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PostPosted: 26 May 2012, 11:32 
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After more than 294 objectors, an appeal to VCAT and 2.5 years of work to get a planning permit to develop The Argo Hotel (formerly Sheppard's Hotel) into apartments, The Argo at 62 - 74 Argo Street South Yarra is for sale by Expression of Interest closing 15 June 2012.

If the local residents are really lucky maybe a developer will purchase the property and want to alter the planning permit so the lobbying can start all over again. Better yet, if the 294 objectors come up with $17,000 each they will have the $5m needed to purchased the hotel as is.

The permit is for partial demolition of The Argo in order to build 39 apartments and 39 onsite car parks over 3-storeys and a basement. The estimated construction cost is $9m.

Attachment:
File comment: The front & rear of The Argo May 2012
The Argo render May 2012.JPG
The Argo render May 2012.JPG [ 87.03 KiB | Viewed 6837 times ]


The Argo Hotel was described by Bryce Raworth in the April 2010 Heritage Assessment as follows:

Quote:
A hotel, known as Sheppard’s after its first licensee Thomas Sheppard, was erected on the corner of Argo and Hyland streets c.1866. It was one of two hotels on Argo Street owned by Gustav (or Gustaf) Wilson. The other was the Freemason’s Tavern which was later renamed the Early Bird before closing down in 1883.

Gustav Wilson was associated with Sheppard’s Hotel for many years and become the licensee in 1880. The following year, architect George Wharton advertised for tenders for additions to the hotel, although the extent of the works is not described in any detail.

The earliest known image of the hotel is an MMBW detail plan dating from c1896. It shows the hotel extending across almost two-thirds of the Argo Street frontage, making it slightly wider than the present hotel building. The MMBW plan also shows a small fenced garden at the north-west corner of the hotel and an ad-hoc arrangement of asphalt and brick paved rear yards with stables on the southern boundary accessed via Hyland Street.

Gustav Wilson died at Sheppard’s Hotel on the 24 August 1913 at the age of 72. The hotel license was transferred to his wife Ellen, continuing the Wilson family’s long association with the hotel.

In 1927, plans were submitted to the Licensing Court for the rebuilding of Sheppard’s Hotel, as reported in the Argus of 25 January of that year: Licensing Inspector Bourke said that the plans appeared very satisfactory, and that Mr. G. J. Sutherland, architect, said that the work of alteration would cost £4,000.

Sheppard’s was one of many Victorian era hotels to undergo extensive alterations and additions in the 1920 and 1930s. These improvements were usually made because publicans were anxious to retain their licences by meeting the requirements of the Liquor Licenses Reduction Board.

The improvements to Sheppard’s hotel are reflected in the City of Prahran Rate books for 1927, which show an increase in the net annual value from £280 to £400, although it is not clear if the works involved the total demolition of the original building. Gustav Wilson’s daughters Ethel and Jessie Wilson are listed in rate books as the hotel’s publicans during this period.

Sheppard’s Hotel is described by Betty Malone as one of the first Prahran hotels to be ‘modernised’ in the post war period. The exact nature of these works is not noted although it presumably relates to refurbishing of the interior. More substantial works took place c1974 when MMBW property service plans show additions being made to the rear of the building.

Sheppard’s Hotel was renamed the New Argo Inn around the same time and operated as a live music venue, although the hotel’s location in a residential street restricted bands to playing on a Saturday afternoon. More recently, the hotel has functioned as a fine dining restaurant.


Attachment:
Sheppards Hotel 1962.jpg
Sheppards Hotel 1962.jpg [ 39.56 KiB | Viewed 6837 times ]


Attachment:
File comment: Aerial of The Argo May 2012
Sheppard's Hotel aerial.jpg
Sheppard's Hotel aerial.jpg [ 84.85 KiB | Viewed 6837 times ]


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PostPosted: 26 May 2012, 15:37 
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Obviously I do not know the full story with this so please correct me, but the pictures of the propopsed development uploaded seem to show a relatively sympathetic development that preserved the original building's facade and height wise seemed ok.

Architecturally the building seems a pretty standard 1920s/30s facade, sweet but many better have been reduced to rubble.

I think that compared to many developments currently occuring this one would have been better than many from a heritage preservation perspective.

Why were the residents so against it I wonder?

They may get worse if a developer starts from scratch! Lets hope not a suburban sky scraper.


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PostPosted: 26 May 2012, 23:11 
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I don't see what the fuss would have been about, I personally like it.
As Historybuff leaned towards, the outcome could have been much worse...

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PostPosted: 26 May 2012, 23:51 
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From reading the VCAT decision it appears the fuss was over the original plans to demolish the Argo Hotel which has a Heritage Overlay and construct a four-storey apartment block.

Isn't that what most members of this forum want - a council that puts the appropriate amount of value on heritage listed or heritage overlay properties. If we start saying that this or that property isn't a high enough priority to save eventhough it has a Heritage Overlay then where do we draw the line?

On going to VCAT the plans were changed to retain the two-storey section of the hotel, and construct a three-storey building to the rear and side of the hotel building. The three-storey building isn't visible in the render picture hence making the development look smaller than it will actually be.

Most neighbouring properties are single level Victorian cottages with no on-site carparking on narrow streets and the proposed four-storey apartment block had the usual issues of unacceptable set-back, mass, impact on local amenities and overshadowing.

Although the decision by VCAT to grant the permit was made on 5 May 2011, the final amendment to the planning permit was issued by Stonnington Council in April 2012 and 3 weeks later the property was put on the market.


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PostPosted: 27 May 2012, 11:14 
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Edwardian wrote:
From reading the VCAT decision it appears the fuss was over the original plans to demolish the Argo Hotel which has a Heritage Overlay and construct a four-storey apartment block.

Isn't that what most members of this forum want - a council that puts the appropriate amount of value on heritage listed or heritage overlay properties. If we start saying that this or that property isn't a high enough priority to save eventhough it has a Heritage Overlay then where do we draw the line?


I agree, the point of heritage overlays is not to just preserve a handful of the best buildings in Melbourne, but to protect a range of buildings, to protect streetscapes and to protect height limits (and as we have seen in the CBD it doesn't even protect the best ones such as the windsor). I don't know much about this one but too often I see developments touted as sympathetic because they just retain the facade of buildings, vanishing into a bland new development. Sure there is a call for more places for people to live and a need for sympathetic higher density living in inner suburbs, but developers are rarely motivated by these goals and much more motivated by profit.

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PostPosted: 27 May 2012, 11:18 
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Ok, it is clearer now - they wanted the Argo to go originally. That was a great fight to win by the locals.

What seems to be happening alot I have noticed is that a person or group with the necessary planning expertise buys a development site, does the plans and manages the planning process. The minute it is approved they sells with "approved plans."

But at least the approved plans are better than the original ones, ie Argo now to stay.

I must admitt when I see the developments occuring around West Melbourne, North Melbourne and Footscray - this development does appear 'sympathetic' by comparison.


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