Last week Urban Melbourne explored the increasing number of inner-city pubs making way for apartment developments, with the two latest proposals likely to be Port Melbourne's London Hotel and South Melbourne's Palmerston Hotel.
While the lure of comparatively quick gains has proven to be too great an incentive for numerous pub/hotel owners, one venue has bucked the trend by incorporating apartments into an ongoing hotel operation rather than completely shutting its doors. With approval in place, St Kilda's Village Belle Hotel will during 2016 undergo a multi-million dollar redevelopment.
Overlooking the southern end of Acland Street, Village Belle Hotel will be overhauled at the hand of prolific hospitality design firm Technē Architecture and Interior Design, with a double-storey winter beer garden set to stand side by side with a new apartment building fronting Smith Street.
With the origins of the pub circa 1890, the overhaul is in part designed to coincide with City of Port Phillip’s plans to upgrade Acland Street into a plaza by closing traffic to the thoroughfare and moving the No.96 tram terminus 54 metres into Acland Street itself. In effect the hotel will be opened up to Acland Street.
In terms of the new addition, 12 apartments will be added over a new three level structure abutting the existing pub, and will be split evenly between 6 one bedroom and 6 two bedroom dwellings. Being in close proximity to the pub, the apartment building will receive a heightened level of engineering to achieve an acceptable acoustic result for apartment dwellers.
The apartments' high end finish will be targeted at young professionals wanting to enter the St Kilda market with the pub's entertaining area connected to the apartments.
In terms of Village Belle's new interior, Technē provided the following comments:
Creating an architectural language that sits next to a heritage structure requires a great degree of care and finesse.
Working with heritage buildings can also be like opening up a can of worms and there have been numerous surprises within the existing structure. It’s about achieving a balance between the old and the new.Tim Angus, Technē architect and project lead for Village Belle
Village Belle's new space will be set among a steel-framed structure covered with operable glazed glass walls. A mechanism with pulleys will move the windows, adding to the industrial theme of the renovation while also allowing to space's climate to respond to changing weather conditions.
According to Technē the beer garden has been designed as an urban extension, opening up Acland Street and bringing further activity into the pub with greenery set throughout the new space.
In difference to many recent pub knock-downs, Village Belle has maintained the existing pub structure with the two new additions either side in proportion to the heritage pub.
Village Belle will remain open throughout the duration of the redevelopment.