We are all aware that Fremantle is on the cusp of positive growth and change, and the $1.3 billion of investment currently in the pipeline is evidence to that.

That investment means more than a number, it means people….People who will chose to experience Fremantle from the inside, not as weekend visitors, but people who live, work and play inside the historic heart of our City.

The people who will actually inhabit the 1,826 dwellings, 42,042 m2 of office space, 36,397m2 of retail and hospitality spaces, and the additional 750 hotel rooms that are currently being assessed, have received planning approval or are in development.

Of these, 459 dwellings were recently completed, an additional 22 under construction (at The Social on Henry St), and 110 dwellings are currently for sale at Match’s 12 Parry St and Yolk Property’s Little Lane.

I met this week with new Fremantle Chamber members Matthews & Scavalli Architects and YOLK Property Developers. I was so impressed by their energy, enthusiasm and commitment to changing the landscape on how we see residential development in the City.

Matthews & Scavalli, together with developers Australian Development Capital and builder Firm Construction, have captured the best of our iconic West End by maintaining the historic Fremantle Workers Social and Leisure Club frontage and integrating a modern development featuring 22 boutique apartments.

The skylight windows of The Social gaze out across the heritage buildings onto harbour and across to the Port cranes as a visual and permanent reminder to history, and the hub of the Port City. Also a great example of the potential of some of the City’s under-utilised upper stories (take a virtual tour of the residential spaces here).

Yolk Property, with their offices, overlooking our historic Round House building and next door to the ever popular Chalkies Expresso Bar Fremantle, have made a conscious decision to call Fremantle home.

This choice of Fremantle over traditional property development haunts on St Georges Tce, or West Perth, directly translates to their bias of land acquisitions and current projects. From Established on Pakenham St (a boutique mixed use development) to Little Lane on Adelaide St (high rise mixed use) to Harbour Fremantle’s green office space to multiple developments in North Coogee, they build for what a future Fremantle will look like, including winning multiple awards for the first apartment development in Australia for sale to utilise shared solar and battery technology in a built form.

As more residential developments, such as these, begin with an inner city lifestyle experience at their heart, the word experience continues to stretch out into new approaches for retail, hospitality and tourism sectors. The current economy means it is no longer enough to simply sell your product – customers crave experiences in a way that they cannot get online, often from the caverns of their own homes.

So how do we translate the heart and soul of life in Fremantle into extraordinary retail and hospitality experiences?

We are extremely privileged to have on our expert panel at next Wednesday morning’s Set the Month in Motion Forum and Podcast the true blaze runners of the consumer experience world. In particular, the legendary Al Taylor – CEO of Triple 1-Three (creators of Freo.Social and Otherside Brewing), President WAM (WA Music), past Group Managing Director 303 Lowe/303 Advertising and previous Board member of Awesome Arts, and the enigmatic Kate Hullett of Spacemarket, Kate and Abel and MANY back by popular demand to share more of her thoughts on activations and creating experiences.

Bring your questions into the Chamber to put to the panel at 8am next on Wednesday morning.

Finally, while our inner City residential population is in the growth phase, it is important that businesses show their clout by voting for our local government representatives. Business registrations to vote in the upcoming elections on 19 October for the City of Fremantle Council close this FRIDAY.  Unlike other elections, members may be entitled to vote in an area they do not live if they own or lease a property, or if they run a business in the City. Details on eligibility and the enrolment forms to sign up can be found here.

Image: The Social Matthews & Scavalli Architects