Fire engulfs abandoned club

Brendan Rees

Police are investigating a fire that tore through a historic building in the CBD during the early hours of May 24.

Emergency services were called to the corner of Lonsdale and King streets following reports fire had engulfed a building at around 12.15am.

More than 50 firefighters fought the blaze, which took 90 minutes to bring under control.

Victoria Police said it was investigating the circumstances surrounding the fire, which had caused major damage to a building believed to be the former Goldfingers strip club, which is housed in the heritage-graded Kilkenny Inn.

The blaze caused traffic chaos as police cordoned off surrounding streets and set up a crime scene.

At the time of publishing, police had not assessed whether the fire was being treated as suspicious as officers were unable to enter the charred remains of the building.

There were also reports of squatters in the building at the time of the fire, but police could not confirm if this was the case.

Fire Rescue Victoria firefighters were on scene for several hours extinguishing hot spots and containing water runoff – with an aerial appliance also on scene.

In May 2021, the City of Melbourne approved a Cox Architecture-designed application for a 20-storey office tower to be built above the three-storey brick Kilkenny Inn, with the plans currently before the Planning Minister for approval.

The development proposed to keep the front portion of the Kilkenny Inn with shops on the ground and first levels, with office levels above.

Anyone with information regarding the fire is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. •

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