Minister Grants Temporary Protection to 9 Snubbed Buildings

Former Hoyts Mid City, Bourke St
Protected – Former Hoyts Mid City, Bourke St

Another high moment this week on the heritage roller-coaster that we can celebrate. Wheeeeeee!!!

Finally some movement on the post-war buildings that Matthew Guy decided shouldn’t receive heritage protection as part of the ’99 buildings’ amendment in 2013, pending a further ‘study’ that never emerged.

MHA applauds the Minister for moving swiftly to resolve what has been an unnecessarily stalled process for years.

Interim protection has been granted until March 2017 for the nine snubbed buildings, pending a comprehensive study of all post-war buildings. MHA welcomes the initiative for a comprehensive study. We however question the need for interim rather then the permenent protection as recommended by Council, given these nine have already been through the same process that approved heritage overlays for the 87 pre-war buildings.

Interestingly, the Age is reporting an unspecified “panel” found “a new planning amendment from Melbourne City Council would be required before they [the nine buildings] could be granted permanent heritage status” in order to specifically address post-war buildings. MHA does not believe this is necessary.

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During the delay induced by the former Minister, a 10th building, the former National Mutual building on Collins Street, has been demolished and is set to be replaced with a twin 41-storey skyscraper development nicknamed the “pantscraper”.

Newly protected is the former Grange Lynne factory A’Beckett Street, as we’ve reported previously currently subject to a facadism application.

Also notable on the list is the former Commonwealth Bank building on Elizabeth Street, a fine example of high modernist retail innovation.

So too, the Atlas Insurance building, later the Guardian Royal Exchange on Collins Street, was built in 1957 and among the first wave of “curtain wall” high rises constructed in Australia.

Also included is the Royal Insurance Group building, colloquially known as the “black stump”.

Other newly protected buildings are:

  • The Hoyts Mid City Cinemas on Bourke Street, opened in 1970.
  • The former RACV Club at 111 Queens Street, built 1961.
  • The former English Scottish and Australian Banking Co building, Elizabeth Street.
  • The “curtain-walled” London Assurance House at 470 Bourke Street.
  • Dillingham Estates House on William Street – designed by Yuncken Freeman Architects.

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