Business and Property Media Focus on Fremantle

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

West property


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City of Fremantle Mayor

2 Responses to Business and Property Media Focus on Fremantle

  1. Colin Nichol says:

    Hopefully Fremantle is poised to take advantage of the currently perceived general lift in retail and the economy in general.

    Nevertheless, a commercial vacancy rate of 19.5% and street-front (only) shops one of about 16%, there’s still a long row to hoe. Opportunities are opening up, however.

    A number of reports on that Y Research report referred to above are available online, including this one:

    “Suburban markets close to railway stations were among the best performers with the exception of the beleaguered Fremantle market where 32 per cent of its buildings, many of which are older and lower grade, have vacancies.
    “The best performing major markets, Herdsman and East Perth, have numerous quality buildings, good transport links and support from major private and Government tenants,” Mr Stone said.
    In markets with more than 25,000sqm of office stock, suburbs with the lowest vacancies were Herdsman, 5.1 per cent, East Perth, 5.6 per cent, and Midland 6.1 per cent.
    The worst performers were Fremantle 19.5 per cent, Northbridge 14.5 per cent and Nedlands 14 per cent. Northbridge’s vacancy is due to three big buildings which should lease in the next six months – 130 Stirling Street, 12 Newcastle Street and 59 Lord Street.”

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