New Woolstores plans lodged

NEW plans for the redevelopment of the Woolstores Shopping Centre have been submitted to Fremantle council this week.

While the plans haven’t yet been released publicly, Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt says he’s “excited” by what developer Gerard O’Brien has bought to the table.

“In my view, the latest design for the Woolstores redevelopment is the best yet,” Dr Pettitt said.

“It combines the solid, red brick elements that reflect the site’s earlier heritage with a bold contemporary treatment of the higher floors.

“This site is probably the most important redevelopment in Fremantle, second only to Kings Square itself, so I was excited to see these impressive new plans on the table.”

• Julie Morgan and Shane Braddock say rethinking CBD developments could bring a more New York-like life to the streets. Photo by Steve Grant

Mr O’Brien told the Herald he believed the council’s executives also supported the design.

“Let’s hope this one gets all through,” Mr O’Brien said.

His first attempt was knocked back by the council and the state-controlled development assessment panel last year after they decided its design didn’t warrant the additional height he was seeking.

His new plans come just a week after meeting city ward candidate Julie Morgan and her husband Shane Braddock, who’d been so disappointed by the knock-back that they drew up their own radically different plans.

Ms Morgan wants to bring some of the ideas from those plans to council, saying the city centre needs a wider range of residents, including the young, elderly, families, students and people with disabilities.

• Not this one: The couple’s rethink of the Woolstores, was a bit late…

Engagement

“Developments should be judged not only on their green star rating, but also on their level of community engagement,” Ms Morgan said.

The pair drew on their time living in New York for inspiration and believe the Perth mantra of stacking apartments on top of shops for mixed use development does the opposite of what’s intended; it starves the footpaths of life.

They point to the stoops of New York’s hip Soho district, once derided as slum hangouts, as places that bring people onto the streets.

They also stacked lower floors with additional three-room apartments, saying this helps to attract families.

Mr Braddock, who has an architectural degree, and Ms Morgan, drew inspiration from Fremantle’s Norfolk Island pines for their design.

Mr O’Brien said that while the meeting was too late as he’d already got his plans ready to go, he was “inspired by their pro-active approach”.

by STEVE GRANT

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