Enkel firming for Cantonment lease

Sitting empty for years, the call went out in 2013 for expressions of interest from community groups and businesses to transform the dilapidated building as part of wider improvements in the area to increase foot traffic and usage.

A shortlist in 2015 had a local circus school and Enkel as front-runners before Enkel was chosen.

Residents in the gallery voiced concerns over the potential lease, saying the proposed rent of $35/sq m a year was underselling the building and citing a Facebook post on the Enkel page that had already classified it as a done deal.

However an Enkel representative at the meeting said the post was simply to let followers know they were in negotiation with the City.

Councillor Josh Wilson used the meeting to remind those present that they were not signing off on the lease but agreeing to enter negotiations.

“This is something that will be different and new, the kind of thing that Fremantle should embark on as the economy continues to change,” he said.

“Some of the detail we’re adding to the lease, that we are yet to sign, should give greater confidence.”

Fremantle infrastructure projects manager Phil Adams said the Naval Store and the Cantonment Hill precinct in general were underutilised but had the potential to become a high quality public space.

“Preserving the historical significance of the Cantonment Hill precinct, including the Naval Store is a key objective of the masterplan and the City’s project and heritage officers will work closely with Enkel to ensure heritage aspects of the area are protected,” he said.

An open day will be held on April 2 to give community members a chance to ask questions about the project, see the first stage of the landscape design and see inside the heritage listed buildings.