Shamrock apartment plans being drawn

UNDECIDED: Jim Hogan

UNDECIDED: Jim Hogan

RELATED: 

Shamrock could be subdivided

Hogan: Public not opposed to poker machines

Council to determine legality of machines

HOTEL Shamrock owner Jim Hogan says he has consulted an architect about his apartment block idea and a blueprint is now being drawn.

Mr Hogan made waves on Wednesday when he said he was considering converting the historic Hotel Shamrock into an apartment block.

The hotel has been a prominent social venue in Bendigo since 1854.

"In Melbourne plenty of old hotels have been closed and turned into apartment blocks," Mr Hogan said.

But Mr Hogan also said that subdividing the building and selling it off to private buyers was not his preferred option.

He said he would rather go ahead with his original plan of developing nine new 5-star accommodation rooms in the hotel, which would cost $4 million.

Plenty of old hotels have been closed and turned into apartments. - Jim Hogan

Mr Hogan's potential change of heart comes after the City of Greater Bendigo said it would be challenging the legality of Mr Hogan's request to install 20 extra poker machines in the venue.

Mr Hogan said that the 20 extra machines would enable him to save $200,000 in taxes per year, which he would use to help pay for the original plan. 

He said that he didn't want to spend money fighting the council through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal over his poker machine request, which is why he was considering the apartment block idea.

He said that while he would still have to adhere to and apply for a council permit to convert the building into private units, he thought this would be quicker and easier than challenging the council at VCAT.

"You hit a hurdle and you have to move on," he said.

"It would be a pity to see the hotel close but that happens every day of the week."

But City of Greater Bendigo director of planning and development Prue Mansfield said the council believed that installing 20 extra poker machines at the hotel was against the law.

She said that if that was the case the council could not legally issue the hotel with a permit and that the matter had to be addressed by VCAT.

"At the moment we believe it is illegal for us to approve the poker machines: we would be breaking the law if we did so," she said.

Regarding Mr Hogan's idea of converting the hotel into an apartment, she said: "Mr Hogan is entitled to think about developing his property as he wishes."

"Our decisions will be made in accordance with the planning scheme and he also has to meet the Heritage Victoria requirements.”

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