MUSIC, drinks and food will be on the menu at the Mentone Hotel again after a compromise deal agreed to include a bar in a redevelopment of the historic building.
The plan to convert the hotel to apartments without a substantial food and drinks offering was set to go to VCAT after a three-and-a-half-year battle by the Save The Edgy community group after the venue was bought from Open Door Pub Co by Momentum Developments in late 2014.
Developer Paul Huggins agreed last week to include a 416-square metre pub on the ground floor of the main building, more than double a previously offered 227 square metre space.
Kingston mayor Cr Steve Staikos welcomed the last-minute compromise that avoided a costly Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing.
Ratepayers would have footed the bill for any council representation at the tribunal.
Council had previously refused a planning permit for the proposal featuring the smaller pub space.
“The Mentone Hotel will now be restored featuring a significant hospitality space to ensure the public can continue to enjoy the beautiful historic building,” Cr Staikos said.
“It’s great news that the developer has agreed to increase the public hospitality area and can now get to work on restoring the building and opening its doors to the community once more.”
The mayor said a planning permit will now be issued for 26 dwellings within the main hotel building and a separate new complex at the 95 Beach Road address.
Apartments will be built in the separate new building complex to be constructed on the site of the hotel’s former car park.
The Edgy’s facade and an internal staircase must be preserved under state heritage laws.
It is understood up to 400 patrons will be able to enjoy music and drinks at the venue between 7am-1am each day of the week under the terms of a new planning permit.
Save The Edgy spokesman Chris Hill thanked Mr Huggins for “being so generous with his time” over the past three years in trying to find a way to include a pub in the development.
“The revised plans will now include 26 dwellings in total, with three fewer apartments within the heritage building in order to make way for the new hospitality space,” Mr Hill said in a Facebook post.
“Given the original plans for a four-storey development on the site would have incorporated 68 dwellings in total, we feel the agreement reached with the owner far better reflects the wishes of our community and will ensure the Mentone Hotel will continue to be an attraction for people far and wide for years to come.”
Mr Hill also thanked Kingston councillors Tamara Barth, David Eden, Georgina Oxley, Steve Staikos and Rosemary West who “have remained steadfast in their support of the community’s campaign to ensure a significant publicly accessible hospitality space is incorporated within the new development”.