Apartment Projects in Freo Recognised at 2018 UDIA WA Awards

Well done to the three apartment projects in Freo have been recognised for their impressive designs at the 2018 UDIA WA Awards.
Congratulations to The Cove by Blackburne, Liv Apartments by DHA and Evermore WGV by Yolk. All projects that are raising the residential quality bar in WA.
Here are the Freo highlights:

The Medium Density Development award was presented to Blackburne Property Group for The Cove in North Fremantle.

The Cove.

“The Cove has been embraced by the downsizer market seeking a high end apartment with minimal ongoing costs and fees,” Ms Hailes said.

“(It) offers residents large living areas and balconies along with a 400sq m green space on the roof and lower terrace which showcases the excellent architecture and design elements that set the project apart from the competition.”


The High Density Development award went to Defence Housing Australia for their Liv Apartments project in Fremantle.

Liv Apartments.

The project has transformed a disused carpark into an attractive apartment complex featuring an average 7.5 star energy rating and utilised over 10,000 recycled onsite bricks.

It is also one of less than 20 One Planet Living endorsed projects worldwide.


The Affordable Development category went to Evermore Apartments – WGV by Yolk Property Group.

“This innovative project demonstrates passion and leadership in the installation of solar and battery storage systems and innovative governance systems that allow apartment owners to sell electricity to each other,” Ms Hailes said.

“It was the first apartment development for sale in Australia to utilise such a system.”

Evermore Apartments – WGV.

Woolstores development approved by Freo Planning Committee

The latest proposal for the redevelopment of the Woolstores Shopping Centre in Fremantle has been unanimously approved by Fremantle Council’s planning committee.

The proposal involves the refurbishment of the existing shopping arcade and a six storey addition, and includes new retail and office space, a basement carpark and a 141 room hotel.

It also involves alterations to the existing facades on Cantonment Street and Elder Place and minor alterations to the existing carpark.

Last night the planning committee recommended the development be approved, subject to certain conditions.

The project will now be referred to the Metro South West Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP) for a final decision.

the Woolstore development is another vote of confidence in the future of Fremantle.

Fremantle recently recorded another record high for building approvals, with $313 million worth of commercial and residential property developments approved in the 2017/18 financial year. In fact, in three out of the past four years the value of building approvals in Fremantle has exceeded $250 million.

If it’s approved by JDAP, the redevelopment of the Woolstores Shopping Centre will help to continue that trend and contribute to the ongoing revitalisation of Fremantle’s East End.

A final decision on the development is expected to be made by JDAP later this month.

New record for building approvals in Freo

As reported in the West Australian today, building approvals in Fremantle have hit another record high with $313 million worth of residential and commercial property developments approved for construction during the 2017/18 financial year.

The latest figures released earlier this month by the Australian Bureau of Statistics add to impressive growth from 2009/10 onwards, with the value of building approvals in three of the past four years surpassing $250 million.

The growth in Fremantle bucks the Western Australian trend which has seen building approvals fall by 9.2 per cent over the past year according to the WA Treasury.

The latest building approvals record was further evidence Fremantle had turned the corner and was now considered an attractive place to invest.

Fremantle’s record $1.3 billion development pipeline has been well publicised but what we’re seeing now is these plans being converted into bricks and mortar developments, delivering new residents, workers and activity to central Freo.

Of the $1.3 billion pipeline, $600 million is either built or under construction – including the Kings Square Renewal project which started late last year and is set to inject around $350 million into the local economy.

It’s a far cry from around 10 years ago when Fremantle was on a severe downward economic trajectory and there were serious concerns about our future.

To counter this, from 2009-2012 this council made some tough and at times controversial decisions on relaxing building heights in non-heritage parts of the Fremantle city centre. It’s pleasing to see these hard decisions are having their desired effect, with Fremantle now well and truly back on a sustainable path and cementing its status as Perth’s second city.

Obtaining building approval is the last major stage of the property development process before construction commences.

Other major developments in Fremantle in recent years include the apartment developments at Leighton Beach, the redevelopment of the historic Dalgety Woolstores into the Heirloom apartments and the Liv apartments on Queen Victoria Street.

A graph showing the value of building approvals in Fremantle from 2001 – 2018 is below.


Liv Apartments Open Day This Saturday .

Liv sustainable housing complex of 166 apartments and 10 commercial premises on Queen Victoria Street is almost finished and they are holding an open day this Saturday at 1.30pm to 4pm.

Liv is the largest development in WA to be recognised by One Planet Living. It has a 7.5 start NatHERS average rating.

This is a development by Defence Housing Australia who are holding on to a third of apartments for their own us.

Along with the Heirloom apartments across the road, more than 500 people are expected to be living in this former commercial area. Of Fremantle’s $1.3b development pipeline, close to $600m is now completed or under construction.

What should apartments look like? ABC Perth Panel

This morning I was on a panel on ABC Perth to discuss how can we do urban density better. It was a very stimulating debate and the link is here:


Urban infill is a reality for dozens of Perth suburbs, but the challenge is getting local residents on board.

So does the focus need to be more about what these buildings should look like?

What constitutes good design?

The previous government released a draft policy called Design WA to underpin this very concept.

But it’s under review, and that’s raised concerns among some architects, developers and councils who say the current policy is working and allows flexibility to negotiate better designed buildings.

Taking part in this discussion is architect Sam Klopper and the Mayor of Fremantle, Brad Pettit. 

Duration: 35min 52sec


The West: “Freo ripe for new investment to regain its edge”

For those of you that missed it, there was a worthwhile article in The West yesterday  “Freo ripe for new investment to regain its edge” that is worth a read.

While the opening line “Fremantle’s reputation as an edgy, trendy location may be beginning to wane” would probably be more accurate if it were to say that it has steadily waned over the past few decades, the overall theme that “Fremantle represents a “major opportunity for transformative investment” is absolutely spot on.

Freo has recently turned the corner as we go through a period of revitalisation and investment to bring people back to Fremantle to live, work and visit. But there is still a way to go and plenty of opportunity.

A key point which the article articulates is that while the state government has invested billions of dollars in new public infrastructure in Perth over the last decade  (Perth Arena, Stadium, Elizabeth Quay, Northbridge Link, Yagan Square, Cultural Centre, New Museum etc), all Freo’s got is the offer of a coat of paint for the Fremantle Passenger Terminal. In spite of that, and thanks to the joint efforts of the private sector and the City of Fremantle, there is still $1.3 billion dollars’ worth of investment in the pipeline for Freo.

Consecutive state government underinvestment in Fremantle as Perth’s second city has been very frustrating to say the least but as I say in the article it is pleasing that the new state government has indicated it is keen to work in partnership with the City of Fremantle. As a result a lot of the groundwork (concepts plans and detailed studies) for the redevelopment of the places like the Victoria Quay waterfront and Fremantle Oval are gathering pace.

Talking about Vic Quay, there is strong Council and community support for the working container port remaining on the North side of the harbour but also opening up the Southern side of the port to the community. This would provide better public access to the waterfront by moving the new car trade etc down to Kwinana as soon as possible.

As the original PWC Report states:

“There is also an opportunity to look beyond the CBD in order to open up new areas for locals and visitors to easily access cultural, dining, entertainment and recreational facilities. Fremantle, where there has been no significant investment other than the WA Maritime Museum since the America’s Cup over 30 years ago, represents a largely untapped opportunity to establish a redeveloped Victoria Quay entertainment hub…”

I think enabling betters connection from the Fremantle CBD through to the waterfront  and working port is possibly the one of the most transformative moves we can make as a city. It will create something very special.

A major aboriginal cultural centre on Victoria Quay could be a major attractor not just for Fremantle but the whole state. We are advocating this be a key state government project in the lead up to 2029 – 200 years since European settlement.

That along with the Fremantle Oval and Hospital project are key opportunities for partnership with the state government.

Finally there is no doubt to me that  Fremantle’s future is keeping its heritage and its wonderful, sometimes gritty uniqueness but also bringing in new investment that bring more people to Fremantle more often – and good to see that backed up by PWC’s recent research.

New Development Proposal for the Woolstores Shopping Centre Site – Have Your Say.

The latest development proposal for the Woolstores Shopping Centre site is open for public comment until 21 August 2018. It is a six story development so not as high as the option put out for comment earlier this year.

What’s proposed?

The proposed development includes a six storey addition and alterations to the existing shopping centre, including:

  • a new 141 room hotel
  • new office spaces
  • new retail spaces on Queen Street
  • new basement parking, accessible from Elder Place
  • refurbishment of the exisiting shopping arcade
  • alterations to the existing facades on Cantonment Street and Elder Place
  • minor alterations to the existing car park.

For more info: https://mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au/woolstores