West Australian article on Freo investment

Investment lifts hopes for Freo revival

Kate Emery, The West Australian October 5, 2013, 8:30 am
The number of development applications and building approvals in Fremantle is at its highest level in 25 years, with nearly $1 billion in projects planned for the port city.

According to the City of Fremantle, there are $913 million in public and private investment projects in the pipeline.

The surge in investment has fuelled hopes the city’s economic malaise can be reversed.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said the level of activity in the city was “very significant”. “In many ways what Fremantle has lacked over the last 25 years is investment,” he said. “There was a huge splurge of investment in the mid-80s and we’ve had very little since.

“I think that’s at the heart of some of the challenges Fremantle has been facing in recent years.”

He credited the flood of activity partly to changes in the council’s planning controls, which included relaxing height restrictions in non-heritage areas.

But Dr Pettitt said it was not just about the big projects, such as the $220 million Kings Square redevelopment, but also maintaining Fremantle’s character.

“One of Fremantle’s other great challenges is making sure we keep Fremantle’s unique culture,” Dr Pettitt said.

“What defines Freo is that we are a bit different and we want to keep Freo a little bit weird and funky and bohemian, and make sure that the retail offerings and the restaurants are things that you won’t find anywhere else in Perth.”

He cited Bread in Common, the new restaurant and bakery backed by Perth hospitality heavyweights Adrian Fini, Nic Trimboli and Daniel Goodsell, and the MYRE project as examples of the kind of businesses Fremantle should be attracting.

The rising investment tide comes at a time when Fremantle is in the spotlight because of the Fremantle Dockers’ grand final appearance.

But Dr Pettitt was sceptical about how far such one-off events, be it a Dockers final or the America’s Cup, could take a city.

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tim Milsom said he believed the city was approaching critical mass, where the number of residents living and working in the city would be enough to encourage new restaurants, bars and shops to open and stay open at more consumer-friendly hours. “You get the feeling that we just tipped the point and the snowball has started to roll,” Mr Milsom said.

The $913 million figure included some projects already under construction, some for which plans had been lodged and many others that had not yet been advertised.

One of the big projects in the pipeline is the proposed development of Victoria Quay, which will potentially be as big as any other development on the city’s books.

Plans for the development are expected to be submitted to council later this year.

 

Quest

 

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

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