The Windsor Warrants More Time
The Windsor Hotel has been an intrinsic part of Melbourne’s landscape for more than 125 years. Her history is a direct account of Melbourne’s development as a city.
Melbourne has continued to grow and prosper as a destination in recent years because of sustained investment in the building and construction of new accommodation. This new supply has helped Melbourne remain competitive nationally and internationally while other capital cities have stagnated.
Destination Melbourne has consistently advocated on behalf of the Hotel Windsor redevelopment since it was first mooted in early 2010. Nothing has occurred within State Government to give us reason to change our position.
As Melbourne rediscovers its vibrancy as a global city, it is critical we support businesses who take a mature and visionary approach to redeveloping key buildings in Melbourne’s landscape.
Melburnians love the Windsor Hotel. Is it responsible to stand by and watch one of the buildings that epitomise our beautiful city fall into disrepair after all the Planning and Heritage Approvals have been met?
The clearly stated aims of the owners are to restore the grand old lady to her former glory while ensuring the infrastructure is capable of meeting the demands of people wanting a five star luxury experience.
Is this unreasonable? Would the original architects and owners who built the Windsor 125 years ago with a grand vision have objected to an extension that will see the hotel in good stead for many years to come?
The Building permits were issued in late 2010, but the owners have delayed the planned redevelopment because the Heritage Permits were not provided until January 2012. The pressure to commence building works by November 4, 2012 will compromise the very reputation on which the Hotel Windsor trades.
The direct impact on visitors who have booked one of the 8000 room nights and the 100 families that are looking forward to celebrating weddings at the Windsor in the coming months has been well documented in recent media.
Forcing the owners to cancel this business will damage more than cash flow. This will negatively impact on Melbourne’s reputation as a city that welcomes visitors and investment.
Tourism in Melbourne contributes over $10billion in economic activity and employs more than 100,000 people. Our reputation as an outstanding destination is built on the commitment to making people feel welcome and looking after residents and visitors alike.
In preserving the past we have to be prepared to embrace the future. The owners of the Windsor care deeply about Melbourne. We should give them every opportunity to make good on their promise to restore the Windsor. This grand hotel should be a landmark that celebrates Melbourne’s sustained prosperity and vision, rather than a sad testament to the past.
As an industry it is critical that we unite behind the owners of the Windsor and support their reasonable request that the Building Permit for the renewal of the Windsor Hotel is extended for 12 – 18 months.
The full VCAT Hearing is on August 6.