The Freo Film Studio Saga is over!
Fremantle has formally missed out on becoming home to the State’s first dedicated screen production facility with the green lighting today of a proposal from the Adrian Fini-backed Home Fire Pty Ltd for a film studio at Malaga.
Due diligence on a 16-hectare site within the Malaga METRONET station precinct in Perth’s north-east will now commence with a view to obtaining State approvals in 2023.
The proposed site – off Marshall Road and south of Whiteman Park – has been selected for its proximity to the Perth CBD and airport, access to future public transport, scale of the available land, and its direct access to major roads for travel to regional areas of the State.
The alternative site was identified following several well publicised challenges with the original proposed location at Victoria Quay, Fremantle.
The screen production facility project was released by the State Government as a Problem and Opportunity Statement and is progressing through the MLP or Market-led Proposal process with Home Fire as the preferred proponent.
The State Government is continuing to negotiate with Home Fire on the commercial terms of development, with terms to be finalised in 2023.
As part of the ongoing negotiations, Home Fire will progress the proposal at the site, which includes site investigations, final design, and relevant planning applications. If the final proposal is approved by the State Government, it is anticipated that construction will commence in late 2023.
It seems Freo isn’t totally out of the picture, however, with the Government indicating that the negotiations will also consider a Creative Industries Hub at Victoria Quay’s E Shed.
The Premier, Mark McGowan said the development of a new screen production facility will support his Government’s investment in the State’s creative industries to diversify the economy through the attraction of film, TV, and screen projects to WA.
Home Fire’s proposal is to design, construct, operate and maintain the studio. The proposed development will include purpose-built sound stages and other onsite screen production facilities such as production offices, an art department and wardrobe, workshops, a backlot, parking, and set storage.
Consultation with the community on the proposed site will take place as part of any future planning applications.
The Premier said, in a statement, that:
“Backing Western Australia’s film and television industry is a critical part of our plan to diversify WA’s economy and create new local job opportunities.
“Western Australia’s natural beauty makes it an ideal location for film and TV production and having a world class screen production facility right here in Perth will make our State an even more attractive proposition for investment in interstate and international productions.
“Today’s announcement is another step forward on delivering our election commitment for a new screen production facility for Western Australia – supporting local industry and local jobs for our State.”
As to the Malaga location, Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said –
“As we deliver the METRONET Morley-Ellenbrook Line there is going to be significant scope for growth of new industries, and the delivery of a screen production facility within the new Malaga Station precinct is a fantastic example of the opportunities we have.
“The future precinct will become a strategic community and employment hub for Perth’s growing north-east – with a high-frequency train station, new homes and businesses, and now the potential for a one-of-a-kind screen production facility.
“Home Fire will now undertake further due diligence on the site, including consultation with the City of Swan, Traditional Owners, and other relevant stakeholders – with opportunities for further feedback through any future development application process. Consultation with the City of Fremantle will also occur in relation to Home Fire’s proposed creative industries hub.
“The McGowan Government will continue to work closely with Home Fire on this proposal.”
Many Fremantle people, not least the local MP Simone McGurk and Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge, who both strongly supported the initial Fremantle film studio proposal, will, no doubt, be disappointed at the final outcome of the MLP process, but hopeful that a creative hub at E-Shed on Victoria Quay might be salvaged from it.
* By Michael Barker, Editor, Fremantle Shipping News
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