Two classic Melbourne pubs set to make way for apartment developments

The venerable Melbourne institution otherwise known as the local pub continues to feel the pinch as the lure of apartment living looks set to account for two more well known venues.

Latest to be earmarked for demolition is South Melbourne's Palmerston Hotel which many Melburnians would have driven past at one point or another, given its position on Kings Way. First licensed during 1876, current proponents Max Group Capital 2 Pty Ltd have applied to replace the existing dual level venue which is defined externally by a number of murals.

In the pub's place would rise a building of 55 apartments.

51-59 Palmerston Crescent, South Melbourne. Planning application image: DKO Architecture

Designed by DKO Architecture, the proposal addressed 51-59 Palmerston Crescent, South Melbourne would span 10 storeys and include 24 x 1 bed, 28 x 2 bed and 3 x 3 bed dwellings.

In documents lodged with City of Port Phillip, DKO Architecture describe the proposal as "functional, responsive to its corner location and respectful of transition in built form height, also expresses exemplary creativity and innovation in design. It will be a prominent building of high architectural within the Kings Way setting.

In this regard the building itself is considered to satisfy urban art Principles 1 and 2 by: - Providing creative and innovative built form in a highly visible location; - Contributing to the identity of place by contributing the diversity of built form along the Kings Way corridor; and - the proposal holds aesthetic appeal and will be a functional streetscape element."

Port Melbourne's The London under a new guise. Image: b.e architecture/Decibel Architecture

Palmerston Hotel's apparent demise follows on from Port Melbourne's London Hotel which is subject to a luxury apartment proposal. Diagonally opposite Station Pier, the watering hole and restaurant is intending to cash in on its premier location and associated premium dollar attached to apartments in the area under the plans of developer TAB Developments Pty Ltd.

Decibel Architecture and b.e architecture have created the proposal which would see 32 apartments and one food/drink premises supersede the London Hotel.

One bedroom apartments within the proposal begin at 60sqm, two bedroom dwellings range between 107sqm and 135sqm while the intended projects three bedroom dwellings range between 147sqm and a very hefty 232sqm.

The former Stork Hotel. Image courtesy BRW

The loss of Melbourne pubs to apartment developments in nothing new, with one of the more high profile cases in recent years being that of the Stork Hotel opposite Queen Victoria Market. In its place Vision Apartments at well over 200 metres is approaching completion.

Other notable pubs lost to development include the Canada Hotel in Carlton and Footscray's Belgravia Hotel which has remained a dormant site postafter the venue's demolition.

Richmond's Rising Sun Hotel may well join the above examples with a residential complex approved for the site while the CBD's Duke of Kent and Great Western are also in danger with the former subject to a planning application, and the latter currently for sale as a development site.

Lead image credit: Wikipedia and Yelp.



3000's picture

What a load of crap. It's not hard for developers to keep or redo the place as an example of stunning podium activation and still have their apartments.

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cathcath's picture

Too true 3000, The Beaumaris, a perfect example.

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johnproctor's picture

just demolishing one of the reasons people want to live in these locations.

the London in particular really just needs a decent facade restoration and paint job.

Both new buildings look great - shame about hte locations.

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m m's picture

“Never let the past spoil your present or govern your future.” I'm sick and tired of people clinching to past. Move on. I mean London's new design look really nice. I don't agree with you guys one bit.

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Bilby's picture

Um ... how exactly would the sensitive redevelopment of a heritage building "spoil" our present experience of the city, or "govern" our future as Melburnians, MM?

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3000's picture

What makes Melbourne livable are these unique instances of old buildings having life once again as a new generation discover them. When you take away vital nightlife locations you are taking away what people come here for.
For example, if we take away Total house and replace it with a resi tower we loose Billboard. Once again, people love Melbourne for these reasons.
Like I said, you can have both. So your cliche quote is totally useless here.

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Adrian's picture

The Quiet Man - a local institution and meeting place for Flemington locals and punters alike on Racecourse Rd - is earmarked for redevelopment into apartments as well. This is a travesty when public meeting places are knocked down in favor of a fast buck.

Local councils have a lot to answer for when they are not forcing developers to at least retain the public commercial facility let alone retaining the historic facades. It's the loss of communal space that is the real tragedy here.

Imagine England without all it's corner pubs - its a part of the fabric of the country we sadly here are eroding.

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3000's picture

Agree. The situation can't be fixed by just putting a cafe into every development and calling it a day. A friend of mine runs a successful series of club events in Southbank and they are no longer able to do them due to the property being marked for development. I'm not anti development, but the more we take away from Melbourne the less liveable it becomes. Heritage, functionality and awesome builds can all coexist. Look at New York as a fantastic example.

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Melbourne_Fragments's picture

do we need cultural heritage overlays?

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Reddie's picture

Couldn't agree more Adrian!

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Samson Fish's picture

The court house hotel brunswick. The elms family hotel CBD. The buckingham footscray. Just a few to have gone recently for apartments. Sad that the great western might go.

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Adam Ford's picture

This is interesting. People seem to be saying "these spaces are invested with social history and that's why they need presrving".
There is NOTHING in the current planning scheme capable of giving effective voice to that. You have an overlay or you don't. And if you don't have an overlay, you have no basis in law toobject. The overlay may cite cultural factors, but ultimately all it can do is stop people knocking stuff over. It cannot mandate specific ongoing usages.
Food for thought ...

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3000's picture

What would you have them do Adam?
Like you said, if all we have is a heritage overlay (which doesn't promise much of anything) with no real mandate for uses how would you propose we review items that are signifiant in terms of the public?

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Nick Murphy's picture

To note - the Palmerston is the very last Australian hotel still running that was once owned by Mick Maguire, footballer, boxer and father to short-lived Hollywood actress Mary Maguire. The Bull and Mouth and the Metropole in Bourke Street, the Belle Vue in Brisbane have all long since been demolished. Its unlikely this knowledge will change anyone's mind but its a reminder of the social history context we Australians discard so readily.

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