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Melbourne's loss

It's been a sad few weeks for inner Melbourne dwellers as the retail and entertainment icons of the city start to tumble.

First the guy who ran Job Warehouse (that fabric shop next to Pellegrinis) died in June aged 91. He gets a great write up in The Monthly magazine.

Then in the space of a few days we lose the Lumiere cinema, Gaslight Records, and hear news that Coles Myer may sell off its department stores.

The city's retail mix seems to be not quite so mixed anymore. We're gaining a lot of expensive shops selling badly made clothes, gaining a lot more places to get tanked - on alcohol and juice, and gaining a lot of discount CD shops. We're also losing one off shops in favour of well-lit generic chain stores with bad service. Oh well.

Some articles:
Gaslight snuffed:
http://theage.com.au/articles/2005/07/16/1121455934490.html

Lumiere turned off:
http://www.theage.com.au/news/film/that-was-then-this-is-now/2005/08/18/1123958176330.html

The Age is excited:
http://www.theage.com.au/news/National/Our-revived-urban-heart-has-new-beat/2005/06/15/1118645872262.html

Comments

  • edited January 1970
    sad.

    A trip to Gaslight, along with "Fast Eddies" on Bourke Street was once a highlight of visiting Melbourne for me.

    It is good to see the city experiencing a revival of sorts though. A lot of this is due to a revitalised Swanston Street walk (although I would like to see cars banned from it altogether), and QV and MElbourne Central are drawing shoppers and inner-city residents further north toward RMIT.

    However the sight of Starbucks on every second corner sends a shiver up my spine and nearly makes me sick.
  • edited January 1970
    The Lumiere's exit makes a bit of sense now that I've read a Hoyts 11 screen is about to open at Melbourne Central - it opening was delayed when its facade caught fire a few months back.

    The Age wrote on the 20th that many other cinemas are feeling the pinch, to the extent that celeb Cate Blanchett is trying to save Sydney's Chauvel cinema.
    "...the rate of closure has been terrifying - what will be an audience's option in the future? A private screening room? How many can afford this? Or to simply be content to view only standard multiplex fare?"
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/film/last-to-leave/2005/08/20/1124435176060.html

    The Melbourne Central Hoyts, with its gee whizz bean bag cinemas, is according to the H'un, "replacing the Bourke St Hoyts complex".
    http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,16459591%5E2902,00.html

    After that goes, next one up for conversion to a $2 emporium is Village Bourke St. And how long after that will it take for the glorious Russell St Greater Union to realise it's at the wrong end of town. As the Village Bourke St manager said (somewhere... I will have to paraphrase), 'Bourke Street is not where it's at anymore.'

    So where does that leave Bourke Street?
  • edited January 1970
    And the owners of the Village Centre are looking at replacing the cinemas with a K-Mart.As the Russell cinemas are a great example of lateBrutalism in all its bloated glory and the Hoyts ciemas in Bourke Street are Peter Muller's largest piece of Wright-influenced work, we should be vigilant about their future particularly if it means a lack of a future.
  • edited January 1970
    Yes, and now I learn that another institution the classic art-deco Astor theatre http://www.astor-theatre.com/ on the famous Chapel Street will most likely close it's doors ...
    The owner is losing money and has decided to sell the business.

    This is heartbreaking for St Kilda, as the Astor is one of few remaining cinemas from the art-deco era still operating. :cry:

    Because it plays mostly arty movies that are released around 6 months after the commercial cinemas, like many city cinemas it probably suffers from competition with home theatre and DVD. These days, with low takings at the box office, the old theatre relies on bookings for functions to survive.

    This is a real shame as the screen is one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere and the atmosphere of the place is thoroughly engaging. For many St Kilda residents, the Astor programme is a permanent fixture on their fridges or walls and one of the features of living in the suburb.

    There is a slim chance that a new owner might decide to keep the cinema open - although unlikely.

    There is also a slim chance that this news will get people visiting the cinema again and make it profitable in the short-term, although long-term, this sort of sentimental response may not keep the cinema open.

    For anyone who hasn't yet experienced the Astor, or who would like to see it again, 2001 - A Space Odessy is screening at the moment. experienced the Astor
  • edited January 1970
    Oh no that's the straw that will break this camel's back.
  • edited January 1970
    .................combined with the death of Maxwell Smart. Lobotomise me and send me to Sydney.
  • edited January 1970
    If you go to the Astor web page link that you provided you will learn it is not closing. Relax
  • edited January 1970
    The now closed Hoyts in Bourke Street (Peter Muller designed) has had hoardings up downstairs for many months. I've just noticed that the first floor facade is now covered in core-hole pockmarks, signalling that they are about to bust through some penetrations. Any one have a clue what is going on here? I will try to get some pics of the current frontage.

    For views in better days, see Peter Willie's collection at the State Library website:
    http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/pictoria/inter/67951.shtml

    For pics of the original sketch and model, have a look on Peter Muller International's website.
    http://www.petermuller.org/

    This site is also worth a look for its "Disowned Projects" section. Why has no one else thought of that.

    =========
    Later:
    I found a render of what's coming on the developers website (www.drapac.com.au). It's pretty bland - and cream-coloured... and suggests that the gutsy orange panelled entrance to the office might be temporary.

    hoyts_bourke.jpg
  • edited January 1970
    peter wrote:
    The now closed Hoyts in Bourke Street (Peter Muller designed) has had hoardings up downstairs for many months. I've just noticed that the first floor facade is now covered in core-hole pockmarks, signalling that they are about to bust through some penetrations. Any one have a clue what is going on here? I will try to get some pics of the current frontage.

    For views in better days, see Peter Willie's collection at the State Library website:
    http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/pictoria/inter/67951.shtml

    For pics of the original sketch and model, have a look on Peter Muller International's website.
    http://www.petermuller.org/

    This site is also worth a look for its "Disowned Projects" section. Why has no one else thought of that.

    =========
    Later:
    I found a render of what's coming on the developers website (www.drapac.com.au). It's pretty bland - and cream-coloured... and suggests that the gutsy orange panelled entrance to the office might be temporary.

    hoyts_bourke.jpg

    Yes, I noticed this.

    Not quite sure what to make of that building. Not sure I'd miss it if it was gone.

    In some respects it is innovative and quirky with its 70s retro theme. I can see its value from an architectural perspective. Other times I think it is a modern eyesore.

    I guess it is the fact that it makes no attempt to blend in with the neighbouring streetscape which gets me.
  • edited January 1970
    Relating to those earlier posts, The Astor Cinema has been sold. After being passed in at auction, it was purchased by the local anglican school, St Michaels, for $3.8M. They will use it as a school hall during the day, allowing it to stay as a cinema at night.

    Clever thinking - though wonder what will happen to the film selections, with an anglican school owning the place...

    THE AGE 07.12.07
  • edited January 1970
    Given that the anglican diocese of Melbourne is going to allow women bishops, already allows women and gay priests and fights pretty hard for refugee rights, i don't think you need to worry about film selections.
    Now if the cinema was in Sydney and Jensen had any say in the matter, ...
  • edited August 2008
    Sean, it's been a long wait, and you may have heard already, but Starbucks will not be on "every second corner" for long.
    "We believe that this difficult, yet necessary, decision to close stores in Australia will help support the continued growth of our international business. There are no other international markets that need to be addressed in this manner.''
    According to Bloomberg, "coffee in Australia has developed an almost cult-like following, particularly in Melbourne - a city of trams, sidewalk cafes and European-style architecture... Coffee lovers in Melbourne, Victoria's capital city, typically patronize smaller, boutique-style coffee shops wedged into narrow shop fronts and the city's many lanes. Locals offer advice on the "best coffee,'' with many traveling out of their way for a favoured cup."
    Not sure why that couldn't figure that out a few years ago... Starbucks are in the process of closing three quarters of their Australian stores.
    www.bloomberg.com 29.07.08
    www.theage.com.au/national/hundreds-of-jobs-lost-as-starbucks-shuts-61-shops-20080729-3mvb.html
  • edited 1:38PM
    The Age has an article on the buildings interior refurbishment by SJB Interiors, in which Muller is interviewed:

    "'The [original] brief was to build an office building and three theatres in such a way that if the theatres were empty and the office space fully rented, it would be enough to make the development viable,'' Muller says.

    He then asks what happened to the, "fabulous blue gum chandelier hanging in the lobby?''

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/property/new-fitout-for-heroic-building-20111213-1ot0y.html
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