Written by Sarah Bella on July 6, 2013
Melbourne could be about to lose another iconic live music venue, with the 2,000-capacity Palace Theatre on Bourke Street in the CBD set to be torn down and replaced with a 5-star luxury hotel.
The theatre, which has played host to bands like Wilco, The Dandy Warhols and Queens Of The Stone Age, was auctioned off in June of last year, purchased by Chinese property investment firm Jinshan Investments. Owner Xuan Xu has now revealed plans to demolish the venue and replace it with the first Australian ‘W Hotel’, which would contain 205 rooms and 145 apartments, and be built over 40,000 square metres.
While the facade of the 3-storey theatre is heritage listed, the interior is not, but plans submitted to the Government by the developers will see the whole lot turned to rubble. The Melbourne Heritage Action group oppose the development, with spokesperson Rohan Storey saying the 1920’s interiors of the building were important to preserve from a heritage standpoint. “But the city of Melbourne can’t or hasn’t protected any interiors yet,” he said.
The National Trust agree, with conservation manager Paul Roser telling The Age that development of nearby Hotel Windsor has set a troubling precedent, saying, “I think in 20 years this precinct could be transformed unless the minister draws a line in the sand.”
The Palace has been operating as a live music venue since 1987, and was previously a theatre and a cinema. You can see an artist’s impression of the development above.
(via Tone Deaf)
Gallery: 10 iconic venues that suffered undignified ends
Phoenician Club in Ultimo: Nirvana played their first Sydney gig there and Sherbert had a residency. 15-year-old Anna Wood died of an ecstasy overdose there in 1995, the public uproar shut its doors forever.
CBGB in New York City: If you don't know this one, take off that damn Ramones shirt. Legendary owner Hilly Kristal was billed $91,000 in back rent to which he pleaded ignorance. After a failed attempt at getting landmark status for the club and moving it to Las Vegas, it shut its doors '06.
The Stage Door Tavern in Sydney: Has had Cold Chisel, the Stranglers and Midnight Oil, with the police once shutting down the latter's gig. Ironically it's now home to the NSW Licensing Court.
Mudd Club in New York City: Host to anybody who was anybody in the 70s, from Lou Reed and Iggy Pop to Madonna, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Talking Heads. Closing in 1983, regulars said "At the end, it was not much fun anymore. I mean, it had just become--kind of like the hangers-on to the hangers-on at the Mudd Club."
The Jade Monkey in Adelaide: One of Adelaide's few music venues was closed to make way for a new hotel. Said management: "Because even though we aren't on the exact spot, it seems that the owners don't want a live music venue next to their shiny new hotel, something I'm sure this city needs.”
The Hacienda in Manchester, England: The place rave culture was born. As depicted in the film 24 Hour Party People, ecstasy meant the punters weren't being fuelled by nightclub-lifeblood, alcohol. With the drugs came the shootings and the club eventually imploded.
The Arthouse in Melbourne: Classic tale of Victorian Liquor Licensing laws requiring them to shut at 1am instead of 3am to avoid labelling as a "high risk" venue. This would mean having roughly one bouncer for every patron in the shack-sized venue.
Trash in London: Birthplace of dance-punk, electroclash and the garage rock revival, it closed in 2007 after 10 years. Founder and resident DJ Erol Alkan had enough of the place and handed the reigns over to Trash associates. Ask some punters and they'll tell you that "until 2000ish it was a bog standard indie club."
The Roxy in London: The home of UK punk, hosting bands like The Clash, Buzzcocks and The Jam, was open for all of 100 days before owners sold it to an East End gangland group. It's now a boutique.
The Warehouse in New York City: Where House music got its name. Owned by Robert Williams and led by legendary DJ Frankie Knuckles, the admission fee doubled in '82 and Knuckles left to start his own club to which punters promptly followed.