Fremantle’s 130 year old Town Hall new lease of life on 9 News

Kings Square Freo attracts eager bids

Two articles in last 24 hours providing a timely update on Kings Square. First in WA Business News

Another article in the West Australian’s Property Section today on progress on the Kings Square Project. It is not online yet but will post link when it is.

Kings Square Freo attracts eager bids by Helen Shield 17.5.17

The developer of the $270 million Kings Square Fremantle revitalisation project, Sirona Capital, has appointed CBRE to advise on unsolicited bids from Australian and offshore institutional investors. And yesterday Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly said the developer had appointed top-tier builder Probuild for an August construction start and was focused on delivering, not just for the State Government but for the City of Fremantle.

“We have been approached by a number of Australian and global investors who have expressed an interest,” he told The West Australian. “That’s not surprising given the institutional nature of the assets and the 15-year government lease that’s underpinning the development. So rather than deal with that, we have appointed CBRE to advise on the long-term ownership and funding options.” Mr McNeilly said a sale was not a foregone conclusion and Sirona was committed to delivering the project by mid-2019.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt has said a recent wave of new development, including the Kings Square overhaul — a central plank of the City of Fremantle’s revival — would deliver the City an estimated $5 million a year in future recurring rate revenue. Mr Pettitt said before the Kings Square development there were fears the city was on an unsustainable economic trajectory. However, the council’s financial modelling had shown its contribution — $50 million for a new library, civic and administration building — would be repaid within 10 years.

Mr McNeilly has previously described the Kings Square project as a catalyst for returning Fremantle to a seven-day-a week economy. “It’s an opportunity to transform the rundown CBD area of Fremantle,” he said this week. “In reality this is all about tourism, arts, culture which already exist in Fremantle.”

The WA Government will lease 17,200sqm of the 20,000sqm of office, moving workers from the Housing Authority and departments of Corrective Services and Transport to Fremantle in 2020. The 25,800sqm project includes redeveloping the former Myer building and a new building. Offices will be above a retail and entertainment precinct, including a cinema, and the 800-bay Queensgate carpark will get an overhaul.

Mr Pettitt said committing to the Kings Square project in 2013 had renewed investor confidence and been a big contributor to the “$1.3 billion development boom we now see in Fremantle”. When asked whether the project had one of the longest gestation periods in recent living memory, Mr McNeilly said he liked to recall the Treasury Buildings, a project WA developer Adrian Fini started work on 20 years ago. “Hopefully we are at the beginning of a very long upcycle,” he said.

Probuild WA managing director Sam Delmenico said the company was delighted to work with Sirona to get value driven outcomes in the crucial planning phase.

Fremantle city centre redevelopment to underpin Freo’s economic future

I appreciate that City of Fremantle budgets and finances aren’t the sexiest topic around and the principles of draft ten year financial strategy (2017-2027) accepted by Audit and Risk Management Committee this week is not going to be page-turning reading for everyone. But it actually worth a read.

The strategy makes confirms City of Fremantle finances  are in a strong position going forward.

The plan shows that the City of Fremantle over the next ten years has the ability to complete the Kings Square project, deliver balanced annual budgets, restore reserves to current levels, and to pay off all debt within 10 years of the redevelopment.

Importantly it demonstrates that ALL of above can be delivered with just CPI rate increases!

Not a bad outcome at all I reckon.


This good outcomes is because the recent wave of new investment and developments in Fremantle is set to steadily climb and deliver an estimated extra $5m annually to City’s commercial rates revenue by 2022

The draft plan included the City’s largest capital works program in its history to deliver a renewed city centre and strengthen the City’s long-term financial position. The redevelopment of Kings Square is a major long-term investment in the economic future of Fremantle.

This year the most important Fremantle capital works program in a generation will commence, delivering 2,000 new workers to Freo and injecting more than $350m into the local economy.

Before this investment in the Fremantle city centre there was a serious fear Fremantle was on an unsustainable economic trajectory. The City committing to the catalyst Kings Square project in 2013 has renewed investor confidence and has been a major contributor to the $1.3b development boom we now see in Freo.

We’ll be prioritising the Kings Square development over the next two financial years and adjusting budgets accordingly, but importantly our long-term plan demonstrates the ability to deliver this project based on CPI-based rate increases

The draft plan will be presented to full council on 24 May.

Freo Town Hall’s New Look

You might have noticed the scaffolding coming down on the North side of the Fremantle Town Hall unveiling the renovated and de-painted building. I think it looks pretty special.

De-painting (not the technical term) might sound like an odd thing to do but interestingly the town hall was unpainted for most of its life from 1887 to 1965. And for good reason. The layers of paint were removed to both respect the original design intention to make the town hall look like a high-quality, finely detailed stone building as well as allow the walls of the building to breathe and absorb and expel moisture naturally as originally intended.

The $3.1 million exterior renovation project included restoring the external envelope of the building to conserve the existing heritage fabric and protect the interior from further deterioration;  the replacement of roof cladding, painting external timber and metalwork etc; increasing  the capacity of the historically undersized roof drainage system by enlarging gutters, downpipes and stormwater pipes and providing overflow points for extreme weather events and reinstating some decorative items in normally inaccessible areas. For example, cast iron finials to turrets, flag pole etc.

If you get to stop by the slow unveiling is worth a look.




Kings Square in 1971

This amazing photo of Kings Square looking East down High Street from around 1971 today was shown to me today by Bernard Seeber. Fascinatingly different.


Kings Square Project Latest Images

Here are some updated images from the Kings Square Project that include the lastest Sirona designs and Kerry Hill Civic Building images. There will be some more tweaking before they are completely finalized but you can get a good sense of the development that will kick off early next year from these.

15027748_1793029197620903_5474065797035603313_n 3_main%20entrance%20from%20high%20street 144_secondary%20entrance%20from%20queensgate%20mall 165_high%20street%20looking%20north%20east lr1 lr2 lr3

A Quick Video Update on Kings Square Cultural Precinct Redevelopment