Shocking Shopfronts Saga


The sorry saga of sad shopfronts sails on, with the worst example being the Bairds Building in High Street. A large amount of money was spent renovating this important building, and by all accounts the interior work has been well done. But, the shopfront is a shocker, completely at odds with the beautiful architecture of the upper floor, and the heritage buildings either side, all three done by the same architects -Cavanagh and Cavanagh, who designed among other things St Mary’s Cathedral and the fire stations in Fremantle and Perth.

The Baird’s Building is listed by council as being ‘of exceptional significance to the City.’ The new shopfronts are totally inappropriate and do nothing to reunite the bottom of the building with the elaborate stucco decoration and Corinthian columns above.

Fremantle Council heritage staff and the Heritage Council have failed again to insist on the right outcome. None of this work even went to council- it was done under delegated authority by council heritage staff despite the size of the project.

Fremantle’s commercial and tourist competitiveness depends on presenting the heritage areas as authentically as possible, and no amount of weasel words from the council’s heritage staff will convince us otherwise.


2 Replies to “Shocking Shopfronts Saga”

  1. I live very close to this building .. and enjoy living on High Street.
    I am not impressed with the street frontage of this building at all.
    The whole shop front appears to have been ripped off, replaced with cold white aluminium
    I thought owners in the West End were being encouraged to make improvements within keeping of the historical look and feel of the building.
    Why would I now consider spending money on my place to keep it within a Heritage feel etc if others present examples like this.
    I am very disappointed …

  2. “Fremantle’s commercial and tourist competitiveness depends on presenting the heritage areas as authentically as possible”
    Any proof that is the case? Prior to the renovation the shops in question were both empty for a long period. Now there are at least three new businesses in the building, so that evidence could be taken as a counterpoint to the statement. Interested to know what relevant, contemporary research points to heritage fuelling commercial competitiveness.

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