Development plans for Beehive Building, former Bendigo Mining Exchange, two weeks away

Exciting plans to redevelop the Beehive building are finally afoot, with the glum stretch of Allan’s Walk also set to be revamped into function and dining spaces.

Developers Pall Mall Nominees are two weeks away from submitting plans with the City of Greater Bendigo to rejuvenate the historic building, originally used as the Bendigo Mining Exchange.

“In a perfect world we'd be starting sometime in March,” Pall Mall Nominees director Graham McMahon said on Friday.

“The plan is to restore it to it’s former glory.”

Plans include reopening Allan’s Walk between Hargreaves Mall and Pall Mall, creating a number of function spaces on the first floor, and having an open space on the ground floor which could be used by an anchor tenant in the hospitality industry.

The developers said casual dining would be the preferred tenant downstairs, but the company would consider all options.

The Beehive building pictured in 2014.

The Beehive building pictured in 2014.

Pall Mall Nominees would hopefully take four months to refurbish the “shell” of the property at a cost of around $1 million, Mr McMahon said, before handing the project over to a lessee who would fit out the area.

The festive period in 2018 has been targeted as a potential reopening of building, which is almost 150 years old, but as Mr McMahon suggested, there was plenty of hurdles to jump before that stage.

The site was bought by Pall Mall Nominees from the City of Greater Bendigo in 2015.

The council purchased the building in 1999 with the assistance of a state government grant, taking on a stewardship role to repair the building to make it attractive to potential buyers, and spent $1 million on repair works on the building over the course of 15 years.

The development will compliment plans for a CBD area which was the subject of a draft action plan by Bendigo council this week.

A raft of council-led proposals to rejuvenate Hargreaves Mall and central Bendigo were presented at a meeting on Wednesday.

Ideas to improve the precinct included installing a pop up park to create more shade and colour in the mall and using the shopping strip for more markets.

Other short-term options include working with Myer to rejuvenate its store and developing an investment prospectus with landlords to improve take-up rates of vacant shops.

Long-term considerations were improving toilet facilities, connecting existing laneways around the city centre to create more character and places to hold events and supporting the building owners to restore heritage façades.

“Whatever we do will compliment whatever happens in the mall,” Mr McMahon said.