The future of the site came up at last week’s Planning Service Committee meeting, with members given plans for a five-storey building housing offices and retail to be built across the road from where the Queensgate building will be demolished to make way for a seven-storey office and retail development.
The sites fall under a city amendment that aims to revamp 12 underutilised sites in the city centre to revitalise Fremantle.
The city’s Design Advisory Committee (DAC), whose workings came under scrutiny during the Queensgate building approval process, reported after their February 3 meeting that the design of the proposed building was ‘evolving positively’ but two key aspects, including the connection of the Paddy Troy Mall through a pedestrian access, stopped them fully supporting the design.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said he loved the design of the proposed building, calling it modern but reflecting Fremantle’s past with a saw-tooth influenced roof.
‘This is a key development that will link the Fremantle Markets to Kings Square and bring activity in between through quality retail and many new workers,’ he said.
He said some changes were made during the Planning Services Committee meeting around the laneway to better activate it along the requests of the DAC.
The site is also close to four heritage-listed sites in the Warder’s Cottages, Sail & Anchor building, Fremantle Markets and the old police station and courthouse.
Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk, who has been vocal in her fight for the Henderson Cottages to be fixed and put to good use, said the development of the Spicer site and carpark would be good for the area, but that it needed to take into account the heritage that surrounded it.
‘Any new structure needs to be cognisant of proximity to the warder’s cottages, and has the potential to enhance these heritage treasures,’ she said.
‘We need the State Government to act on the cottages, which, once restored, and alongside a newly developed Spicer site, have the potential to make a very special precinct. I would want to be assured that heritage advice had been sought that no damage to the cottages will occur during the demolition process.’
Dr Pettitt said there would be no risk to the nearby heritage buildings through the demolition and construction processes.