Court Allows Palace Theatre To Be Demolished
The decision was a blow for Melbourne’s live music community, heritage groups and the city of Melbourne. They had begun a campaign to retain the 1912 building as a live music venue since 2014 when its owner, China’s Jinshan Investment Group, filed in 2013 to build a 30-story apartment and hotel block. City of Melbourne blocked the application arguing it would be too high for the area.
Jinshan changed its design to 12-story. The Palace Theatre has since 1912 served a vaudeville hall, a cinema and a musical theatre. Since the 1980s, it was the Metro nightclub and Palace Theatre live music venue. The live music industry argued that Melbourne needs a 1,855-capacity room. A petition to save the building received 44,000 signatures. The Save The Palace group has 37,000 followers on Facebook. Heritage groups insisted that the building’s interior had historical architecture to be preserved.
However, last year much of the interior was stripped by workers, which led VCAT to admit that the building no longer had heritage interest inside. It told Jinshan Investment it has to maintain the external façade during rebuilding. Save The Palace announced April 22 after the VCAT decision it would ask City of Melbourne to appeal to the Supreme Court.
But after obtaining legal and planning advice, councillor Rohan Leppert, who had been actively among those trying to save the building as a music venue, was forced to concede to The Age newspaper, “On the face of it, it’s looking more and more difficult to retain it now.”