News over the weekend that the plan for a tower at The Windsor will be scrapped after Planning Minister Richard Wynne indicated he would not extend the permit. The owner’s are now threatening to close the hotel but MHA believes that if they can’t build the proposed tower then they should sell the hotel forthwith!
We are yet to see what will become of The Windsor but we are pleased that the threat of a giant glass tower looming over the hotel is now gone.
The Age story reports that:
Melbourne’s Windsor Hotel will close within two years, its planned tower redevelopment dumped, in a dramatic conclusion to a lengthy political saga.
Owner Halim Group made the announcement on Friday after Planning Minister Richard Wynne said he would not grant the company a permit to extend the allowed construction time for the project.
The developer previously warned it would not be able to meet the January 2017 deadline to build its 26-storey tower at the rear of the Windsor. With only minor works completed so far, they had requested an extension until September 2018.
Halim Group spokesman Michael Smith said the heritage-listed hotel would now be likely to shut its doors within two years, more than 130 years after the institution first opened in 1883.
A decision is yet to be made about the future of the building. It could be sold, or perhaps converted into apartments, but there was no doubt it would cease being a five-star hotel, Mr Smith said.
“Mr Halim has thought about it carefully and decided it would be better to allow the Duchess of Spring Street to close its doors with dignity rather than watch it crumble down disgracefully,” he said.
You can hear Adi Halim on Jon Faine here https://soundcloud.com/774-abc-melbourne/the-closure-of-windsor-hotel-owner-adi-halim-talks-to-jon-faine The owner seems to want to deflect blame for the project’s failure on the heritage process, whereas in truth he got a permit for an important heritage building (mostly due to a bungled political process which was seemingly intended to result in a refusal of the permit) and several extensions to that permit over the past five years.
He has also written an opinion piece for The Age where he claims ‘political interference’ is the problem, when it was political fuss that got them the permit in the first place! And Halim’s solution to the problems caused by the so-called political interference is to ask the minister to intervene on his behalf, but we assume it is only political interference if the decision doesn’t go the way you want it to. No reason given why they haven’t started yet having got the heritage permit 3 years ago.