WA’s Retail Challenges. A Quick Perth/Freo Comparison

Interesting to see the article on Perth CBD retail vacancies in the Sunday times this week (see below).

It says that 16% or 150 of the city centres 950 shops are currently empty.

Similarly there is a 15%  vacancy rate for Rokeby Road Subiaco according to Lease Equity (November 2015).

I asked our economic development staff how this compared to Fremantle and they said Fremantle is pleasingly tracking better at around 10% of our 541 retail premises vacant as at October 2016.

There is still plenty of work to do to improve the retailing environment in Freo but I thought this was useful to show that it is not uniquely bad in our port city and that we are tracking OK in bringing Freo back to life.

Customs House Development Proposal

I (like just about everyone else in Fremantle) got my first glimpse at a new proposal for the former Customs House this week (see below). I am not surprised that this is scheme that has already divided community opinion.

Some have even said that it shouldn’t even be considered but that is not how the way the planning system works, however. Instead the City of Fremantle is required to process any lawful planning application and send it to the Fremantle Council and the Joint Development Assessment Panel (DAP) for consideration. So just because we are putting it out for advertising doesn’t mean the City of Fremantle planning staff or the Fremantle Council or DAP will support it going ahead. This is just the legally required process.

Another part of the legally required process is that like all of the Fremantle Council members must keep an open mind and not determine a view until it is debated in the Fremantle Council chambers. So I will do that.

All that said, it is important to note a few facts:

First, the buildings in question only remaining heritage are their façades. The rest was gutted in the 1980s when facadism was sadly considered acceptable. The internal additions from this period can certainly be improved on.

Second, five stories in the West End is not something that complies with Fremantle Council policy for this important area and the Council recently rejected it on the Notre Dame site on High Street on this basis.

Third, the whole of the West End is also now on the State Heritage List adding another level of scrutiny and protection.

Finally, it is really important that you have your say too so please do that by going to:


A community information session will be held on 27 April from 5.30 pm – 6.00 pm in the City of Fremantle Reception Room.

Liv Apartments on journey to achieve One Planet Living certification


Good to see the Liv Apartments now under construction in the East End precinct (opposite Heirloom)  will be the first apartment development in WA to sign up to the world’s leading green communities framework

Liv Apartments is the first apartment development in Western Australia to be registered in the One Planet Living (OPL) program, helping keep Fremantle on track as global trailblazers in sustainable living.  The City of Fremantle was only the second city in the world to achieve recognition as a One Planet City in September 2014. If successful, Liv Apartments would be only the fifth endorsed One Planet Community in Australia and one of fewer than 20 worldwide.

For those of you that haven’t heard of it before, OPL is a sustainability measure with a vision of a world in which people enjoy happy, healthy lives utilising their fair share of the earth’s resources, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness. The OPL Framework is based on ten principles covering areas such as carbon, waste, transport, food and water. Bioregional Australia Foundation manages the OPL certification in Australia.

All 166 units comprising Liv Apartments will feature environmental, energy and water saving initiatives intended to reduce household bills and energy consumption. These include solar panels, edible gardens, landscape irrigation, a waste reduction strategy, energy saving ceiling fans and public plaza space with lawn.

See the Liv Apartments website at http://www.livapartments.com.au  to find out more.


Top 8 WA areas to buy property in 2017

This article was in WA Today last week. Interesting to read Fremantle listed as #1 in the top 8 WA areas to buy property in 2017. This is in addition to Freo having one of the highest percentage price increases of any Perth suburb in recent months, Good news but makes our housing diversity and affordability focus all the more pertinent.

Top 8 WA areas to buy property in 2017  by Cheryl Oprandi 

Looking ahead to 2017, WA has to be considered as a separate market to the other states. Here, property is on the move. No longer is there a need for buyers to be hesitant and wait a while because ‘prices will reduce more’. It is time to buy, but where?

There are many factors involved when assessing an area that could have potential financial growth for buyers. The major factors to consider are new government infrastructure plans, employment opportunities, zoning changes to enable subdivision and school population increasing.

The following 8 areas all have positive changes within the suburb aligning with these major factors, and the growth of the suburbs are not solely dependent on first home buyers or overseas investors.

1. Fremantle

Mayor Dr Brad Pettit strongly supports the upgrades in the area and redevelopment of the Victoria Quay, city centre, waterfront and northern gateway areas will increase tourism and community facilities, and will certainly increase demand for housing in the area.

Other upgrades include the Fremantle train station and the creating of a sporting hub at Fremantle Oval. All improvements are centred on increasing public-private investors and employment in the suburb – all positive moves in this area.

2. Subiaco

Community spirit runs high in Subiaco though and the win by the Tran family to relocate their fruit and veggie outlet to Homebase is certainly a very positive change. Once final plans are in motion for the old market site this suburb will certainly move ahead.

3 & 4. Mt Pleasant and Kingsley

Although they are greatly different in property median prices, can both be considered the poor cousins surrounded by rich relatives. Both are great family suburbs with a large percentage of long term home owners.

The median price for Kingsley is $459,000 and areas within the suburb closer to the railway link have been rezoned to enable higher density living. Many of the home owners in the area are becoming empty nesters and seeking smaller accommodation.

Mt Pleasant has easy access to the city, beautiful quality homes, close proximity the river, universities and schools, but values for properties have stayed stagnant over the last 12 months.

The difficulty for buyers in this area is the lack of stock, although 63 homes have been sold over the last 12 months, demand for homes has increased. This suburb definitely has potential growth for the million-dollar-plus buyer and overseas buyers looking for a home close to a university.

5 & 6. Gosnells and Forrestfield

These suburbs are attractively priced for the first and second home buyers. Gosnells has a median price of $349,000 and Forrestfield median price is at $415,000.

Both areas have subdivision opportunities and enable new homes to be built at a reasonable cost and have expansions in the commercial property. The building of the new train line to the airport makes Forrestfield an area to be considered.

7. Bullsbrook

This area is exploding, not only with new subdivisions for commercial and housing but the influx of cottage industries in the area.

The building of the new Perth-Darwin Highway has increased interest in the area. At only 50minutes from Perth CBD, Bullsbrook is attractive because it accommodates a variety of lifestyles.

8. Katanning 

The NBN has come to this town less than 300km from Perth. This has made a significant change for the area which already had a flourishing stockyard. The ease of communication has given more confidence to businesses to expand in the area, according to the local shire. Employment and school intake has increased in Katanning, and it has been identified as the hub for Early Childhood Education in the region.

With an increased push of funds for the future development of the schools, hospitals and land subdivisions there will be an increase in home prices in this area.

The big picture for WA

Local buyers are coming back to the market and sellers are bridging the gap between prices they want and market value. As Melbourne and Sydney have proved to be expensive for investors, many are looking to WA as a state to invest in, and according to CoreLogic’s latest monthly data for November, median dwelling price is at $490,000 in the state.

2017 could be the transition year in purchasing that piece of real estate.

n19neteendouro: More Density Done Well

Yesterday I got to have a look through the recently completed development at 19 Douro Road South Fremantle. This is an innovative development that is also largely sold out – once again demonstrating the demand for high quality but affordable apartments in and around Fremantle. I especially like the materials and the industrial but refined feel this development has. Here are some photos.

img_4717 img_4722 img_4728 img_4730 img_4733 img_4734 img_4738

Liv by DHA is Underway

Great to see DHA’s Liv apartments on Queen Victoria St are starting construction this week. It is a $61 million development with 166 apartments and 1300m2 of commercial space.  Across the road from Heirloom which interestingly reached practical completion in last week too.


Sunday Times Gives Freo Stories a Good Run

Today’s Sunday Times had a good article about Fremantle’s redevelopment focus now Kings Square is locked away. It’s about connecting people and place from oval to ocean and this will be the focus of our lobbying efforts in coming months.  Check out the story here:


The Sunday Times also ran a very amusing opinion piece by Belle Taylor was spot on and funny.