Melbourne’s creatives need your help to save the Nicholas Building

Melbourne’s creatives need your help to save the Nicholas Building
Ellen Sandell

The Nicholas Building is one of my favourite places in the city. When you walk into the building off busy Swanston St, the cathedral arches make it feel like you’ve stepped into another time.

Exploring the floors above feels a bit like a maze, with every door opening to something new and exciting.

You’ll find jewellers, tailors, art galleries, textile artists, craft workshops, designer clothing stores, photographers, and even a virtual reality art studio. In the hallways and elevators, artists, and creatives chat, ideate, and collaborate.


There truly is nowhere else quite like it.


For more than 40 years this art deco building has offered affordable studios and community to Melbourne’s creatives. It’s currently home to more than 200 artists, creatives, and small businesses. The tenants I’ve spoken to don’t underestimate how special this place is. One tenant described it as feeling “more like home than my home.”

But right now, this community is under threat. The Nicholas Building is up for sale and could fall into the hands of property developers. If it’s turned into apartments, or into a commercial building with astronomical rents, it would push out hundreds of artists and creatives, and we would lose this unique part of Melbourne’s cultural history forever.

The Nicholas Building tenants and the local council have presented a number of ideas to the state government for how they could help save the building and its community. I’ve also called on the Labor Government in Parliament to step in and save this building. But our pleas have gone unanswered.

We’re not giving up. But we need your help.

If you’d like to see this unique heritage building retained as a creative hub, please head to and add your name to the open letter calling on the Victorian Labor Government to step in and #SaveTheNicholasBuilding.

We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save this iconic heritage building from being turned into apartments or a soulless commercial space.

For more on this, or to discuss anything else, please get in touch at [email protected].


Caption: State MP for Melbourne, Ellen Sandell, standing in the foyer of the Nicholas Building in Melbourne’s CBD. Image: Julian Meehan.

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