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“Business As Usual” At Prince Of Wales, Despite Building Sale

Written by Nastassia Baroni on February 20, 2015

The Prince Of Wales Hotel, the four-storey St Kilda building which houses loved Melbourne live music venue the Prince Bandroom, has been sold, reportedly to Chinese developers, but according to venue operators and music industry bodies the sale of the building doesn’t signal bad news for live music fans.

According to The Age, the property in Fitzroy Street has been sold to Chinese developers Pub Li City Pty Ltd for a price believed to be $45 million. Cassie Walker, the booking agent for The Prince Bandroom, says the sale of the property won’t affect operations at the live music venue, and assures that it is “business as usual” at the Bandroom.

Walker says there will be no changes to the running of the Prince Bandroom as the current tenants of The Prince Hotel, The Melbourne Pub Group, have a lease over the building until at least 2021. In fact Walker sees the sale as a positive sign, hoping it might inject “new money” into the business that will trickle down into the operation of The Bandroom.

This sentiment has been echoed by industry body Music Victoria, who took to Twitter today to express their views that The Bandroom, “will continue to be a thriving music venue despite the sale of St Kilda’s Prince Of Wales for $45mill this morning.”

“St Kilda is the most famous live music suburb in Australia, and despite the sale yesterday of the Prince of Wales, it’s in pretty good shape,” they continued in a statement on their Facebook page.

“While a lot of young bands had moved to Melbourne’s northern suburbs – recent APRA figures confirmed that Brunswick is the singer-songwriter capital of Australia – but St Kilda still came in at number 10.

“The current tenants have a lease over the Prince bandroom until the end of 2021, so hopefully it will continue to be a thriving venue for years to come. The Palais has been saved, the Esplanade is still putting on regular live music, and highly regarded venue owners and programmers Peter Foley and Richard Mitchell have confirmed today that they will be booking MEMO Music Hall in Acland Street.”

While the Bandroom, the hotel and the bar have a secure long-term lease, according to The Age, the lease on the 7000-square-metre Prince Car Park expires next month, meaning it is possible a multi-story apartment block could be developed on the adjacent site.

The Prince of Wales property was first placed on the market in October 2014 by private investor John Van Haandel. The 5802 square-metre property was listed as a “tenanted investment” which means there are existing leases that new owners will have to honour.

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