Festival Hall is for sale – a year after the Heritage Council granted the iconic live music venue protection.
The sale is being handled by Colliers International via expression of interest, which was due to close on November 28. The hall is one of three parcels being offered either separately or together.
Colliers said buyers had two options to earn a return on their investment – as a live entertainment venue or as a mixed-use urban renewal development.
Advertising material says: “Festival Hall enables a new owner to continue operating the iconic live entertainment venue. The niche asset may accommodate up to 5400 patrons making it the largest, privately-owned stadium in Melbourne.”
Under the mixed-use heading, the agent says: “The prime city fringe location, large underlying land area, extensive street frontages and flexible zoning enables a variety of exciting future potential uses to be explored (STCA).”
In January, 2018 the hall’s owners revealed plans to demolish most of the building and sell the site to a developer with permission for two 16-storey buildings. They said the venue was no longer financially viable due to overwhelming competition from larger stadia.
But the news provoked an outcry from nostalgic music fans who lobbied for heritage protection. In May 2018, Heritage Victoria recommended the building be added to the Heritage Register – a request that was successful in November last year.
Commenting on the heritage listing at the time, Planning Minister Richard Wynne, was reported by the ABC as saying the listing did not stop redevelopment, but did restrict it.
“Important elements of Festival Hall will have to be retained, including the facade, the box offices, the tiered seating, and the developer will need to work with the Heritage Council to ensure that any future development of the site respects the rich heritage of Festival Hall,” Mr Wynne was reported saying.
“It means that it can be redeveloped, but it has to respect the heritage of what is one of the most iconic buildings in Melbourne.”