Waterside Hotel could be transformed into “garden oasis” under new plan

Brendan Rees

The CBD’s historic Waterside Hotel could undergo a major revamp and be extended by four floors with plant-covered balconies under a $27.2 million plan.

The City of Melbourne considered a proposal at its Future Melbourne Committee meeting on February 21, shortly after CBD News published, that seeks to partly demolish and refurbish the historic building that occupies the prominent corner of King and Flinders streets.

Under the plans by Midtown Hustle Pty Ltd, new features would include a new beer garden, a function room, a rooftop bar, a cocktail bar, and landscape terraces billed as a “garden oasis”.

The Waterside Hotel was originally built in 1853 and is considered a well-preserved corner-towered hotel, and thus identified as a “significant” heritage building in the Heritage Places Inventory March 2022.

According to the Techne Architects-designed plans, the makeover would see the existing hotel façade retained and restored.   

Councillors were expected to vote in support of the proposal at 508-514 Flinders St, subject to conditions.

“The development presents a carefully considered and high-quality design response to the Waterside Hotel that will facilitate the conservation and enhancement of the site and maintain its use as a hotel,” a council report said.

The proposal, which lists King Flinders Pty Ltd as its owner, stated a “a number of challenges” are to be addressed at the site, noting the original layout “does not provide the required area to house and service the hotel’s licensed patron capacity”.

“The site is also restricted by narrow travel paths horizontally and vertically and limited basement access, patron access and access to back of house facilities,” it said.

The new shape of the building would be a “tiered and organic shape” which would “support abundant landscaping to create a verdant, multi-level oasis with each floor being visually connected and offering a different experience within the hotel,” the application said.

Two objections were submitted to the council: one from Melbourne Water raising concerns about potential flood risks, and the other citing concerns about a potential loss of views and daylight.

The application lists the client as Sandy Hill Road, a Melbourne hospitality group, which sold The Hotel Esplanade in St Kilda for $69 million in December. •


Caption: Artist’s impression of the revamped Waterside Hotel on Flinders St.

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