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!

WA Business News summary of the new projects that are shaping Freo’s future.

WA Business News today provided a good summary of the new projects that are shaping Freo’s future as Perth’s second city.
Including the first public released renders of the Coles Woolstores redevelopment by Silverleaf with is another huge project on a similar sclae to the Kings Square project – which is one of the biggest developments in Freo’s history.

Last Last Week in 2 Minutes

Here’s a quick 2 minute video update on what I’ve been getting up to last week or so. In summary it’s been a week of strong collaboration with the new state government who have been refreshingly aligned with the Freo Council strategic priorities, finishing with a major presentation to the property industry in Perth.

fSpace, Creativity and the Business Development Program

The amazing fSpace recently celebrated its 4th birthday in Fremantle. For those of you that haven’t heard of it fSpace is a creative, professional co-working space right in the heart of Fremantle above Kaulas Sister

I was on hand to formally announce funding for a third Business Development Program – a collaborative program between fSpace and The City of Fremantle that provides financial support to businesses within the creative industries.

The Business Development Program is designed to promote the local creative and knowledge economy, assist start-ups and small business to grow and to encourage innovation in Fremantle. This program has been a great driver in attracting individuals and businesses from outside Fremantle, with the majority of participants still going strong here in Fremantle.

fSpace owner, Sabine Albers, who does an amazing job said that over the two previous years, this program has helped over 20 businesses develop and grow in Fremantle. In addition to the financial support towards a professional workspace, businesses have benefited from the inspiring energy, collaborations, and strong sense of community at fSpace. She added that some former program participants have grown their businesses and are now in larger, dedicated offices in Fremantle.

The Business Development Program offers qualified businesses and start-ups three to six months of subsidised workspace at fSpace.

To be eligible for the program, a business must fall within the creative industries sector. These are businesses that are primarily focused on individual creativity, skill and talent.

I also got to meet some amazing early succeses of the program like Curve Tomorrow  whichwas one of the first participants of this program when they expanded to Western Australia from offices in Melbourne.

Mo Jaimangal, a cofounder and director of Curve Tomorrow, previously explained during an fSpace Talks Event that they seek to positively impact the lives of 1 billion people by applying their knowledge of technology in health and medical services.

When I asked for an example of this, Mo spoke about the work they’ve done with leading autism researchers to automate the diagnosis of children on the autism spectrum.

He explained, “We’ve taken what they were doing – a very manual process with psychologists observing children playing with toys, timing them with a stopwatch and making notes with pen and paper – and created a game that can be played on an iPad.”

“In addition to a quicker and more efficient diagnosis that leads to earlier treatments, this assessment can be done anywhere. We collect and store the test results on a secure cloud, where psychologists can look at them and decide on treatments.”

The Business Development Program is available to new business start-ups as well as existing businesses that are looking to develop and grow from Fremantle.

This year’s program has added optional coaching and mentorship towards developing a formal business plan – a crucial step for any new business start up.

Sabine Albers said she loves the diversity of the people who share and make her fSpace what it is. The mix of passionate people doing so many interesting and helpful things. The energy this creates is just fantastic.

To learn more about the Business Development Program, visit


The High and The Low: Fremantle’s High Streets have one of Lowest Retail Vacancy rates in Perth

Interesting data released this week on the health of retail in some of Perth’s high streets.

  • Beaufort Street in Mt Lawley and Highgate had vacancies of 9 per cent
  • Bay View Terrace in Claremont 10.16 per cent vacancy
  • Subiaco’s Rokeby Road featured nine vacancies on 5.94 per cent of its net lettable area (Hay Street in Subi is reportedly higher again but wasn’t in the study)
  • Cottesloe’s Napoleon Street had a 6.81 per cent vacancy rate.

While the report does not mention Fremantle, internal research shows that know Freo’s Market St & South Tce sit at 5 & 3 per cent respectively (in 2015). City of Fremantle staff have also estimated that our High St in the West Ed would also have a 3 to 5 per cent vacancy rate.

This means Fremantle’s high streets are currently performing better than Subiaco, Cottesloe, Mt Lawley & Claremont.

Only Oxford St in Leederville is performing better than Fremantle.

In these tough economic times we should be proud of that.

Property Industry Sundowner on Freo


“Free After 3” – Freo residents parking in central Freo

Not everyone knows this but the City of Fremantle gives out parking permit to residents for free parking in off-peak times in our CBD.

BUT… the current rules around this are kinda messy and complicated and as a result it is not understood but is instead rather under-utilized. So we are keen to update and simplify it and it is coming to FPOL committee this Wednesday evening.

CURRENTLY the permit allows access to free parking for all ON-STREET car bays with the following conditions:

  • mornings, between 9.00-11.00 am, time restrictions of the parking bays apply, MONDAY-FRIDAY ONLY
  • afternoons, between 3.00-5.00 pm, time restrictions of the parking bays apply, MONDAY-FRIDAY ONLY
  • evenings, between 5.00 pm-1.00 am, time restrictions of the parking bays do not apply, MONDAY-SUNDAY
  • OFF-STREET parking between 8.00 am-5.00 pm in car park 12B on Beach Street only, SATURDAY-SUNDAY.

Yes it is a bit all of the place and complicated. The recommendation to the committtee aims to simplify this by:

Making resident parking free after 3pm and before 10am on City of Fremantle OFF-STREET car parks every day of the week.

These would roughly be the locations:

Is this something you would support?

If not, what would you change? (Remembering that we can’t just make all parking free, all of the time, for everyone without major budget implications)

Are these off street locations useful given there is also half hour free already on High Street and free night parking on High and Adelaide Streets.

Is the change from 11am to 10am an issue?

Your feedback would be appreciated.