June 18, 2021 | By Graeme Kemlo

Melbourne’s new hotel developments continue unabated despite the pandemic with the announcement the heritage-listed 1887 historic Tea House, once the tallest building outside the CBD, will become a 154-suite hotel as part of a multi-storey redevelopment.

It is next door to Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and across Clarendon Street from Crown Casino in Melbourne’s Southbank precinct.

An original 39-storey proposal with a 312-room hotel from 2017 has been abandoned after objections from Heritage Victoria who described the six-storey red brick Tea House as architecturally one of the most significant warehouse buildings in Melbourne, if not Australia. In its submission the heritage body said it was built using a unique ironbark timber piling technique given the land was somewhat swampy beside the Yarra bank at the time of construction.

The building, on almost 3,000m2 of land was bought for $28 million last year by development group CostaFox who have just announced plans that will retain the view of the Tea House from the CBD, but also adds two towers of 12 and 25 floors. While there is no detail on the hotel operator, developers are planning an international hotel with 21 branded private residences, including two penthouses, office space, retail and open space with parking for 40 bikes.

Clarendon Street becomes Spencer Street as it crosses the Yarra and on this street Accor is about to open a new 172-room Mövenpick Hotel, while Marriott’s 263-room Ritz-Carlton hotel and private residences will open further up Spencer Street in 2022.