The Palace Theatre in Melbourne set to be demolished and replaced with luxury apartments
Another Australian music venue is under threat with plans unveiled for the iconic Palace Theatre in Melbourne to be demolished and turned into a luxury 5 star hotel and apartment complex. Plans submitted to Melbourne Council show the 30 storey Complex, ‘W Hotel’ would host 205 hotel rooms and 145 apartments.
The venue was purchased last year at public auction by Chinese Property investment firm, Jinshan Investments. Subject to approvals construction of ‘W Hotel Melbourne’ could start as early as next year and be completed by 2016. The project is being opposed by the Melbourne Heritage Action Group who fear current Laws fall weak and do not offer protection to the façade or the interior of the building. It’s hard not to see there being somewhat of a squeeze on music oriented spaces at the ‘top end’ of Bourke Street, which is often more noted for its ‘mature’ surrounds under the backdrop of Parliament House.
The Palace Theatre, formerly The Metro Nightclub has played host to countless local and International Acts including The Dandy Warhols, The Presets, Deftones, Wilco and Sonic Youth. First erected in 1860 the building has undergone architectural changes over the years to accustom its use as a Theatre, Cinema and finally a Music Venue since 1987. The Palace Theatre holds great cultural and historical significance to Melbourne seeing thousands of patrons through its doors every year and hundreds of acts performing.
Debates will surely begin over the value the State Government places on historical buildings such as The Palace Theatre. Developers are arguing the line of job increases, revitalisation, and economic gains, claiming guests are likely to spend $1000 in the CBD per night they stay. But the question needs to be asked, is it of greater value than our cultural and musical heritage? Melbourne is renowned for its live music scene around the world. It is venues such as The Palace that support this scene and helps showcase local bands alongside International acts.
(Above Right & Below: The Dandy Warhols perform at The Palace Theatre in 2008)
The Palace Theatre is a Melbourne Venue but the issue is not confined to this town. The protection of Australia’s live music venues and this Countries historical and culturally significant buildings is an issue for all. So if you value the venues you step inside to see your favourite performers, please take a moment to lend your voice to their ongoing protection and value. Share this page and better yet, tell the Government how you feel!
You can email the Hon Matthew Guy, Victorian Planning Minister @ firstname.lastname@example.org. Let him know your thoughts and the value you place on venues such as The Palace Theatre. Us punters may not spend $1000 upwards each in a single night but I think the interactions, appreciation and engagement that occurs between punters and performers every show has a far higher value both short and long term. Venues are not just rooms, they are the keepers of momentous memories and the breathing place of new dreams.
Band Photography by Lauren Duiker
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