February 28, 2014 5 Comments
It was a big meeting on Wednesday night with the finish well after 11pm. One of the items of importance that passed without too much fanfare was an innovative new strategy aimed at attracting desirable new small businesses to Fremantle. Freo is pretty good at attracting new cafes etc (in fact a dozen new businesses have open in the last 6 months) but we need to ensure we also keep our retail diversity so you can once again get almost everything you need in Freo. This new strategy and incentives will help do that.
The three–pronged approach will be executed in one of three ways:
1. The City may provide a one–off rate discount up to 33% of annual rates to property owners who lease property at ground level to eligible businesses that add value (and diversity) to the overall Fremantle offering. Rate discounts must be passed onto the new tenant in a direct financial manner such as (but not limited to) a rent–free period, reduced rent or reduced outgoings.
2. The City may provide a one–off cash incentive of up to a maximum of $10 000 to eligible businesses that meet this policy’s criteria and are committed by a signed commercial lease agreement within a property in the City’s local government area.
3. Vacant council–owned properties may be offered to eligible businesses at a discounted lease up to $10 000 below market rates for one year.
Eligible businesses cannot receive more than one of the items. Eligible businesses are defined as those that add value to the Fremantle’s overall offering by bringing something unique to the city that will attract more people to Fremantle.
In recent years, the City has worked towards implementing the City of Fremantle Economic Development Strategy 2011–15 and the recommendations of the Fremantle Retail Model Plan 2010. While achievements have been made to facilitate improvement in Fremantle’s retail sector, such as the establishment of the Fremantle BID, additional efforts are required to continue to build on this momentum and to attract new high–value businesses to Fremantle that attract more people.
One economic development priority for the City for the coming 18 months is small business attraction and retention. This involves attracting and retaining unique small businesses that add to the overall appeal of Fremantle as a place to visit. A business attraction policy has been drafted to help achieve this goal. The draft policy has the following objectives:
- Support the effective implementation of the City of Fremantle Economic Development Strategy 2010–15 and the Fremantle Retail Model Plan 2010.
- Proactively incentivise and accelerate the attraction of businesses that add value to Fremantle’s offering as a visitor destination and generate benefits for its residents, workers, visitors and the business community in the long–term by improving Fremantle’s overall appeal.
- Encourage eligible population–driven businesses (mainly retail and hospitality) to sign long–term leases for properties within the City’s local government area.
- Encourage local property owners and leasing agents to attract those key businesses that fit Fremantle’s distinctive character and appeal, and add to its overall value proposition for visitors.