The WA government is inviting expressions of interest to buy the ‘iconic’ art deco South Fremantle Power Station, closing on July 2.
Bill Johnston, WA minister for mines and petroleum, energy and corrective services, issued a statement on Thursday saying that redevelopment of the site in North Coogee had been challenging. This was because for many power stations from the 1950s, the cost to remediate the site (and remove all asbestos material) is often greater than the development value.
The minister added that now, after nearly 40 years and with its recent listing on the state register of heritage places, there was an opportunity to pursue a new future for the South Fremantle Power Station site.
“The sale has the potential to allow an experienced developer to transform the site into a contemporary beachside destination, while also maintaining its heritage status,” Johnston said.
The South Fremantle Power Station was constructed in 1946 and opened in the early ’50s. It supplied power to the metropolitan area in conjunction with the East Perth Power Station. According to the government, it has ‘significant heritage value’.
In 1994 the site had all plant and equipment removed, and workers either transferred offsite or demolished the power station’s workshops, amenities building, canteen and ash pump chamber.
The Heritage Council’s entry for the power station says that unless a ‘useful tenancy’ is achieved, ‘deterioration is the only prospect’ for the site.
Local MP Simone McGurk said that the government’s announcement was very exciting for the Fremantle community and she looked forward to seeing how the project would progress.
“It is hoped any future development will also support local Western Australian jobs and deliver a new, vibrant precinct that will become a prime destination for locals and tourists alike,” McGurk said.
All sale inquiries and expressions of interest will be led by Synergy through a confidential sale process. The government said this process would allow prospective developers who ‘have the financial capacity and experience in developing heritage sites with remediation issues’ to ‘explore sale options’.