Permit for Odeon redevelopment lapses in six months without ‘substantial’ start

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DEVELOPERS of the historic Odeon Theatre and Tattersalls Hotel site in central Hobart have just six months remaining to make a substantial start on their project before their planning permit lapses.

It has been eight years since Melbourne-based developer Riverlee bought the Odeon Theatre site in Liverpool St.

In 2015, the Hobart City Council granted the company a development permit allowing the demolition of much of the historic theatre and redevelopment of the site to feature shop space and an office tower that would house up to 1850 workers.

Odeon Theatre development proposed by Riverlee.

This plan was put on hold when the developers announced in May 2017 a collaboration with Mona subsidiary DarkLab, who leases the Odeon site, to turn the block into an arts-based precinct.

The precinct would include retaining the Odeon and adding more music venues, art-house cinemas, gallery spaces, bars and restaurants, a “premium boutique retail lane”, office space, residential apartments and a DarkLab-branded hotel.

On the back of this plan, the council granted a two-year extension to their redevelopment permit in order to work with DarkLab on the new proposal.

A Google street view of the development site in Hobart’s CBD.

Riverlee development director David Lee said at the time that although the company had a permit to demolish part of the much-loved theatre, it wanted to be “responsible” and build something more meaningful and sustainable.

Mr Lee also said it was not known if the project would be financially viable, but Riverlee was trying “extremely hard” to make it so.

Earlier this month, a development application for the site was lodged with the Hobart City Council for excavation and “change of use to community meeting and entertainment, and hotel industry, and temporary roofed structure”.

It is currently under assessment by a council planning officer.

The developers have until October 26 to substantially start the development.

Riverlee was contacted for comment, but did not respond.

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