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Plan to transform ‘atrocious’ Bourke Street eyesore into a food and arts hub

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Article image for Plan to transform ‘atrocious’ Bourke Street eyesore into a food and arts hub

Image: Google Maps

The fate of an eyesore in Melbourne’s CBD will be decided tonight, with an ambitious redevelopment plan hinging on the City of Melbourne granting a late-night licence to the site.

The Job Warehouse building, at the top end of Bourke Street, beside Pellegrini’s, has sat dilapidated and untouched for two decades.

But the building, which is the third oldest in Melbourne, has the same heritage listing as the Sydney Opera House.

Now, there’s a push to breathe life back into the historic site, with a $20 million redevelopment plan that would see restaurants, bars and an art gallery set up in the building.

Michael O’Brien, group chief executive of The O’Brien Group, which hopes to transform the building, says the building is “in an atrocious state”.

“It’s mindboggling and I think it’s been a blight on the city. I mean, it’s the heart of our theatre district,” he told Stephen Quartermain and Tony Leonard, filling in for Ross and Russel.

But the developer’s bid to revitalise the derelict building hinges on the City of Melbourne granting a 3am licence for the venue.

“Hopefully tonight at the council meeting, commonsense prevails,” Mr O’Brien said.

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