Fremantle to keep Carnival Australia cruise ships

Great news on the return of Carnival to Fremantle. this will be good for jobs in Freo and beyond.

Leading cruise company Carnival Australia has announced Fremantle will be used as a home port for Princess Cruises after an earlier threat to pull out.

The WA Government’s commitment to fix infrastructure issues helped seal the deal, which will see the redeployment of Sun Princess, with 2,000 guests.

Speaking on sister ship Sea Princess, Premier Mark McGowan said he became aware of the problems after being elected.

“They’d been making submissions to the former government for a considerable period and there’d been no action,” he said.

“It turned out one of the major issues was the dredging of the channel into Broome Port.

“The other was pulling up in Geraldton, there was a problem with what’s called the shore tensioning units.”

The Premier said shore tension units had been installed and dredging would occur at Broome next year to allow all-tide access.

Loss of ships ‘would have cost $135m’

Stuart Allison, Princess Cruises’ vice president for Australia and New Zealand, said the topic of better access to ports was an issue around Australia.

Mr Allison said the five Sun Princess cruises in October and November next year could be the start of bigger things.

“Ultimately our long-term ambition is to bring even larger ships to Western Australia,” he said.

“Be it the 3,000-guest Ruby Princess, which will be based in Australia from later 2019. Or even the flagship of the Princess fleet, the Majestic Princess — 3,500 guests — which will be based in Sydney from September of next year.

“But we can only start to make those decisions about bringing those ships to Western Australia and to Broome when we know that those tidal issues are no longer a concern to us.”

WA Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the knock-on effect would have been devastating if Fremantle had lost homeporting of Carnival Australia-managed ships.

“The impact of that would’ve been in a couple of year’s time a reduction of regional port visits by two thirds, and a loss of $135 million of spend,” he said.

“What we’re talking about today is huge for Fremantle and for the regions. By way of example, this ship has 2,000 passengers, 30 per cent of those passengers have come from interstate, and 12 per cent have come from overseas.”

Mr Papalia said he was confident environmental approvals would be given for the dredging at Broome, and said the operation itself would only take a couple of days.

Regional Development Minister Rita Saffioti said the Government also expected to make an announcement about plans for Fremantle’s South Quay and Passenger Terminal before Christmas.

Fremantle visitor tracker

There has been some discussion around visitor numbers in Fremantle in recent weeks. While it is challenging economic times in WA Freo is actually tracking pretty well.

To track trends in Fremantle visitor numbers, the City of Fremantle and key stakeholders have created an index to monitor changes in visitor numbers over time.

It is updated reguarly here:

The index combines data from 12 different sources at key attractions in Fremantle. The operators of the attractions share their visitor data with the City each month, it is averaged and compared against the baseline index of ‘100’ in July 2015. The data sources are:

  • Fremantle Markets – door count
  • Fremantle Prison – number of visitors on paid tours and event attendees
  • Quest Fremantle – total number of guests
  • WA Maritime Museum – total number of  general, school and function visitors
  • WA Shipwrecks Museum – total number of general and school visitors
  • Esplanade Hotel by Rydges – total number of guests
  • Fremantle Visitor Centre – door count
  • Public Transport Authority – Fremantle Station boardings and alightings
  • Fremantle Business Improvement District – pedestrian data
  • Round House – door count
  • City of Fremantle – number of connections to City of Fremantle free WiFi service
  • Pirates Backpackers – occupancy rate

Working together on Freo Oval plan

The State Government and the City of Fremantle are working together to progress plans for the redevelopment of the Fremantle Oval precinct.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook and I discussed the redevelopment plans during an inspection of the oval on Wednesday.

The Freo2029 Transformational Moves strategy and the Port Cities Priorities campaign we released in December last year identifies two key priority projects for Fremantle – the redevelopments of South Quay and Fremantle Oval.

The return of Fremantle Oval to community hands represents a great opportunity to reconnect the oval to the city centre and re-establish it as the premier sporting location in Fremantle.

The benefits of the project can only be fully realised if the government moves to unlock state-owned land in the area, so it’s great to have the Minister here to show him around and explain what a unique opportunity this is to work in partnership on future plans for the oval precinct and Fremantle Hospital.

Fremantle Oval returned to community hands when Fremantle Dockers surrendered their lease on the ground in August.

Under the redevelopment plan Fremantle Oval will become the home of both South Fremantle and East Fremantle WAFL clubs and a WAFL centre of excellence for umpires and coaches.

The playing surface will be re-aligned to bring it closer to the historic Victoria Pavilion, and capacity will be increased to 20,000 to cater for football, cricket and other events.

Surplus land around the oval precinct offers a range of opportunities for future uses including better public connections through the area, a mixture of commercial and residential development and parking facilities.

Freo tourist numbers set to double with Kings Square FOMO festival precinct

This is a BIG retail announcement for Freo. Fear Of Missing Out indeed!

Freo tourist numbers set to double with Kings Square FOMO festival precinct

The FOMO space will incorporate the redevelopment of the former Myer and Queensgate buildings and carpark.
The FOMO space will incorporate the redevelopment of the former Myer and Queensgate buildings and carpark.Picture: Supplied

Kings Square Fremantle will play host to a semi-permanent festival under a radical but carefully curated multimillion-dollar plan for a borderless retail, community and entertainment precinct.

FOMO, as the precinct has been christened, will reverse the effect of decades of neglect to allow Fremantle to reclaim its status as a thriving tourist destination, according to Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly, the developer of the $270 million office, retail, church and civic precinct.

“We threw out the retail rule book,” Mr McNeilly said.

“We saw a once-in-a-generation opportunity to harness the unique personality of Fremantle to create a retail environment where the journey will be as important as the destination.”

The flavour of FOMO, the 5783sqm retail space at the heart of Kings Square, will be devised in a series of workshops with the community, artists and musicians of Fremantle, highlighting and intensifying the best of Fremantle’s makers and artisans.

The Daily will be part of an art, architecture, culture and retail hub “unique to Fremantle”.
The Daily will be part of an art, architecture, culture and retail hub “unique to Fremantle”.Picture: Supplied

Its precincts include Street Alley, Tidal Land and Newman Court — a food space with slow food, good food, fast and fresh food which then morphs into spaces selling homewares, fashion and homemade goods.

Radical retail architect, HDR Rice Daubney principal Susanne Pini, said the double-storey Emporium (the former Myer building) would echo a “cool container” with an eclectic mix of organic and free flowing retail concepts.

For example, an area called The Daily, will offer local makers workspace, gallery, retail space around the base of the old carpark area and a window for passing pedestrians into how artisans bring their ideas to life.

City of Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said FOMO will be an art, architecture, culture and retail hub “unique to Fremantle”.

The project, to include two office campuses with 20,400sqm of A-grade office space, a revamped 800 bay carpark and outdoor retail, entertainment and eating spaces and a new $50 million civic precinct for the City of Fremantle, was “a unique opportunity to take a retail risk”, Mr McNeilly, said.

The office complex will house more than 1500 workers and Mr McNeilly said that in curating and intensifying the appealing elements of Fremantle, FOMO would almost double the number of tourists visiting Fremantle from 1.6 million to 3 million a year.

Urban Development Institute of Australia on Fremantle’s Revival

There was a good article in the Weekend West by Rhys Kelly who is the President of the  Urban Development Institute of Australia  WA on Fremantle’s Revival:

It was encouraging to see the announcement recently that the long-awaited Kings Square redevelopment in the City of Fremantle had commenced.

After six years, the $270 million project, which is a partnership between private developer Sirona Capital and the City of Fremantle, will deliver a much needed rejuvenation to the area which has deteriorated over a number of years.

The City of Fremantle has embraced the project as a focal point for a broader Fremantle revival which includes the redevelopment of a range of public and private areas throughout the city.

In fact, according to the city’s Economic Development Strategy, there is an investment pipeline of more than $1.3 billion which will transform Fremantle.

More development activity in recent years is certainly beginning to reshape the identity of Fremantle into a more vibrant place with a mix of housing typologies that suit the growing and diverse population.

According to the latest census data, the population of Fremantle has increased by 7 per cent since 2011. There is a high proportion (36.5 per cent) living in semi-detached housing such as town or row houses and 20 per cent living in apartments.

There is also a high portion of rental properties, with 42.3 per cent of private dwellings rented.

Higher density living options in Fremantle are a growing trend, with old warehouses along the port side of the city being transformed into residential living, including M Group’s Heirloom apartments and Defence Housing Australia’s $61 million Liv Apartments on Queen Victoria Street.

Yolk Property Group will also be releasing another large apartment building, Little Lane, in the centre of town on the old Spotlight store site.

These residential developments are bringing a higher number of residents into the heart of the city and, in turn, growing the demand for a range of amenities, services, retail and employment opportunities within the local area.

Kings Square will deliver extensive once and retail space along with a new civic centre, library and public open spaces including a playground and indoor and outdoor community spaces.

Also in the pipeline is a redevelopment of the Woolstores Shopping Centre precinct by Silverleaf. An application is with the council for an 11-storey redevelopment including an Adina hotel.

Fremantle Oval has also been the subject of a $20 million investment to redevelop it into a premier sporting and community hub.

Overall, the City of Fremantle looks to be embracing the opportunities that come with partnering with private industry to deliver positive outcomes for the area and attract more residents and visitors.

Parking in Freo Really is “Free After Three” (and before Eleven)

Makers and the Burgeoning New Freo Economy

On Sunday we took five days old Aoife on her first outing just down the street from our house in White Gum Valley to visit Stackwood’s “Made Local Market”.

Stackwood which is not surprisingly on the corner of Stack and Wood Streets is a great little space in the emerging arty Knutsford Precinct. It’s a space for creative entrepreneurs, emerging businesses and makers.

Last weekend they had an open market focused on local makers, and had stalls selling locally made gifts and wares such as ceramic planters, artist prints, textiles and jewellery

It was great and it reminded me of the emerging creative economy that Fremantle has built up over recent years of locally made, bespoke and unique goods.

It’s not just happening in Stackwood but at MANY 2.0 and MANY 000 new spaces in the old Spotlight and the Old Police complex, at Common Ground on High Street, at the Fib on Blinco Street etc etc.

Freo has become a hub for makers, for those who want authenticity and sense of passion that can’t be replicated.

There is growing demand for locally made and authentic products. High quality authentic businesses are performing exceptionally well and can get away with charging a premium versions of a product, simply for the buyer experience and quality on offer.

As high street guru Gilbert Rochecouste says:“It’s the whole slow food, slow cities, slow concepts; it’s all built around handmade, hand curated…” I’d add to Rochecouste’s approach words like bespoke/distinctive/local/layered/unique…you get the picture. The future of Freo is doing well at what the big box shopping malls will never be able to match.

Freo’s always about doing it a bit different and glad Aoife got to have this as her first outing  – although she did sleep through a lot of it!