Last week Victorian State representative body Music Victoria outlined a vision for the future of the state’s music industry. The paper “Music Victoria – Positions and Priorities” includes 19 recommendations that form a vision for the industry for the next four years. Among these recommendations, which included recognising Melbourne as a UNESCO City of Music, was the proposal to ‘Establish a Contemporary Music Centre with an interactive Hall of Fame’.
With the announcement of termination of operations as an entertainment venue by The Palace Theatre operators in a media release this week, the beloved Melbourne nightclub will be vacated and potentially left empty indefinitely due to lengthy planning application processes.
The owners; Jinshan Investments denied an extension of the lease of the building despite the business’s clear desire to remain operating within the building. At a meeting with the Melbourne City Council back in October a spokesperson for Jinshan Investments indicated that they were ‘not aware of what the operators’ intentions’ were.
The developer has outlined, in their application to build a high-rise hotel complex, that the site remains inactive during normal business hours and that the top end of Bourke Street requires some revitalisation. They believe that their hotel development will bring this rejuvenation to the site. However forecasting how successful this might be cannot be accurately determined.
We do know however that the level of activity that the Palace Theatre already brings to Bourke Street at night is significant, and the flow on benefits to surrounding businesses is nothing less than substantial. So now all that is required is for a similar level of activity to be replicated during daylight hours.
The Save the Palace Committee has this week been pushing to get the State Government to seek Mandatory Acquisition of the Palace Theatre. At the Future Melbourne Committee meeting this week, when confronted with the question, Councillor Stephen Mayne (Finance and Governance portfolio, Planning portfolio) identified that the Melbournce City Council “owns 50% of the Regent Theatre” but went on to state that “we don’t have the aspiration to buy any others”.
Perhaps, in a bid to make the idea of Mandatory Acquisition more desirable, the Government might consider reviewing the request in conjunction to Music Victoria’s guidelines for the future of Victoria’s music scene. Perhaps the Government might buy the Palace and incorporate an interactive Hall of Fame into the premises. Doing this may well address all of these issues and breathe new life into the building and to the top end of Bourke Street; all whilst saving the Palace Theatre as a music venue.
“Whilst we and our supporters want the Palace to continue on in the same manner as it has for the last eight years, I have to admit that the location is perfect. [It’s] just a stone’s throw away from Melbourne’s museum precinct and the old Melbourne Gaol. The Palace Theatre has a vibrant history and its contribution to Victoria’s music industry is indisputable. I could not imagine a better place for a music museum in Melbourne, and the opportunity to keep this venue operating as an entertainment venue should not be passed” Michael Raymond (Chairman of the Save the Palace Committee).
If the State Government agrees to acquire the building, as it has previously done with entertainment venues, The Regent and Forum Theatres, The Palace may continue to run as one of Melbourne’s premier nightlife destinations. Furthermore, this opportunity may well see the Palace Theatre’s image elevated to a global benchmark alongside institutions such as Ministry of Sound (London, UK) and Café Del Mar (Ibiza, Spain).
If you think the Palace Theatre would make a fine addition to the State’s already impressive cultural assets portfolio be sure to share this article and send an email to those men and women whom hold the power to preserve our cultural heritage and music industry.
Send them the message http://savethepalace.com/?page_id=652
For more details on Music Victoria’s ‘Positions and Priorities’ visit:
For all the goss from this week’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting, head to: