New strategy and incentives adopted for getting attracting new businesses to Freo.

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.

Background

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.

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

5 Responses to New strategy and incentives adopted for getting attracting new businesses to Freo.

  1. Robert says:

    Very risky going into small business these days. Overheads are just stupid. So good luck.
    Rent free periods of a minimum of three months is a minimum that any potential tenant should negotiate in this environment so be careful that landlords don’t soak that up.
    Incentives are good if they are truly aimed at innovative, DIFFERENT and exceptional businesses. and not like the just like the Exceptional and DIFFERENT new buildings you are dumping on us.
    Please no more chemist shops, real estate agents,hairdressers ,coffee/bar/restaurants,shopping centre type shops.
    I hope you will have a panel from retail precincts and consumers in the evaluation and this is an award and has to be earned so that it doesn’t become an expectation.

  2. Nige says:

    Hey for a change…… Well done! this seems like a good, progressive, positive move. Good on yer

  3. Kate H says:

    This is fantastic, and as a small, and very new local business – this makes the future very exciting!

    Something Freo’s retailers desperately need – is office buildings full of office workers who travel into Freo to work every day, and spend money in their lunch-breaks and after work.

    In the week, there are not enough shoppers – so although encouraging small, diverse retailers is wonderful, there is a chance they won’t make it without the regular chunk of shopping dollars that office-workers deliver.

    Casual, weekend and tourist shoppers are great, but regular office-worker shoppers are the bread and butter of a retailers income.

    • Kel says:

      Hi Brad,

      My comments earlier on you blog about vacant Office space and the “for lease signs” going up received a response from you that you “did not agree.”

      It seems to me this Council decision recognises the concerns and agrees with my view.

      This is great news for Fremantle and could I suggest that the support for new businesses “includes” above the ground floor and not only just help out the “ground floor tenants”.

      It needs also to go to the upper floors above the retail shops where the “office workers” are..

      If the intent is to lease out the present “empty ground floor retail” space by offering these incentives as a one off payment in the first year, that appears ok and it will look good but it will not work in the long term unless the City supports rate concessions and renumeration package in the upper levels.

      The first floor and above are the businesses that employ the “office workers” that the ground floor retailers require to help increase their turnover and hard earned profits (hard to obtain)

      I notice in your report above that these “above ground level businesses” appear to have been excluded from Council support offered to ground floor retail.

      I find this quite extraordinary really, as they are “so essential” to carry the City retailers during the week monday to Friday

      Stop Press

      “Outgoings” are on the critical path of any business`s ability to survive or fail.

      Extremely high Council rates and land taxes of these “above ground level offices” I feel is the main reason that the “for lease” signs are up and staying up.

      The City Blamed the greedy Building owners up till now

      The Building owners appear to have reduced rent substantially over the past year or so but the Citys outgoings are a showstopper.

      I could quote figures but will await your response

      Would you be prepared to consider this Brad?

      Thank you
      Kel

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