APPROVED! December 2018

Adin Lang
4 min readDec 17, 2018
The former Spicer Building at 8–10 Henderson Street Fremantle.

The most exciting development related approval this month involves an unremarkable car park and a complex transaction.

What makes this development so exciting? There’s a number of reasons….

1. History

I think it was Tim Winton who said — “Fremantle’s neglect was it’s savior”, which refers to a period in investment in Western Australia that saw many of our historic buildings demolished for new developments. The investment and development mainly happened in Perth CBD and Fremantle was overlooked.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the case for the old Spicer Building (pictured above). The stunning four storey building was demolished in the 1970’s to make way for an unremarkable car park which remains to this current day. We certainly lost a gem building.

Nothing can be done to bring back the Spicer Building, instead we can look to the future and new opportunities for this site.

The Spicer Building was replaced by a car park in the 1970’s

2. Future = Confidence

The City of Fremantle invested heavily in the Kings Square project, with the objective of revitalising Fremantle and attracting new investment.

The recent sale of the Spicer Site goes part way to supporting councils decision to invest in Kings Square, but I believe it goes further. The purchase of the site by a reputable investment group, lead by a globally renowned businessman in Andrew Forrest, suggests that there’s strong confidence in the economic future of Fremantle.

This is the third property purchase in Fremantle by this investment group in recent months. See here.

Kings Square isn’t even finished yet and people are already taking notice.

The unremarkable car park as seen in 2018.

3. Diversity

The recent larger developments in Fremantle have been primarily driven by two companies, Silverleaf and Sirona Capital, who’ve been a huge part of the revitalisation journey so far. The addition of a new player brings economic resilience, new business networks and potentially new architecture pools into our city.

The approved development for the site in relation to Fremantle Town Hall (right).
The approved development for the site in relation to Waders Cottages (left).

4. Opportunity — 7 day economy

The site currently has approval for a 5 storey office and retail development (artist impression above) which was designed prior to the recent purchase. It’s proposed the new building will offer premium office space on the upper floors and retail on the ground floors.

An important part of the revitalisation of Fremantle is creating/restoring the 7 day economy, in recent years our busiest trading days have been Friday to Sunday. The addition of more office space in Fremantle provides an opportunity to attract new corporates and their workforces to our city, supporting our economy Monday to Friday.

There is no indication if the new owners will proceed with the approved concept or look at something entirely different.

5. Art

Fremantle Policy requires developments of scale to contribute 1% of the development cost toward public art. Based on the estimated cost the approved development being $21,500,000.00, the contribution to be made is $215,000.00.

Given the Forrest family have previously donated art to the Fremantle Maritime Museum, Transparent Sea by Vaughn Bisschops was donated in 2014, I’m hopeful that the 1% developer contribution will yield another special public artwork for our community.

Full story on the Transparent Sea here.

The Forrest family donated a public art piece to Fremantle in 2014, Transparent Sea by Vaughn Bisschops.

The transaction:

To provide a consent for transfer of ownership for 8–10 Henderson Street (former Spicer site), Fremantle, from Sirona Capital Management Pty Ltd as trustee for the Kings Square №2 Unit Trust to Spicer Street Pty Ltd (Forrest Entity). Spicer Street Pty Ltd is a related company to the Forrest Family Investments Pty Ltd. The consent is recommended for support upon the same conditions as the terms of the Project Development Deed originally dated 10 May, 2013 (as varied).

The financing company is a Forrest family related entity under the name of Spicer Street Pty Ltd. This company is wholly owned by Sultan Pty Ltd. Sultan Pty Ltd is wholly owned by Forrest Family Investments Pty Ltd. Forrest Family Investments Pty Ltd is owned by Mr Andrew Forrest.

For more information, please see our full council agenda here:

The 1970 demolition of the building.
Image from 1915
Prior to demolition 1970