Tick for $80m Freo projects
TWO projects totalling $80 million were given a preliminary green light by Fremantle council’s planning committee Wednesday night.
Approval was recommended for a $60 million, seven-storey hotel at the corner of Point and Adelaide Streets and a $21.5m seven-storey complex to replace Queensgate in William Street.
The 173-room Point Street hotel by Champion Design Group includes 77 units, a supermarket and nine smaller shops. The existing carpark, shops and offices will be bulldozed.
Mayor Brad Pettitt says in the past 50 years “there isn’t much to love in the East End architecturally”.
“This is why it is so exciting that we are getting so many new development applications in this often ugly part of town. There is no doubt there is strong demand for new hotels in Fremantle and it is pleasing to see this demand being met. I can’t wait to see these developments underway.”
The Queensgate building split Fremantle when it was built just 24 years ago and now its mooted replacement is also being criticised by the city’s heritage lobby.
Former deputy mayor John Dowson says he was the only person in the public gallery at the committee interested in talking about the projects. He says it’s “outrageous” the council is approving projects higher than the Johnston Court flats.
He says the council’s “1000-an-hour” development advisory council did not recommend approval for the William Street project—as required by council rules—because it had failed to achieve a quorum in December.
Mr Dowson says the Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland project appeared to have been given a light going over by the committee, in contrast to the Point Street project which had been back eight times.
“Council allowed extra height for Queensgate, only possible for developments of ‘exceptional quality meeting the highest possible standard’,” he says.
“But the DAC only looked at Queensgate on one occasion and the lukewarm comment that the design ‘promises a successful outcome’ came from the last meeting, where there was no quorum.”
Councillors seemed at a loss about what to do and debated for an hour, before being convinced by a staffer they could recommend the nod and, if the DAC has any issues (it is due to meet this week) an alternative recommendation could be written for the full council meeting.
The Queensgate replacement project includes a massive gym, 2340sqm of retail space and 8485sqm of office space.
by BRENDAN FOSTER