HERITAGE Victoria has approved plans for a new hotel on part of the former Beehive complex.
The plan is yet to be signed off by the City of Greater Bendigo, but Heritage Victoria's endorsement is a major step forward for developers at the Hargreaves Mall site.
Bendigo Hotel Investments hopes to build a 4.5 star, six-storey hotel in the spot Thomas Jewellers once traded from.
They want to knock down parts of the first and ground floors of the existing building, which their heritage advisors believe do not hark back to the building's original use as a shopping complex.
Heritage Victoria has asked developers to keep a wall fronting Mitchell Lane.
It is believed to be among the few remaining heritage features and was one developers had hoped to keep anyway.
Heritage Victoria also wants a conservation strategy prepared for the salt-damaged wall, including repointing and desalination.
It has given permission for developers to remove bricks from the wall for openings like windows and doors.
That work must be done "carefully" and by hand, Heritage Victoria has ruled, "so that they can be used in the bricking up of the other openings in the same location".
Heritage Victoria wants an archaeology management plan for the entire site, including an evaluation of the land's place in history and its potential to contain historical items.
Developers will have to install an "interpretation panel" on a wall overlooking Allan's Walk outlining how the land was once used.
"It should be designed by a cultural heritage professional with interpretation expertise and should be a minimum size of two square metres," Heritage Victoria ruled.
More on the three hotels proposed for Bendigo's city centre:
- New $30 million Bendigo hotel planned for Williamson Street and Mollison Street intersection
- Another $30 million hotel planned for Bendigo, this time in Mollison Street
- Luxury hotel planned bid for Hargreaves Mall launched
- Why Hargreaves Mall hotel developers are not worried about a lack of car parks
- Council has a 'possible solution' to Hargreaves Mall hotel's car parking conundrum
People were able to enter the Beehive complex from Pall Mall by the year 1910, BHI's heritage advisors found when researching the site.
Multiple renovations took place in following decades.
What remains of the original building is difficult to interpret and is isolated from older parts of the Beehive Complex.
"Importantly, there are no traces of the retail activities that formerly took place within," BHI's heritage advisor found.
"The remaining fabric behind the three-storey front section can no longer convey a strong association to either the activities of the Beehive Stores or to its successive development in the twentieth century."
All building works will have to stop immediately if hidden or inaccessible historical details are found.
Heritage Victoria would then inspect them and decide whether to record what is there or keep them for posterity.
A separate developer has been restoring the older section of the Beehive, which overlooks Pall Mall. That project is expected to be completed in coming weeks or months.
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