IN an attempt to entice a greater variety of businesses into the city, City of Fremantle has launched an online database of vacant commercial property available in the port city’s CBD shopping precinct.
The Chelsea Project Property Bank grew from a local business think tank held to find ways to attract new business to Fremantle and to reverse the decline of the city’s west end.
Fremantle Mayor and chair of the Project Steering Committee Peter Tagliaferri said it was not only real estate agents that would benefit from the property bank but also existing businesses with space to sublet, private property owners and property managers.
The online property bank will provide free listings for property owners and businesses making it easier for new and expanding businesses to find quality commercial accommodation in the Fremantle shopping precinct.
While the project covers the whole Fremantle shopping precinct, there is a strong focus on the west end that has been experiencing a sustained period of decline.
City of Fremantle business attraction officer Scott Mills said the area used to be home to businesses that serviced the port, however, with greater focus now on air freight many of these businesses had relocated to be near the airport.
“It is such a fantastic heritage precinct it is a shame to have the buildings just sit there,” he said.
Mr Mills said because the buildings were around 80 years old, many only had internal first floor access, which made it difficult for two businesses to co-exist in the building.
In an attempt to increase each building’s yield the City of Fremantle is encouraging building owners and property managers to build external first floor access so that two businesses can co-exist in the same premises.
Mr Mills said the property bank would work to generate more interest in the area and hopefully encourage property owners to develop their buildings.
“We are trying to create a critical mass of business people in the area,” he said.
The popular tourism precinct has been greatly affected by the downturn in international travel and a need to diversify its business community had been identified, Mr Mills told WA Business News.
“We would love to be as successful as Subiaco or West Perth who have benefited from their close proximity to the CBD,” he said.
“Obviously in Fremantle there is a different dynamic and we have to try different things.”
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