20/08/2008 - 22:00

Study may lead to changes in Freo

20/08/2008 - 22:00

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Fremantle's Queen Victoria Street has long been home to an assortment of car dealerships and retailers, but plans to allow high-density development along the strip could lead to a redevelopment of the entire area.

Study may lead to changes in Freo
PLANS: Match Property Group\'s proposal for 222 unites at the Fort Knox site in Fremantle may be the catalyst for a redevelopment of properties along Queen Victoria Street.

Fremantle's Queen Victoria Street has long been home to an assortment of car dealerships and retailers, but plans to allow high-density development along the strip could lead to a redevelopment of the entire area.

The City of Fremantle has commissioned architectural firm Hassell to undertake a study of the street, with a view to amending its town-planning scheme.

It coincides with Match Property Group's proposed redevelopment of the heritage-listed Fort Knox site, formerly the Dalgety Wool Stores, which has been recommended for approval by the City of Fremantle's planning department.

A total of 222 units, ranging from one to three bedrooms, would be built under Match's current design, including a ground floor retail space for a cafe or art gallery.

If approved by council, the project could pave the way for other developments in the area.

Sydney-based EG Property Group, which owns 6,000 square metres of land either side of Queen Victoria Street, intends to build a mixed-use commercial and residential project, pending the outcome of Hassell's study.

The site's existing tenant, Fremantle Toyota, has a lease that expires in November next year.

Further down the road, car dealership Harbour Motor Company was recently put up for sale.

Under Hassell's study, which is close to being finalised, a number of scenarios for redevelopment have been put forward.

One of its key aims is to examine how the local planning scheme could encourage development to fit in with the state government's Network City and transit oriented development policies.

City of Fremantle strategic urban designer Ian James said the study would help to stimulate activity in the east end of Fremantle.

"A lot of properties through that area are certainly not developed to their best potential, but under the current scheme there is limited incentive for [owners] to redevelop, in terms of the built form and height limits," he said.

Under the existing planning scheme, new projects are restricted to a height of about four storeys and a maximum density of R60.

A revised scheme would allow high-density development, potentially up to R160, which would fit with the Network City objective.

"There's certainly been a fair bit of interest in the development potential of that area, by both property owners and others, but everyone is waiting to see what the outcome of the study will be," Mr James told WA Business News.

"The other side of Queen Victoria, fronting Quarry Street, is a residential area so the question of how any development will impact on the amenity of that area is an issue that needs to be addressed."

Also up for sale is Marilyn New's 11,130sqm Woolstores site on Cantonment Street, which is currently on the market for about $25 million.

The property consists of two lots, one of which has development approval for a mixed residential, retail and commercial project.

However, other high-density developments proposed for the Fremantle area have met resistance at council level.

SAS Global Ltd, owner of the OneSteel site in North Fremantle, is taking the City of Fremantle to the State Administrative Tribunal over its decision to reject a structure plan for the site.

The plan proposed by SAS, which contained 192 apartments and a total building height of up to 36 metres, was knocked back last month after the city adopted the recommendations of a height study of the McCabe Street area.

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