Investment Property Sell-Off

Fremantle Council has been on a relentless mission to sell off investment properties since 2010, but where has the money gone? It looks like this fire-sale will only end when Fremantle Council has nothing left to sell.

In 2009 the City of Fremantle valued its investment property portfolio at $58.7 million. If the Council had simply retained these properties it could reasonably expect that this portfolio would have appreciated in value to significantly greater than this figure, particularly as some properties had been valued in at below market value.

As at 30 June 2020 the value of the City of Fremantle’s Investment Property portfolio, as contained in the 2020 Financial Statements had reduced to as little as $22.65 million.

Claremont on the Park - Overview - DevelopmentWA - Shaping our State's  future
Claremont Oval – Is this the future we want for Fremantle Football Oval?

[developmentwa.com.au/projects/residential/claremont-on-the-park/overview]

Nothing is safe from the chopping block, as Council has already tried to sell off historic Victoria Hall [and failed], has planned to sell the Leisure Centre Carpark, and its latest plans [April 2021] is to redevelop part of Fremantle Oval to house 170 new residents. Selling parts of Fremantle Oval to property developers for apartments is a step too far.

This must STOP!

The following properties have been sold so far since 2014:

Date SoldPropertyPrice ($ million)Comments
2014Point Street Carpark5.00sold to hotel developer [Hilton Doubletree]
201464 Adelaide St [Port Cinema]4.15sold to hotel developer [Hilton Doubletree]
2014Bannister St Carpark2.45sold to apartment developer
2017Queensgate Carpark16.50sold to Sirona
2017Queensgate Centre6.40sold to Sirona
2019Spicer Carpark6.65sold to Sirona, then immediately on-sold
202012 Josephson Street Carpark1.30sold to apartment developer [Yolk Property]
??14 Essex Street0.50
202012 Holdsworth Street1.10
Total44.05

While the Fremantle Council has received $44.05 million from its sale of investment properties since 2021, this hides the true value of the decimation of income producing assets the the City once owned.

Council sold three properties to Sirona for $29.5 million, while the true value of these properties was in excess of $50 million. The City of Fremantle acknowledged in 2015 that it could have received a higher price for some of these properties if sold on a competitive market basis.

Fremantle Council is not finished yet, with the negotiations over the sale of its Quarry Street properties in a mature stage. Other properties have survived the chop, but only due to community back-lash or sheer good luck from a rate payers’ perspective.

  • Leisure Centre Carpark:

Until recently, Fremantle Council even had plans to sell off its Leisure Centre Carpark to developers for $5.0 million. This plan was only stopped by a sharp back-lash from local residents when the plans for the sale came to light.

Long Term Financial Plan 2015-25 [page 22]

Victoria Hall:

Fremantle’s historic and iconic Victoria Hall, former location of much loved Deckchair Theatre and Fly-by-Night Club, was put on the market by Council in 2019 for $2 million. Fortunately they were unable to secure a buyer, and this treasure remains in City of Fremantle hands – for now.

Fremantle Football Oval:

Buried deep in the attachments of the City of Fremantle’s 14 April 2021 FPOL Meeting, Council’s plans for selling off parts of Fremantle Oval to property developers is starting to emerge.

Council’s residential plan Fremantle Oval for Fremantle Oval; [page 46 FPOL Meeting Attachments; 14 April 2021]

What is the true motivation for moving the oval north, closer to the historic grandstand? Where are 170 additional residents going to live within the Fremantle Oval precinct, considering this land is currently owned by the City of Fremantle? Why did Fremantle Council recently gazette a new road directly from South Terrace to the “Future redevelopment site” shown below?

Future Redevelopment of Fremantle Oval [page 58 FPOL Meeting Attachments; 14 April 2021]

This only points to one thing – the redevelopment site will be sold to property developers for the construction of apartment towers, as has been done at Claremont Oval. Is this the future we want for our historic Fremantle Oval precinct?

Is this what we want next to the only UNESCO listed building in Western Australia – Fremantle Prison?

Samson Recreation Centre:

Samson Rec has also been mooted for sale for $5.5 million to meet the funding shortfall at the Admin Centre:

2 April 2015: https://heraldonlinejournal.com/2015/04/02/samson-rec-to-pay-for-new-hq-2/

7-9 Quarry Street:

The 7-9 Quarry Street property once used to be the site of Fremantle’s Youth Centre. Fremantle Council closed the centre and demolished the building. No replacement youth centre has been planned for Fremantle.

Council decided that this site should be sold to developers for the construction of new apartments. The vacant property has now sat vacant for many years.

The Quarry Street sites were scheduled to be sold to Locus Development Group for $ 5,616,000. The developer is planning to build 51 four-storey apartments facing Fremantle Park. It is understood that this sale has not yet closed.

Knutsford St Council Depot:

Council had planned to sell its depot site on Knutsford Street for $10 million but has been forced to remain there for now due to the debacle with the purchase of the Jones Street property as an alternative depot site, but that’s another story…