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Forum Theatre Melbourne Reveals Redevelopment Plans

Melbourne’s hallowed Forum Theatre, located on Flinders St in the heart of the city’s CBD, one of few remaining large-size music venues in the city, is set to undergo refurbishment as part of a $70 million development bid, which will also see a 32-storey building complex erected behind the venue.

As The Sunday Age reports, the Marriner family, who own the Forum, as well as Melbourne venues the Regent, and the Comedy and Princess theatres, have sought permission from the Victorian government to overhaul the National Trust-listed establishment, which opened in 1929.

The plan is being put forth with a view to securing the future of the venue and will involve a full renovation of the interior and exterior of the Gothic-Romanesque building, including repairing of its iconic clock tower, replacing the original roof sign, and repairing the adorning copper domes.

The proposed 32-storey boutique hotel and office complex is planned for an empty building formerly used by the Melbourne Theatre Company. “The new building is designed to respect the Forum and will provide a curtain backdrop wall framing that building,” Bill Kusznirczuk of Clement-Stone Town Planners, who filed the planning application on behalf of the owners, told The Age.

But as the newspaper reports, the plans are likely to face scrutiny from heritage protection advocates, on the prowl following a series of proposals targeting landmark buildings in the CBD with redevelopment plans that violate height restrictions, as the Forum refurbishment would.

“Anything that restores the Forum Theatre is great because it needs a lot of work and it will cost a lot of money,” said Melbourne Heritage Action president Tristan Davies. “But we’d be concerned that the proposed height of the new building would overwhelm the heritage streetscape…” The decision on the future of the Melbourne venue now lies with Planning Minister Matthew Guy.

(Via The Age)

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