Owners of the landmark King Street establishment are seeking approval to alter its existing operating terms through a permanent liquor licence, increased patron capacity and use of its cellar as a bar, gallery and venue.
The application, lodged by Sincock Planning, also includes building works to provide nine en-suited accommodation rooms on the upper floor.
After being closed for several years, the venue opened last summer on limited licences which allowed it to operate on restricted hours as an art gallery and cocktail bar for just 50 patrons.
The hotel recently hosted a sold-out dining event featuring renowned chef Guy Rossi, and according to the planning application, is keen to explore further event opportunities.
“The existing business has been more successful than expected, therefore leading to the desire to extend the life of the use and provide for the venue to be used throughout the year for three uses that align but can operate independently of each other,” it said. “The use of the premises as a gallery, bar, accommodation and function centre maintains the history of the site and its long established history of providing accommodation, food and drink and liquor through various uses over time.
“The scale of this building does not lend itself to a single dwelling and therefore appropriate commercial activities at a scale that is sensitive to the surrounding residential uses is necessary in order to provide for the long term maintenance and upkeep of the building,” it continued.
Under the proposal, patron capacity would be increased to 100 in gallery and bar areas and up to 200 for functions, and opening hours would be extended to 11pm, seven days a week. Current parking restrictions would also be waived.
“The reuse of this heritage building for a commercial use is consistent with the history of the site and the re-use of the building provides economic return that can be distributed toward the ongoing renovation and upkeep of the building. This provides for long term protection of the property which is desirable for a significant heritage building in this heritage townscape,” the planning application concluded.
The heritage hotel was originally built in 1854 by William Leigh, one of Queenscliff’s first European residents.