Hotel Plans Revealed for Melbourne Gothic Church


Melbourne-based developer Tim Gurner has stepped up his push into the hotel sector, lodging plans for his second boutique hotel in inner-Melbourne.

In his latest buy, the developer has acquired an historic former bluestone church and former Sunday school hall site at 145-151 High Street in Prahran.

The sites, acquired off-market for a undisclosed amount, are of varying heritage significance.

The combined site will be used by Gurner to deliver its second private residences and club concept hotel—Club Maison.

The first, announced in January, will be located on the site of St Kilda’s Cushion Lounge at 99 Fitzroy Street, adjacent to the developer’s $550 million Saint Moritz project. Combined the projects will cost upwards of $80 million to construct.

Gurner said each hotel, designed by Warren and Mahoney, would feature its own private rooftop club, infinity pool, outdoor kitchen and dining spaces.

“We know there is a major boom coming and we want to ensure we are ready for it,” Gurner said.

“Being so close to Prahran’s vibrant Chapel Street precinct and amenities like Fawkner Park, St Kilda Road and the CBD, this site is the ideal location for both a residential component and our new Club Maison accommodation concept.

“It is no secret I am drawn to heritage sites especially where we can integrate the heritage components into our projects and bring these incredible buildings back to life.”

Warren and Mahoney principal Nick Deans said the geometry of the gothic design had strongly informed the firm’s design for the residences, which take on a more contemporary feel with scalloped balconies and arched windows.

Pending approvals, construction on-site is expected to kick off this year.

Once complete the project, which is a joint venture partnership with the existing landowner, will add $40 million to the developer’s growing pipeline of clubs, hotel and short-stay accommodation developments.

Earlier this year Gurner said upwards of 15 new sites would be sourced to build out its varying pipeline of different asset classes while aiming to acquire between 15 and 20 new sites specifically for its Club Maison concept.

The developer’s revised long-term strategy has been on full view over recent months following a difficult year for the property industry in Melbourne which was plunged into a fourth month imposed lockdown.

At the height of the lockdown Gurner was in the middle of completing two major projects—his Albert Place Residences in South Melbourne and Hawksburn Place Residences in Toorak.

Since then, the developer has unveiled plans to pair 16 apartments with an 18-key boutique hotel within a $60 million project just north of Cairns in Port Douglas.

Gurner has also made inroads into the fast-emerging build-to-rent asset class, partnering with finance house Qualitas to launch a $1 billion build-to-rent development fund.

The fund has plans to start work this year on three Melbourne projects comprising more than 1100 units, with the locations of other secured sites set to be revealed at a later date.

Gurner also recently kicked off construction of a mixed-use hotel and apartment project in Collingwood after securing a $55 million loan from ANZ Bank.


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