Development push changing Freo

DEVELOPMENT activity in Fremantle is exerting pressure on the city’s property market.

The traditional mix of business and inner city residential is shifting, as major apartment developments swell the residential population.

It’s not just private enterprise that’s pushing Fremantle into the spotlight. After 12 months at the helm, Mayor of Fremantle Peter Tagliaferri is assessing the council’s property portfolio with a view to selling off certain key properties.

Investment in the city is the key to the future of the city, including property development and the commercial sector.

Fremantle hasn’t had any major development for some period and Mr Tagliaferri is vitally aware of the role the property industry plays in this unique part of Perth.

“I’ve had meetings with every major developer to look at sites and see how we can work with them,” Mr Tagliaferri said.

“We’ve actually put on an economic development officer to look at the west end.

“In our view we want to create a city where people want to shop, live and invest.”

Colliers International manager residential Fremantle Michael Watts said that, since the departure of the wool industry and technological changes in the shipping industry, Fremantle had developed a strong professional heart.

“There’s no doubt the mix of business has changed in the area,” Mr Watts said.

“If you look at the demographic of the town the population hasn’t changed since 1920, however the number of houses has doubled.

“Retail has been on the decline for some time now but the council is very keen to promote it.”

The University of Notre Dame has injected new life into the city and, in part, underpinned new development, he said.

Discussions on the future of the west end have sparked interest in the future of the High Street Mall.

There are obvious parallels with the City of Perth, which has been forced to look at upgrading the city malls to inject new life into the city’s shopping precinct.

However, Mr Tagliaferri said the debate on the mall was premature and detracted from the focus on the west end.

The City of Fremantle is currently in the process of selling one of its major properties – the Chain Reaction building on Adelaide Street.

Mr Tagliaferri said the three-storey building had attracted significant interest from a number of major developers, including Broad and Multiplex.

“The building has gone through a policy review for height levels, Mr Tagliaferri said.

“There will be retail on the ground floor and already a major multi-national retailer wants to come into the site. It will attract a whole range of tenants into the area and that will have a chain reaction on the whole area.”

A forum hosted by the City of Fremantle allowed the 20 largest property owners in the city to discuss the future direction of the city from a property perspective.

ING owns the Woolstores shop-ping centre in Fremantle, which houses the Coles Supermarket.

It’s a comparatively small asset for ING, however the development under way in Fremantle helps support the stability of the property.

“There’s the up market apartments going up next door and there’s the whole water front development,” ING Real Estate senior asset manager Peter Flatt said.

“From our point of view it’s all great, and it potentially increases the value of our asset, particularly if it gets more sales going through, but there are other things that affect it.

“We’re delighted that it’s happening all around us.”

He said Fremantle hadn’t had a major redevelopment for a long time.

“Woolworths is moving in, (to Fremantle) and although that impacts a little on Coles, it all adds and improves the city,” Mr Flatt said.

The major development of Victoria Quay will further broaden the links between the city and the port and open up new development opportunities in the area.

Fremantle Port Authority general manager Strategic and Commercial Development, Chris Leatt-Hayter, said the area was identified as part of the Fremantle waterfront master plan.

The Fremantle Port Authority has called for expressions of interest in developing the 2.9-hectare site.

There is also a proposal to shift the freight train line closer to the passenger line, which would further open up the area and link it back to the city of Fremantle.

“We’re very hopeful that this development will really improve the connectivity of the waterfront and the city,” Mr Leatt-Hayter said.

“We really see that it will create good linkages.”

The call for expressions of interest has sparked a high level of interest for the project.

Spowers and Di Carlo Potts announce aged-care alliance

SPOWERS Architects has formed an alliance with Sydney firm Di Carlo Potts to capture a share of the aged-care pie.

The new brand, Spowers Di Carlo Potts, will focus on the specialised aged care and health facilities.

“We’re now trading as Spowers Di Carlo Potts to try and get health work,” Spowers Di Carlo Potts manager client services Pete Skinner said.

“Di Carlo Potts has done more of the level five and level six hospitals in Australia and New Zealand than any other firm.

“We started the alliance working on the Royal Darwin Hospital and the Alice Springs Hospital and the relationship has grown from there.”

Spowers Di Carlo Potts is currently working on the renal dialysis unit at Royal Perth Hospital and the emergency department at Rockingham Hospital.

“Carlo Di Potts brings health experience into Perth and it allows Spowers to take their general architecture experience into Sydney,” Mr Skinner said.

Spowers is not the only firm in Perth to set up a specialist team to focus on aged care.

The level of industry understanding and the complex regulatory nature of aged care or health developments are driving the development of specialist departments

Woodhead International health portfolio head Mark Unger said there was a number of opportunities in the aged-care arena.

“We’ve created a specialist department, an office called KLCK Woodhead to specialise in aged care and acute care design,” Mr Unger said. “It’s a specialist area and there are a lot of standards that apply.”

The market for aged care and acute care centres is not just limited to new developments.

Many of the existing centres don’t meet the current standards, and with more regulatory changes proposed for 2003, an even larger group of centres won’t make the grade.

“A lot of developments don’t meet the contemporary stan-dards and the Federal Govern-ment is insisting on certain standards,” Mr Unger said.

“A lot of them will have to be bulldozed (in the future) or have a lot of money spent on them.”

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