Today, Fremantle is widely regarded as Perth’s second city. In recent years there have been more development applications lodged, application approvals and building approvals in Fremantle than any equivalent period since the America’s cup in 1987. The America’s cup resulted in significant investment into Fremantle’s economy raising its profile internationally as a world class destination. Fremantle remains as one of the most visited destinations in Western Australia.
There is currently unprecedented investment and renewal underway in Fremantle and after recent amendments to the City of Fremantle Town Planning Scheme, that allow for greater density within key strategic locations in the central city, the combined level of private and public investment in the pipeline almost totals $1 Billion. As part of this, the City of Fremantle has set ambitious targets for the development of new dwellings, commercial office and retail floor space within the city’s central area.
With record levels of development and investment, Fremantle is on the cusp of a major period of revitalisation that will reinforce its position as a place of great significance that is home to modern facilities and high-quality infrastructure.
Our council’s focus over the last few years has been to revitalise the city centre. The strategies implemented, including some innovative planning scheme amendments, have led to a significant increase in investor confidence in Fremantle. A number of new hotel, retail, residential and commercial developments have already been completed.
Amendments 38 and 49, now incorporated into the City of Fremantle Town Planning Scheme, are the catalysts for Fremantle’s revitalisation. These amendments have changed the development potential of a number of strategically located sites within Fremantle.
The purpose of the amendment 49 in particular, was to increase height limits on 12 non-heritage listed sites within the Fremantle CBD to encourage high-quality development and to increase Fremantle’s economic capacity. The 12 key sites are located in the eastern area of the City Central zone, focused around Queen Street between the Fremantle Railway Station and Kings Square.
The key strategic sites were identified by the City as capable of supporting redevelopment of intensity and scale that would make a significant contribution to achieving the strategic imperatives of the City of Fremantle’s strategic plan.
One of our game changers is the Kings Square project. Valued at $220 million, the Kings Square Project is an integrated redevelopment of key sites in Fremantle’s King Square precinct. The project includes the redevelopment or refurbishment of a number of properties currently owned by the City of Fremantle and the former Myer building. The objectives of the project are to create a community, civic, retail and commercial centre reflecting Kings Square’s unique place as the traditional ‘centre’ of Fremantle and a vibrant, active and safe place for visitors and citizens alike. It also aims to develop a land mark precinct that attracts and retains more people within Fremantle’s city centre including office workers, retailers, shoppers, hotel guests and residents.
The project will create the opportunity for further significant private sector investment through the facilitation of public-private partnerships, attraction of new major investors and increased collaboration and investment from existing economic anchors. The resultant increase in population and activity within the city centre will provide opportunities to attract large private enterprises as well as develop industry clusters that contribute to the sustained growth of local businesses.
In the context of Western Australia’s thriving economy, Fremantle’s Gross Regional Product continues to move in line with WA’s, suggesting that Fremantle is benefiting from the State’s continuing success. Western Australia’s economy has recently experienced unprecedented growth mainly driven by a decade long mining boom. As a result, WA’s economy is 80 percent bigger, wages have almost doubled and the State has grown by 700,000 people. However as growth from the mining boom will inevitably one day start to cool, the Western Australian economy will look to other opportunities such as agriculture, service industries and tourism to build further resilience into our economy. As the most visited destination in Western Australia, and host of WA’s busiest port, Fremantle is well placed to thrive within an export and tourism driven economy.
Fremantle’s most important assets are its heritage and its people. The irresistible character of its built form is inviting and rich in history. Integrated urban design, thoughtful planning and sensible development are the keys to building a city that embraces the past and is well prepared for the future – a place where the built environment retains its character, meets the functional demands of its people and accommodates growth. We invite you to be part of the Fremantle story and join us on this journey of unprecedented growth and revitalisation, as Fremantle continues to thrive as Perth’s second city.
Dr. Brad Pettitt