Kings Square redevelopment progresses

The City says it’s time to get on with Kings Square.           d436841
The City says it’s time to get on with Kings Square.         d436841

THE Kings Square redevelopment is a step closer after Fremantle councillors agreed to send the proposal to the Joint Development Assessment Panel (JDAP).

The project, for which the Queensgate building will be demolished and the former Myer building partially demolished before two buildings are erected in their place, is set to bring a new cinema and a range of commercial and office tenancies to Fremantle.

It will also house 1500 Housing Authority, Department of Corrective Services and Department of Transport employees.

During Wednesday’s meeting, councillors agreed to send the Sirona Capital project to the JDAP, something managing director Matthew McNeilly said would allow the company to begin work this year if approved.

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“We are pleased the State Government’s thinking aligned with ours in terms of the economic benefits of government agencies moving to Fremantle on a long-term lease,” he said.

“While the project would have been a commercial success with a different type of office or retail tenancy mix, we parked our commercial interests because we realised very early that Kings Square would be an important trigger for renewal in the CBD, which it has been already.

“We have engaged specialists in retail renewal projects who agree that finding and sifting through the best and most appropriate retailers for Fremantle must be done carefully and sensitively, so we’re in no rush to get signatures on tenancy contracts.”

Mr McNeilly said the many 6160 tenants displaced in the redevelopment would move to the vacant Spotlight store on Adelaide Street and the old courthouse.

The Fremantle Society continues to stand against the proposal, with president John Dowson saying there were several unresolved issues that shouldn’t be handballed to the JDAP.

“In December 2016 the DAC (Design Advisory Committee) said the proposal could not be supported in its current form but over Christmas some changes were apparently made and now DAC says the design is ‘acceptably good’,” he said.

“That is still a long way from demonstrating ‘exceptional design quality’. Fremantle chief executive Philip St John said the city was supportive of the current proposal from a planning perspective.

“The final size of the buildings came from careful consideration of planning requirements and commercial viability and both comply with the planning scheme for the area,” he said.