August 18, 2023
By Nadia Budihardjo

Sirona Urban is proposing to expand its Fremantle footprint with a $100 million development plan on the site previously earmarked for a DoubleTree by Hilton hotel.

The Perth developer has submitted a development application to the Metro Inner-South Joint Development Assessment Panel to demolish existing buildings and structures on 8 Point Street, Fremantle, to make way for a residential project.

The proposed development comprises 220 apartments, a café and co-working space, four commercial tenancies on the ground floor, and associated car parking.

A development application, prepared by town planners element with designs by Architectus, said the project costs was estimated to be in excess of $100 million.

Sirona Urban managing director Matthew McNeilly said the group first looked at the site in 2013.

“It’s almost 10 years ago now that we first expressed interest and it was always based on its capacity to do a significant residential development,” he said.

“Fortuitously, some other great developers [bought], particularly Hesperia who bought the Marylyn New’s Elders Woolstores across the road and of course, Gerard O’Brien of Silverleaf, got the shopping center redevelopment just across the road from us as well.

“It’s a really strong, wonderful opportunity for all of those parties to collaborate on building an amazing residential precinct in the east end of the [Fremantle] city.

“It’s going to really improve the prospects of that seven-day-a-week economy.”

City of Fremantle councillors approved the transfer of sale of 8 Point Street site to Point Street Partners in July 2022.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission documents from last year show Leonie Baldock, the granddaughter of mining magnate Peter Wright, as the sole director of Point Street Partners.

Sirona Urban is proposing to build a residential development on 8 Point Street, Fremantle. Image: Architectus via City of Fremantle

The Fremantle site has had a troubled history with a proposed four-star DoubleTree by Hilton hotel failing to start construction for years.

SKS Group proposed to build a seven-storey, 150-room hotel on the Point Street site and received approval for the $45 million project in 2014.

According to city council documents, SKS Group asked for multiple time extensions to start construction.

The only construction on the site since SKS Group’s purchase of the site was a three-level public car parking structure of 308 bays, which Mr McNeilly said has continued to be open as a placeholder for Sirona Urban.

Mr McNeilly told Business News that Sirona Urban hoped to have development approval by October.

“We’ll probably then sit down and, over the back end of this year to early part of next year, we’ll figure out whether we pursue a build to sell or build to rent strategy,” he said.

“I would be hopeful that we could be building next year. I think that’s realistic.

“Construction costs remain elevated, although I’m seeing improvement there so that’s encouraging. But off-the-plan sales are still really slow across the Perth metro area.

“We’d be waiting for or hoping to anticipate the right market conditions for it but I’m pretty optimistic that that could be 2024.”

This is the latest Fremantle project for Sirona Urban, which has developed the $270 million Kings Square or Walyalup Koort and FOMO.

Other Fremantle projects include the Heirloom apartments and the Quest Apartment Hotel in the west end of the city.

Mr McNeilly said heritage preservation was a major focus from the Fremantle community and Sirona Urban’s previous Fremantle projects show a track record for being respectful of heritage traits.

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