Melbourne’s iconic Festival Hall has been given a heritage order but that does not mean plans to turned the venue into apartments will cease.
Festival Hall owner Christopher Wren will pursue development plans for the site and can do so as long as the façade of the building remains. That was always the intention of the development anyway.
Speaking to the ABC Wren said, “We can make submissions about whether it’s got heritage significance … what should or shouldn’t be retained, and what may be capable of being removed but still maintaining the memories of events that happened there in years past,”
Festival Hall has been unprofitable as a business for decades and that is why the Wren family want out. “I draw the analogy [that] an old boxer facing up to a younger, bigger, stronger opponent is going to get well and truly pummelled and with the opening of Margaret Court Arena, and Hisense [Arena] to a lesser extent, we’re being pummelled,” he told the ABC.
According to Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne the development of the site must maintain the buildings character and preserve its history.
However, with new venues such as Margaret Court Arena and upgrades to The Forum and The Palais, Festival Hall has not been able to compete for touring business.