There is a lot of interest from the business and property sector on the future of development in Fremantle at the moment.
Yesterday there was a write up on Fremantle in The West Property Section which I have posted a picture of below. Good news the vacancy rate is down 18%.
The day before WA Business News wrote the following story:
Freo eyes new ‘city’, urges state support
Michael Ramsey WA Business News 12-Mar-2013
STRIKING the right balance between preservation and modernity is a difficult task for authorities in any city, let alone one beloved by locals and tourists alike for its eccentricity and streak of independence.
This is the challenge facing Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt, who is spearheading a fresh attempt to revitalise Fremantle’s retail precinct and lure commercial and residential developers back to the port city.
The perception it is a city on the decline has been exacerbated by the closure of the Myer store and confirmation the Fremantle Dockers will relocate to Cockburn in coming years.
But with Fremantle’s council endorsing a proposed $220 million redevelopment of the Kings Square precinct and further plans in the pipeline, Dr Pettitt says the city has reached a turning point.
“We’ve certainly got some residents who’d like us to not change anything,” he said.
“That’s part of Freo. But mostly, I think there’s a real sense that it’s time.
“Freo has been in a pretty slow, consistent decline probably since the 90s. It’s got to that tipping point where we actually need to do something.
“We should have acted a decade ago. It would have been a much better time in terms of getting developments up but also we probably let some of our retail decline to a point where we’ve got to work harder now to bring it back.”
Once regarded as Western Australia’s ‘second city’, Fremantle has struggled to attract commercial investment in recent years and its strategic planning importance has suffered as a result.
The state government’s draft Directions 2031 planning document identified Joondalup and Rockingham as primary centres, defined as the activity centres most deserving of “high-order public and employment-generating infrastructure” investment.
As a designated strategic metropolitan centre, Fremantle was effectively a step below those cities in the state’s planning hierarchy.
References to any particular city being identified as a primary centre were removed from the final report but Dr Pettitt said Directions 2031 remained a wake-up call for the city.
“The idea that you’d have Joondalup and Rockingham as primary centres but not Fremantle told us ‘this is our economic and social heritage and we’re letting that slip’,” he said.
“Fremantle council has done an extraordinary amount to change the development potential for what happens in this town.
“I think it’s now up to the state government to come to the party and show us what they’re actually going to do to assist those things to happen.”
The state government announced plans last year to move the Department of Housing to Fremantle as part of its decentralisation of government