Purists beware

FREMANTLE developer Bruce Moriarty has bought the heritage-listed Western Power site on Parry Street for more than $3.5 million.

And he says straight out that purists will not be happy with his plans to redevelop the disused site near Fremantle pool and Clancy’s pub into multi-storey apartments.

“There will certainly be challenges,” he told the Herald, listing the nearby paramedic services of St John and St Patrick’s basilica among his reasons for putting the offer in.

“I have no doubt our vision for such an iconic building will not satisfy the purists.”

Mr Moriarty says the well-kept building previously used as the World of Energy will include affordable housing at the rear of the 2900sqm site.

Five to six apartments are pegged for the main building while three are in the original workshop building. He says portions of the main hall will remain, including the gantry crane.

Maximum height is 11m at the rear of the site, allowing a residential development of up to three storeys.

“Between 20 to 30 predominantly small but functional two-bedroom apartments of 60sqm to 70sqm are planned at the rear depending on negotiations with the heritage council,” he says. “Hopefully there will be hospitality in some or all of the original offices.”

Mr Moriarty says he needs the heritage council support as conditions Western Power has imposed are, “challenging though not unreasonable”.

“While heritage listings can be complicated, the Heritage Council of WA understands and supports the necessity of making heritage work economical,” he says.

“While a listing may scare off others, I have been fortunate to have the advice and support of wonderful people in relation to heritage matters.”

Having grown up in a crowded household of 13, Mr Moriarty believes Fremantle will benefit by pushing small but functional two to three-bedroom apartments for young families, or two to three young adults sharing expenses.

“This is the sort of housing people will want to buy for themselves, this is affordable housing,” he says. “These are the sort of people Fremantle needs.

“If I hold my breath and count to three, we will start to hear the predictable complaints about putting people in ghettoes, destroying the ambiance of Freo and greedy developers.

“Fremantle is going to change. It will not remain the relaxed village it once was.

“It is now virtually inner-city Perth and the next stop on the train line of renewal.”

by CARMELO AMALFI

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