1st September 2017.
Work on Fremantle council's long-awaited $270 million redevelopment of the heart of the port city has finally got under away.
The multi-million dollar spruce-up of Kings Square in the CBD had been pushed back more than three years, while Sirona Capital - the developer the city will work with on the project - tried to secure an anchor tenant to fill some of the 30,000sqm of office space within the city centre.
The redevelopment, which is expected to be finished by late 2019, will also see a new civic chamber, library, offices for the City of Fremantle and 16,000 square-metres of retail space.
In November, the Barnett government flagged more than 1500 public servants would move to the port city when the Housing Authority and the Department of Corrective Services and the Department of Transport relocated to Fremantle in 2020.
Fremantle council is hoping the number of government departments moving south would lift the economic malaise hanging over the city with a number of key retailers, including Myer, packing up and leaving.
The sight of more than a 1000 construction workers in the city each day will be welcomed by a number of long-suffering businesses who have been holding their breath waiting for the project to commence.
At the time of the Barnett government announcement, Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said the 1500 public servants moving into the city would inject $358 million into the local economy.
Dr Pettitt said the Kings Square redevelopment was a once in a generation project.
"As well as providing a much-needed boost to the local economy, renewing the Freo city centre will provide fantastic new community and commercial facilities sympathetic to the heritage values of the area and designed with high levels of environmental sustainability and energy efficiency," he said.
"Council's $50m commitment to deliver a new civic, library and administration building is a direct investment into the future of Fremantle, which can be achieved without the need to raise rates above CPI levels and with debt and reserves able to be reinstated within 10 years – this is a great outcome for ratepayers.
"We look forward to continuing to work with our project partner Sirona, who over many years have demonstrated their commitment to the future of Fremantle. I'm very pleased the State Government have honoured a commitment of the previous government to relocate 1500 employees to Kings Square Sirona Capital managing director Matthew McNeilly said work starting on the project was a "significant" day for Fremantle.
"We have dedicated ourselves to delivering an integrated and coordinated renewal outcome in Kings Square Fremantle and we are now close to seeing the area become a hive of activity," he said.
"I want to acknowledge the city of Fremantle's determination to grasp the opportunity at Kings Square. The city's commitment to civic renewal has been integral to Sirona investing $220 million into the precinct."