Freo woos Alcoa

• An artist’s impression of Fremantle council’s plans for Freo Oval.

FREMANTLE council is trying to persuade mining giant Alcoa to locate its new headquarters at Fremantle Oval.

Late last week representatives from the council, Fremantle Ports and Silverleaf Investments met with executives from Alcoa at their Booragoon headquarters to discuss a potential move to the port city.

Alcoa’s lease on Marmion Street runs out in 2020, and with the site being purchased by apartment specialists Iris Residential in 2012, the Herald understands staying on is not an option.

The company is apparently considering moving some of its research and development arm from Kwinana into the new development, which would mean about 400 staff all up.

At last week’s meeting, Fremantle Ports talked up its plans to develop Victoria Quay into a commercial and retailing hub, while Silverleaf Investments pitched a redeveloped Woolstores shopping centre as a potential home for Alcoa.

The vacant Spicer site opposite the Kings Square redevelopment and the Fremantle Gas and Coke Company site opposite the Woolstores were also floated, while the miner is also apparently looking at sites in the Murdoch Activity Centre near Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Fremantle central ward councillor Adin Lang says when he heard a rumour Alcoa was looking to move, he rang the company to see if they’d consider Fremantle.

Cr Lang says he was pleased to discover one of the company’s main considerations was finding a cosmopolitan location near cafes, retailers and restaurants that would help it attract and retain staff. He believes that might give Freo the edge over Murdoch.

“It’s very preliminary discussions and I guess it’s part of Alcoa doing due diligence in looking for new premises, but Fremantle is definitely on their radar,” Cr Lang told the Herald.

“We have got a city that will attract and retain staff, as they’ll be able to live and work here, but they’ll also be able to go downstairs and eat at one of the cafes, or perhaps by some socks at Terrace Men.

“I think the important thing is that having a global organisation like Alcoa considering Fremantle as a potential new home shows that we are heading in the right direction,” Cr Lang said.

While attracting Alcoa to Fremantle Oval might help struggling businesses in Fremantle’s CBD, Cr Lang says if Fremantle Ports’ bid was successful, it could provide the impetus to getting the Victoria Quay redevelopment under way.

by STEVE GRANT

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