By Hannah Stone
A bold renovation of the former Myer department store in Fremantle’s King Square into an eclectic retail and production space has been given an extension but the future for its occupants is uncertain.
The Many 6160 project began in October 2013 and was only meant to last six months as a pop-up business before a planned major refurbishment.
The Kings Square Project has been further postponed and the Many 6160 space will last at least six months more.
The future beyond that is unclear and the creative community that has become well established over the past three years may lose their production space.
Duncan McGrath is the co-founder of Dunk ‘n’ Wagnell that designs and produces furniture from a workshop in the Many 6160 building.
“The community in the production spaces is something you wouldn’t get from your own personal workshop,” said Mr McGrath.
“It’s a great space and there are the regulars who are the backbone of the community and the weekend people who add to it as well.”
Located in the heart of Fremantle, the vision was to transform the old Myer building into something that fits more with Fremantle’s alternative style with production spaces and a retail floor with local crafts such as homewares, clothing and art.
Occupants say the retail space has been struggling from a lack of customers and has seen a rollover of good businesses but the production floors have been successful and formed a creative community.
Fremantle Chamber of Commerce CEO, Olwyn Williams, said Fremantle’s retail sector has been in a down phase but Many 6160 filled a gap between projects.
“It was an important project because before, Fremantle was faced with an empty building and this project made sure it didn’t feel like a vacuum,” said Ms Williams.
She said the production in Many 6160 has given back to the Fremantle community with Fremantle Festival collaborations, providing for other stores and making a valuable creative space but with the Kings Square Project set to go ahead, the future of Many 6160’s community is unclear.