Fremantle Ports is hoping to revive the stalled $350 million revamp of Victoria Quay, part of nearly $1 billion of proposed new developments in the City of Fremantle.
The majority of the new projects, however, remain in the planning phase and are not yet under construction.
A precinct plan with commercial/retail and residential components, and building heights for the largest of the developments – Victoria Quay – is expected from the City of Fremantle and the WA Planning Commission later this year.
The development area also includes adjacent Public Transport Authority land near Fremantle railway station and Pioneer Park.
The port has not yet identified a developer for the project, following ING Real Estate’s decision to walk away from Victoria Quay in 2011.
Fremantle Ports chief executive Chris Leatt-Hayter said the aim was to provide an economically sustainable development opportunity that would add to the interest, attractiveness and vibrancy of the Fremantle waterfront.
“The development of high level enabling plans will give both the public and private sectors greater confidence in proceeding with future development proposals for the areas concerned,” Mr Leatt-Hayter told Business News.
Food and beverage operators were the main beneficiaries of the ‘Dockermania’ that swept through the city throughout the AFL finals, culminating in more than 40,000 supporters cramming South Terrace on grand final day.
Publicans’ tills were filled to record levels, surpassing even those experienced during the America’s Cup in 1983, Mayor Brad Pettitt said, causing some local establishments to run out of beer.
“You can’t rely on these one-off things to turn your economy around, but what they can do is give your place a level of promotion and attention, that obviously you can’t buy,” he said.
“But you have got to make sure you pair that with the fundamentals, and that’s what the City of Fremantle’s focus is – making sure we pair that with getting more people living, working and shopping back in the heart of Freo.”
Mr Pettitt said amendments to town planning regulations during the past two years had started to have the desired effect.
The city plans to increase retail floor space in the CBD by 11,500 square metres by 2018, while also quadrupling its inner-city residential population.
Currently only around 800 residents call the Fremantle CBD home, with the city keen to grow that number by more than 3,500.
About 1,100 new dwellings are contained in residential developments either under construction or in the planning phase, just 400 short of the city’s 1,500 new residences target.
The proposed new developments will also add 22,000sqm of A-grade office space in the next five years, aiming to attract major tenants back to the port and create a seven day-a-week economy, rather than the current three days.
Mr Pettitt said extensive community consultation had resulted in heritage controls being strengthened in the city’s historic west end, with building heights to remain at three to four storeys.
Larger scale developments up to 10 storeys will be restricted to non-heritage areas of the city.
One of the key projects is the redevelopment of the Stan Reilly Centre on South Terrace, which was originally flagged to become a $100 million state-of-the-art training facility for the Dockers.
With the Dockers likely to abandon the port to move to Cockburn, the Stan Reilly Centre plan will most likely be revised to a $70 million development encompassing affordable housing, car parking and community facilities, Mr Pettitt said.
Fremantle Chamber of Commerce chief executive Tim Milsom said more unique hospitality and entertainment establishments would be encouraged to provide higher levels of inner-city amenity for new residents.
“I want to see Fremantle be the Melbourne of Perth,” Mr Milsom told Business News.
"That's basically what we are trying to achieve, to actually start looking at that funky bar culture and that eclectic mix of pubs and bars."