Freo's View


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


Posted in fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on December 7, 2015


There is a lot of building activity going on in the inner city of Fremantle. The Defence Housing residential site, the former Toyota car dealer site, at Queen Victoria Street is being prepared for development while over the road the Heirloom by Match residential development of the former Dalgety woolstores is well under way.

A bit further up the road east of it a scaffolding tower has gone up to indicate the height of the planned building next to the fuel station, and up at Cantonment Hill the old cottages are looking better and better, while there is also activity at the old Signal Station. Development will also happen soon next to the Australia Hotel on Beach Street.

No one can miss the imposing Atwell Arcade development, and the two developments in Pakenham Street, and it is only a matter of time until the Woolstores shopping centre development will be happening. Fremantle’s economic recovery is on track.

Hopefully we’ll see some activity at Kings Square in 2016 because it has been a very long wait.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle by freoview on December 4, 2015

Christmas is nearly upon us and once again the City of Fremantle and Sirona Capital are hoping for a big Christmas present from the State Government and the announcement the Department of Housing will move to Kings Square, as the whole planned project is clearly dependent on it. We have been hearing for years that there is a plan B and even C and D, but I believe that can be dismissed as spin and hopeful wishing rather than realistic alternative planning.

The questions we need to ask also is would the new Civic Centre still be built if Housing moved to Fremantle but not to Kings Square? I have no doubt that Gerard O’Brien’s Silverleaf will also have tendered for the government department to move into the new Woolstores shopping centre development. It would be embarrassing for the City of Fremantle to scrap the Civic Centre plans after it was a national architecture competition and one has to wonder also what it has cost so far. Talking about costs; what revenue has COF lost over the last years by not leasing the Queensgate building at commercial rates?

The Kings Square development was heralded by the Mayor as the big economic and retail revitalisation for our city, so what will happen if it all falls flat? The Many 6100 retail incubator has done little to attract shoppers to the city and Kings Square with just a few hundred customers going through the building on the few days it is open to the public. We now have the unacceptable and unsightly picture of cars parked in front of the big display windows on the days the building is closed and that gives Kings Square a derelict appearance, the opposite of what it needs.

Christmas will see shoppers go to the shopping centres and not come to Freo because our city no longer has the variety of major retailers and small independent ones. Fremantle has a very good eclectic variety of small shops but shoppers will go for the convenience of having all major retailers in the one location, plus free parking. Lazy shoppers are basically killing small creative retailers who are not in shopping centres and Fremantle suffers from that.

Last year around Christmas Fremantle was hoping Colin Barnett would announce a move by Housing to Freo and one year later that dream continues. But as many children will tell us one does not always find in the Christmas stocking what one has wished for, so the City needs to be prepared for disappointment. Even if Housing moved into the new Woolstores building it would be a disaster for the Kings Square project and the hope of a new modern Civic Centre. Plan B appears to be procrastination and living in hope because if it existed it would by now have been revealed.

I want the very best for Freo and sincerely hope that the Department of Housing will very soon announce a move to Kings Square because no matter how much new development is going on east and north of it, our city square needs urgent reactivation.

Roel Loopers


Posted in development, fremantle by freoview on October 2, 2015

Quest hotel

I get what I call that Toyota feeling, remember the old TV commercial where people jumped in the air and the slogan Oh what a feeling, Toyota! when I see a new crane in the Fremantle sky because it means something new is happening and the city is developing.

This crane went up over the last days at Pakenham Street for the Quest Hotel serviced apartments development and while the design and height of the building is not liked by everyone it is good to know we will have more tourist accommodation in Fremantle next year.

The second crane at Atwell Arcade is also working hard and concrete for the first floor has already been poured there while the old High Street facade had a facelift.

I am eagerly waiting for the plans for the Woolstores shopping centre to be released as that will be a major development in the Fremantle cbd. I hope we will at last see the concept for an architecturally outstanding and creative building and not again another bland box of nothingness.

Roel Loopers

ROEL FOR FREO! Beaconsfield Ward. Truly Independent.

Written and authorised by Roel Loopers of 5 Maxwell Street, Beaconsfield 6162


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