The BBC consortium, comprising Babcock & Brown and Citta Property Group, has been selected for the future development. Announcing the winning bid, Port Phillip mayor Janet Bolitho said the real winner was St Kilda, which will receive new public spaces and benefits valued at more than $60 million. “This is a clever and considered use of the space, a who’s who of Melbourne and Australian architects, hospitality, fashion and live music industries. It’s everything you love about St Kilda, only more of it. The ‘triangle’ development will be a vibrant place for all seasons: day and night, summer and winter. We asked for proposals that would restore the now faded heritage-listed Palais to its former glory; give the public open space that is more attractive than a car park and add excitement to St Kilda. We got all that and more,” she said.
Centrepiece of the development is the 3,000 seat Palais Theatre, refurbished to heritage guidelines. Major event spaces, The Palais Forecourt and Catani Steps, will be linked to the rest of the site by a series of lanes, promenades and walkways rambling through eating and drinking spaces, art installations, entertainment venues, retail outlets and open grassy spaces. City of Port Phillip will control and manage the 15,000 square metres of public open spaces which will be landscaped in line with Carlo Catani’s original inspiration.
Key features of the proposed development include:
- a $20 million refurbishment of the Palais Theatre
- 15,000 square metres of public areas including streets and lanes, an urban square, The Rambles and new grassy slopes
- big event spaces including The Palais Forecourt and Catani Steps
- Linden II, a new St Kilda Centre for Contemporary Arts
- William Angliss Institute of TAFE – Port Phillip Academy for hospitality training
- Terzini Hotel ñ a boutique hotel operated by Maurice Terzini
- a Vertical Garden by the Bay developed by internationally famous botanist Patrick Blanc
- eating and drinking spaces ñ majority targeted to the mid to affordable range
- entertainment spaces including multiple live music venues and Dendy Cinemas
- Sidney Nolan’s 1940 Luna Park sketch ìAbstractî reproduced as a giant ‘wrought iron’ lace work pinned to the cinemas building opposite the park itself
- special events calendar
- 1150 car parking spaces in two basement levels
- 181 retail tenancies: 50% independents with a maximum of 20% national chains
- basement supermarket
- fitness centre
The developers will be offered a 50 year lease with options up to 99 years. Construction is expected to be completed in about three years. Cr Bolitho said the next step is to introduce the successful proposal to the community and conduct the subsequent planning process. “We’ll be introducing the new ‘triangle’ to the community over the coming months. Everyone will have a chance to see the designs and appreciate the detail. During the formal planning application phase, everybody will have the ability to lodge submissions. These submissions will be independently assessed and advice will be provided to the council,” she said.