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Melbourne hotel development halted in heritage-listed Tea House

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Melbourne hotel development halted in heritage-listed Tea House
While Melbourne has been encouraging new hotel developments, a major hotel development next to Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre has been quashed by the state government.

Despite approval last year from the City of Melbourne for a $100 million multi-tower development of up to 27 levels surrounding a 136-year-old Tea House on three sides, the proposal has been nixed by Heritage Victoria.

The Tea House, built in 1888, is located on Clarendon Street in South Melbourne, originally a riverbank site where imported tea chests could be unloaded directly from ships and stored in the warehouse.

Heritage Victoria, now part of the Department of Transport and Planning, saying the seven towers rising from three levels to 27 levels on three sides would “consume” the historic Tea House, which is listed in the historic register as “one of the finest and most prominent examples of a 19th century warehouse in Melbourne”.

The executive director of Heritage Victoria, Steven Avery, refused the development in part because “The combined height, number and density of the tower components and their proximity to the Robur Tea Building would cause substantial harm to the cultural heritage significance of the place.” It is Heritage Victoria’s preference that the building remains free standing.

The original plans would have demolished some of the Tea House and joined it to other towers, including a 154-room hotel, boutique apartments, offices and retail spaces, with a basement carpark. 

The historic building was to serve as the entrance and hotel lobby and would have also housed restaurants and bars on lower floors.  A rooftop restaurant was also part of the proposal.

Melbourne-based developer Monno is understood to be appealing the decision.

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