom and modern LIV on either side of Queen Victoria Street will make for an interesting entry statement to Fremantle when LIV is completed in August this year. It will show visitors that Fremantle is on the way to long-overdue modernisation of the run down east of the CBD.

But in general I would like to see much better, more innovative and creative architecture in Fremantle than what we are getting. The issues are not with Fremantle Council but with soft State planning laws that do not give deciding authorities the option of rejecting building approval on aesthetic grounds. I wished that would be changed to guarantee great modern design instead of mediocrity.


Roel Loopers




Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, Uncategorized by freoview on December 13, 2017


Mosman Park architect Carl Payne sent me a sketch and following contemplations about the proposed ten-storey mixed-use development of the Fremantle Woolstores shopping centre.

I believe it is essential to have a public conversation about what appropriate and good architecture for Fremantle is, so want to share Carl’s thoughts with the Freo’s View readers.

Massing Study


My approach to design is generally inside-out; that is, the planning logic dictates the final external forms. However, I’ve just bent my rule to some extent.
This is because, when considering architectural solutions for sensitive historic streetscapes – such as Cantonment Street, I think it’s valid for an external “massing-approach” to be the starting point.

As Ken Adam said, existing heights could/should also play an important role.

For these reasons, I spent a few hours doing a massing solution – see attached sketch.

Its logic is partly determined by two walk-through arcades that I show on the plan. These assist connectivity for this large city block; and create large doorways on the street. (I’ve ripped off and adapted Murray Slavin’s new facade details in Cliff Street, as part of what could be an exuberant and sculptural design approach. Thanks Murray.)

The forms are totally conceptual – a building is not designed in 4 hours. But the massing approach; the “urban wall” approach; the reduced palette of materials; the height limitations based on the adjacent woodstores; etc etc, are worth further consideration.

And a site development as suggested by my quick esquisse – one that opens up two pedestrian corridors that would also service the new supermarket and other spaces; and which could even create internal courtyards for gathering; merchandising; and allow internal natural light etc – would also meet the total net development area as proposed by the current scheme, if carefully done.

Without the need for the towers. No towers please…………………………………!!


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


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


Posted in fremantle, vandalism by freoview on March 4, 2016



Can someone at the City of Fremantle please alert the owner of the derelict Marilyn New woolstores that vandals have forced the doors open and there is now free access to the building that is a public hazard because of asbestos etc. Grazie mille!

Roel Loopers


Posted in development, fremantle by freoview on January 2, 2016



It wasn’t a good start for the first working day of the year for the builders of the Heirloom by Match residential development in Fremantle’s Queen Victoria Street. Fire broke out in a generator at around 8.30 this Saturday morning and the fire brigade had to attend to it.

The Heirloom heritage project is a joined development between the Match group and Sirona Capital and will create around 160 apartments in Freo’s east CBD. It is the beginning of the revitalisation of that part of the inner city with several other developments starting soon.

Roel Loopers

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