16th November 2015.
Commercial developer Sirona Capital says the latest addition to its Adelaide Street shopping centre in Fremantle is a taste of what’s to come at its redevelopment of the port city’s Kings Square.
The newest store at the Adelaide Street Plaza is coffee shop Antz Inya Pantz, which opened its second outlet on October 1 after developing a cult following in Victoria Park.
Antz Inya Pantz is the second major coffee venture by Muzz Buzz founder Craig Muzeroll, who exited the drive-through coffee chain in 2005.
When Mr Muzeroll left Muzz Buzz, which is now owned and operated by Warren Reynolds, part of his non-compete agreement was that he couldn’t sell take-away coffee.
However, it allowed Mr Muzeroll to roast coffee, and once the agreement expired, he opened the doors of the first Antz Inya Pantz, adjacent to a couple of car yards on Albany Highway.
“People questioned my sanity at the time, saying ‘why would you go there, there is no one around’,” Mr Muzeroll told Business News.
“Since then, everything has built up around us and I kind of look at it like a habitat.
“My background originally was environmental science and I know that if you build a bird box with a certain diameter hole in the base, orioles will nest there.
“Our bird of feather is coffee drinkers who really like good coffee, so (in Fremantle) we created a nest very similar to the one in Victoria Park and it’s a matter of time before people find it and start inhabiting it.”
Mr Muzeroll said the coffee sold at the Fremantle store was roasted in Victoria Park and delivered twice a week, so punters were always served with the freshest of beans.
The bespoke, quirky nature of the store was a perfect fit for Sirona Capital, according to managing director Matthew McNeilly.
Mr McNeilly said Sirona purchased the centre in 2013 with a strategy of capitalising on the large amount of proposed residential development within a one-kilometre radius of the centre.
Across the road, developer SKS Group is advancing plans to build a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, which should be open by 2017, while there are also two significant apartment projects under construction on Queen Victoria Street and another one in the planning process.
Mr McNeilly said signing Antz Inya Pantz to a long-term lease would not only buy into that residential population growth, but also help reposition the centre.
“It’s a typical Woolworths-anchored, dare I say it, pretty sterile shopping centre, and we don’t think that fits particularly well with the vibe in Fremantle,” Mr McNeilly said.
“Discovering Craig and his business in Victoria Park and looking at it, we thought it would be a really neat fit for this location; but also it will help transform people’s view of the centre and how the centre actually works.”
Mr McNeilly said he never considered a large franchise coffee store for the centre, a strategy he also had in place for the retail component of the long-awaited $220 million redevelopment of Kings Square.
The Kings Square proposal still hinges on the possibility of a state government department anchoring its office component, but Mr McNeilly said if that failed to eventuate, Sirona had an alternate plan – developing a significant retail centre.
But he said that didn’t mean Fremantle would become like many of the city’s big-box suburban shopping malls.
“We want to change Freo in terms of economic development, but we don’t want to actually change the culture and the vibe and the way it currently feels,” Mr McNeilly said.
“This business fits hand in glove with the way Freo feels to us and Kings Square will be more of that.”