Aust Global Investment seeks to breathe new life into Bennetts Lane

Aust Global Investment seeks to breathe new life into Bennetts Lane
Aust Global Investment seeks to breathe new life into Bennetts Lane

Developer Aust Global Investment (AGI) is set to deliver a new hotel within Bennetts Lane, with the boutique project designed via a collaborative partnership between Breathe Architecture and Plus Architecture.

The 14-storey hotel will feature 44 compact but cleverly-designed rooms, inspired by the Art Deco glamour of the former Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, which closed this year to make way for an apartment development. 

Plus Architecture's design for the hotel's exterior will activate Bennetts Lane with a reception and café area on the ground floor spilling out onto the laneway.

Its brick façade will rise five levels with a nine-level glazed structure rising above. A break between the two blocks provides the design with a legible podium and tower identity in addition to areas of greenery.

Two larger penthouse suites on the upper levels which provide guests with long stay accommodation options, have been set back to minimise the hotel’s perceived height while providing additional outdoor spaces.

In line with Breathe’s philosophy to use locally-sourced furnishings, Bennetts Lane will prioritise the use of local fittings and finishes.

Aust Global Investment seeks to breathe new life into Bennetts Lane
The design draws on the qualities of the former Jazz Club. Image: Aust Global Investments

AGI is currently seeking a Melbourne hospitality guru to operate the Bennetts Lane hotel which will also feature a basement speakeasy via an expressions of interest campaign which closes in mid-September.

Breathe and Plus will work closely with the successful operator to ensure their collective vision for the hotel is realised. Early design work suggests a reimagined hotel experience, in contrast to the five-star chains popping up around the city.

According to AGI, its vision to bring a truly unique Melbourne experience to guests was the key driver behind the appointment of local design firms, as well as its pursuit of a local hotel operator.

Construction on the Bennetts Lane hotel is expected to commence in early 2019, and open in mid-2020.

What they say...

Boutique hotel operation is the natural next step for a lot of hospitality providers wanting to take their service and ethos to the next level – and the Bennetts Lane property offers an exceptional opportunity for a local operator to create a true Melbourne experience.

Its initial design draws references from the jazz era, using moody and hard-wearing materials designed to age gracefully and curved forms that reference instruments. A stay at the hotel will feel like going backstage to experience a hidden part of Melbourne.

- Jeremy McLeod, Director Breathe Architecture

The Bennetts Lane hotel will give guests a feel for the real Melbourne, not a generic hotel stay between over-starched bedsheets.

Appointing local designers and finding a local operator who not only understands Melbourne’s laneway culture but can also help curate the hotel’s jazz-inspired theme, are critical elements in delivering the hotel vision.

- Lionel Shi, Founder Aust Global Investment

We really wanted to maintain the integrity of Melbourne’s laneway culture, so have ensured the hotel has a boutique sense of scale while activating Bennetts Lane on the ground planethrough the architectural design.

Bennetts Lane Jazz Club was a key reference and its influence is expressed in the brass, hand-folded features on the ground level façade, which are later referenced within the hotel.

- Ian Briggs, Director Plus Architecture

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.

Bennetts Lane Breathe Architecture Plus Architecture Hotel

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