The Albion – The proverbial Phoenix rising from the ashes
There are infinite venues throughout Melbourne that could tell countless stories revealing the secrets of the cities thriving nightlife but none quite like 172 York Street, South Melbourne. It is unknown when the Albion was originally built but the first recorded documents of the pub’s history begin in 1869 when it was rebuilt and became known as The Albion. Over the next 20 years the venue underwent expansions and additions until 1888 when architects Powell and Whitaker erected a new three storey building at the site. Almost 100 years later in March 1980, it was renamed the Roxy and joined the ranks as one of Melbourne’s best entertainment venues, bursting at the seams from Friday to Sunday.
1990 saw another transformation as the establishment morphed into a nightclub called The Motel. Renowned for having the largest roof deck in the city, The Motel was a nightlife institution spanning over two levels and hosting more than 4 bars, lounge areas, dance floors and VIP rooms. In October 2015, reconstructed and renamed as The Albion once again, the hotel was gearing up for yet another unveiling of its ability to transform when tragedy struck and another chapter was written in its long and colourful history. Two weeks out from the completion of its renovations, the venue became a victim of arson and hit the news for all the wrong reasons. With over $5.1 million worth of damage, many believed the doors of The Albion would close forever.
Jointly owned by several high profile personalities, the group saw through the ashes and devastation and instead realised the opportunity for the venue to reinvent itself yet again. Engaging Visual Builders and ITN Architects, the owners are determined to overhaul the entire site and provide Melbourne with a spectacular new place that will cement its history at the forefront of Melbourne’s nightlife scene. Construction is now under way and Visual Builders are working tirelessly to restore the venue whilst maintaining the structural integrity of a building that came close to demolition. The expansive rooftop bar will be reclaimed and joined by multiple large outdoor deck areas. Casual dining, function and event spaces will emerge and the entire venue will have an increased scope to its functionality. The façade will retain its 1880’s detailing, while the interior will maintain a high level of sophistication that has long been associated with The Albion’s reputation.
Although some secrets will remain within the walls, the transformation of The Albion will continue once more. Over the coming months we will unveil its progress and extend on the excitement as it grows for the next chapter of this South Melbourne icon.