28/05/2014 - 14:09

Freo retail revival takes shape

28/05/2014 - 14:09

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The City of Fremantle’s push to revitalise its flagging retail scene is bearing fruit, with the first two recipients of the city’s new business-attraction incentive scheme set to take on long-term leases.

Freo retail revival takes shape
The MANY6160 business incubator project operates from the former Myer building in Kings Square.

The City of Fremantle’s push to revitalise its flagging retail scene is bearing fruit, with the first two recipients of the city’s new business-attraction incentive scheme set to take on long-term leases.

The incentives are either cash payments up to $10,000, discounted council rates for landlords who attract desirable tenants, or cut-price leases on city-owned properties.

The first two businesses to receive the incentives – Common Ground and BiBi – have emerged from the MANY6160 business incubator project, which operates from the former Myer building in Kings Square.

Common Ground will take up space in the former New Edition premises on High Street and will include a fashion store, cafe, small bar, art studio, shared office and events space.

Vintage and fair trade boutique BiBi will also open on High Street.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the two retailers taking up permanent leases was a good example of how the city’s initiatives were taking effect.

“We can’t compete with the big-box shopping centres like Garden City in terms of the amount of retail space and number of retailers, but where we can compete is on the distinctiveness of our shops and the quality of the visitor experience,” he said.

Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tim Milsom said the new businesses were encouraging, but more effort was needed to build on the momentum created.

“We are still struggling bringing in the anchors,” Mr Milsom told Business News.

“But we’re concentrating on that and we’ve got some major people looking at the moment.”

Mr Milsom said the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel proposal, in particular, would be a major boost for Fremantle’s east end, while discussions with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce regarding the conversion of the ageing West Gate Mall into the port city’s Chinatown were ongoing.

Business News reported last week that major businesses understood to be looking at Fremantle included international restaurant chains Hard Rock Cafe and Café del Mar. 

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