Fremantle is internationally-renowned as being one of the best-preserved Victorian-era port cities in the world but it’s also a city undergoing a once-in-a-generation revitalisation.
Famed for its welcoming atmosphere, vibrant entertainment, boutique breweries, historic streetscapes and spectacular Indian Ocean backdrop, Fremantle is one of the world’s most desirable places to live and to visit.
The word is now out on a global scale with Lonely Planet selecting Freo as a top 10 city in its annual Best In Travel 2016 publication. (View the City's media release). Much of this has to do with the exciting transformation the city has been undergoing over the past few years.
View the Fremantle story video below for a snapshot of some of Freo's famous sites ready to be rediscovered in 2016.
- $1.3b development pipeline transforming Fremantle
- The revitalisation effect - what it all means for Freo
- What's happening in Freo? Be part of the story!
With over $1.3 billion worth of private and public investment in the pipeline, including public, commercial, residential and retail developments, Fremantle is in the midst of the most significant revitalisation period since the America’s Cup in the 1980s.
The high levels of investment are already delivering more people living, working and visiting the port city and are the direct result of innovative planning and investment attraction activities put in place by Fremantle Council over the past few years.
Projects completed, many more currently under construction
Recently completed projects include the redevelopment of the former Fishermen’s Co-op building into the new Bathers Beach House, new apartments in the Quattro complex on Bannister Street, the recently opened Lapa Brazilian Barbecue restaurant in High Street’s west end and Bread in Common on Pakenham Street.
Find out more about the investment boom in Fremantle by visiting the Investing in Fremantle section or play the video below.
The well-known (but hard to define) ‘Freo vibe’ is alive and well - Although Fremantle is in a noticeable growth phase, its unique bohemian charm, laid-back lifestyle and heritage architecture is being carefully conserved so Fremantle retains all the things that make it special.
Tourism and retail
Outside of the Perth CBD, Fremantle is the most visited place in Western Australia and . While Freo is still very much a working port, it is also heavily geared towards offering people an authentic visitor and shopping experience unlike any other in Australia.
The Lonely Planet selection is expected to boost the amount of visitors to Fremantle figures and build on the *$290m annual tourism benefit to the local economy (*source - Tourism Research Australia 2015)
Add to this a record number of cruise ship passengers expected in the 2015/16 season (56 ship visits with 150 000 visitors) the future of the retail and hospitalityis very bright.
The revitalisation of Fremantle is another major factor in further developing the crucial retail, hospitality and tourism industry in Fremantle and the City's Fremantle. Be part of the Story consumer marketing initiative is o bringing Fremantle experiences to the masses.
Bathers Beach House opened in 2014
56 cruise ships and over 150,000 passengers are expected to come through Fremantle port in 2015/16
With little increase in the city centre population over the last 20 years, a key priority of council over the past few years has been to attract more residents to the city centre. More residents in the city is not only good for the local economy, it has a host of other benefits including improving community safety and vibrancy.
Several new residential projects are currently under construction including new apartments on Douro Road and the 54 apartment QV11 on Queen Victoria Street is now complete.
The 180 unit Heirloom development in the east end is now in progress, transforming the former Fort Knox building into New York style apartments and adding up to 300 new residents into central Freo. Another 19 apartments on Pakenham Street have just started construction as well.
For a list of developments currently happening or planned in Fremantle view the latest investment update.
Public space upgrades and heritage restoration a priority
To support theses private developments, the City is focused on upgrading public spaces and enhancing Fremantle’s impressive collection of heritage buildings.
Works to upgrade the High Street Mall have commenced, which will include new public furniture, lighting and other upgrades by the end of the year. Restoration work on the Manning Estate building and the construction of a new office and retail building at Atwell Arcade will complete the overhaul by mid 2016.
There is also a raft of heritage restoration works across the city, including $2.8m to restore Fremantle’s iconic town hall building.
Town hall restoration work
The word is out in the hospitality sector with new hotels springing up around the city, including well-known international brands and boutique hotels.
In addition to the recently opened Hougoumont Hotel, a brand new DoubleTree hotel by Hilton will open its doors by 2018 on Point Street and a Quest Serviced Apartments complex is currently under construction on Pakenham Street.
Find out more about Fremantle's unprecedented investment boom by visiting the Investing in Fremantle section of this website.
Artists impression of the new Doubletree By Hilton hotel expected to be completed by 2018
A buzzing city - often considered the festival capital of Australia
Fremantle has a legendary festivals, events, performance, arts and live music scene that stretches across the whole year including the Fremantle Festival, Fremantle Street Arts Festival, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival and the annual Blessing of the Fleet.
Vibrant street culture
Renowned as Western Australia’s cultural epicentre, a stroll through the streets of Fremantle will uncover any number of hidden wonders. Musicians and street performers busk regularly and you might also see artists painting street murals or even the occasional flash mob appearing out of nowhere to dazzle stunned onlookers. With so much going on here every day there’s never a dull moment in Freo.
Walking and cycle friendly city
Fremantle is well known as a bike-friendly city and the City has been upping the ante in recent years and this year will spend almost $1m on improving bike paths and other essential bike infrastructure.
To improve Fremantle’s pedestrian and cycling directional signage, the City is currently auditing signage across high-priority areas including the city centre, North Fremantle and South Fremantle. Following this audit, old signs will be replaced and new signs will be positioned in key areas of the city. The end result will be a more coordinated and consistent signage system to help people navigate effectively in and around Fremantle.
It's not just the centre of the city enjoying a revival. A short walk or five minute CAT bus ride along South Terrace will take you to some of Fremantle’s emerging precincts. Wray Avenue has long been popular with locals and visitors for its unique and special “freo” vibe and its collection of quirky cafes, alternative bars, specialty stores and small businesses. Check out the spectacular 80 metre long trompe l'oeil mural on the East West furniture warehouse. Take a ride (or train) over the river to North Fremantle to visit the local late-night venues and bars or sit back and relax on Fremantle’s famous Leighton Beach.
Wray Avenue precinct
To find out all the things that are happening in Freo visit the City's Fremantle Story website. In it you'll find categories which include:
Australia Day 2015 - image courtesy Bathers Beach House