Planning Minister Richard Wynne has denied a fourth application for extension on the Windsor Hotel development.
The hotel’s owner, The Halim Group, who had proposed to demolish sections of the building’s rear and build a 26 story luxury hotel, had requested until 2023 to complete works, which would have resulted in a 13-year project.
Approval for the project was originally granted in 2010, although no finance has been secured for the $330 million project in the decade since.
Mr Wynne said “if the same application for development was brought to me today, I would have to reject it immediately – planning rules and community expectations have changed.”
Strict height controls along Spring, Bourke and Lonsdale Streets have been put in place to protect the Bourke Hill precinct, which includes Parliament House and the Old Treasury Building.
The proposed hotel is 92 metres high, nearly 52 metres higher than Spring Street’s current 25 metre restriction, and Windsor Place’s 40 metre limit.
Mr Wynne said “The Windsor Hotel is a Melbourne icon and we’re protecting it – and the unique character of the Bourke Hill precinct.”
The Halim Group hotel director Adi Halim issued a statement saying “it is an opportunity lost for the Hotel Windsor and for Melbourne. We are determined to keep the hotel and work with Heritage Victoria to try to find an alternative solution.”
The Windsor Hotel was built in 1883, is protected by a heritage overlay and is also listed on the Victoria heritage register.
It is understood The Halim Group is unlikely to challenge Mr Wynne’s decision.
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