202 Barkly Street, St Kilda

Client: Aus Venue Co.
Project type: Hospitality & tourism (food & beverage, licensed premise, pub, hotel, heritage)
Stakeholders: City of Port Phillip, local community
Value: $10 million

Image courtesy of Aus Venue Co.

The project
The Village Belle Hotel is an historical building that dates back to the 1850s. Even then, St Kilda was something of an entertainment destination. Even against a tumultuous historical backdrop, the Village Belle remained a consistent figure – an impressive feat, considering the changes happening all around.

The UPco team (then SJB Planning) was engaged in 2007 to assist in gaining approval for a modern refurbishment of the Village Belle. The plan was to increase the floor area with a contemporary glazed addition: a three-level mixed use building that comprised residential units, office space, hotel / gaming spaces and basement parking.

The challenge

The site is located in HO33, which is a heritage overlay that aims to conserve and enhance places of natural or cultural significance, and ensure that development does not adversely affect the significance of heritage places. Of course, all of this was top of mind for the project team, and had to be factored into every decision.

Throughout the process, we worked closely with the owners, the project architects and Council to initially obtain a planning permit for the proposed works, and approval for numerous subsequent amendments. It was not a straightforward process, largely due to the perceived noise issues caused by the retractable roof. This obstacle was overcome by imposing restrictions on when the roof can be opened (along with a lot of acoustic measures used in the construction so that residents and patrons of the Hotel can co-exist).

With heritage projects, unexpected things can also happen to throw a spanner in the works – and with the Village Belle, one such example was the collapse of an historic “Orlando Wines” sign during construction. It turned out that the sign was rusted through and could not be restored, so we had to seek approval from Council for its removal.

The outcome

The final design features a retractable glass roof providing ‘outdoor’ dining in all weathers – and the addition was set at an angle to the historic building along Barkly Street, showcasing the original northern wall of the building.

The Village Belle is a building that withstands the test of time, and still expresses the vibrant spirit of St Kilda – and UPco is proud to now be part of its history.