Melbourne's historic Pentridge Prison has undergone a $1 billion redevelopment transforming the historic site into a retail, dining and entertainment hub - with stage one set to open in December.
With the site, Palace Cinemas, Australia's largest independent cinema group, will open Melbourne's newest cinema, Pentridge Cinema, offering a space for 1,100 guests within the 15-screen cinema complex located alongside dining, public spaces and specialty stores.
Located in the suburb of Coburg, the mixed-use redevelopment will feature a heritage-fronted and architecturally-designed public piazza, a 2,000 metre² Ritchies Fine Food and Wine Merchants, the Cinema, more than 20 specialty stores and 500 secure underground car parks. Future stages will also include a 4-star Adina Hotel, office towers and more than 1,000 residential units.
The Pentridge retail leasing strategy, led by Colliers International’s Mark Reid on behalf of developer Shayher Group, will opt to support smaller, independent retailers to the iconic location.
As Reid explains “Pentridge will become the focal point for the Coburg community, where locals and visitors gravitate daily for their lifestyle needs. The main trade area population is forecast to reach 186,400 people by the year 2026, with annual expenditure within this area expected to be $3.4 billion.
“With more than 80% of the retail space already pre-committed, we anticipate that Pentridge will become Melbourne’s most compelling retail precinct for local, national and international discovery.
“Many retailers have already capitalised on the opportunity to secure a space within the iconic destination that will attract local Melburnians as well as visitors from interstate,” he added.
“The bluestone walls and guard towers of Pentridge are a quintessential part of Melbourne’s story and are now being re-envisioned as a unique local meeting place of culture, commerce and creativity.
The Pentridge site was purchased in 2013, with the 2020 opening the culmination of a seven-year restoration and development journey for the Shayher Group. The location is expected to benefit from its proximity to Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport and CBD.
The restoration project built within the historic site includes contemporary architecture and engaging public spaces, including a 6,500 metre² piazza. It will transition into a community inclusive space that champions both adaptive reuse architecture, as well as the iconic heritage aspects that feature stories from the former prison.
Shayher Group spokesman, Anthony Goh added “our vision for Pentridge is to create a vibrant, well-designed urban village that breathes new life into this historical asset, transforming it from one of Australia's most prominent jails into a new community hub complete with retail, housing, community areas and open public spaces.”
The cinema in particular will be a much welcome addition to Melbournians who’ve been in lockdown for much of the year with COVID restrictions.
Palace Cinemas Chief Executive, Benjamin Zeccola noted “more Australians go to the movies than any other venue or event, reminding us how vital cinema is to our way of life and we can't wait to open the newest edition to the Palace Cinemas family - Pentridge Cinemas.”
When the cinema opens in December, there will be safety procedures in place to keep moviegoers protected including checkerboard seating allocation, allowing friends and family to sit together in groups of two while being physically distanced from other cinema-goers.
Pentridge Cinema will stagger session times to avoid unnecessary congestion in foyers, the provision of hand-sanitiser stations at cinema entrances and points of sale, contactless payment and requesting where possible to book online or by telephone.
Images (from top): The gates of Melbourne's historic Pentridge Prison, Pentridge Cinema, the concept for the new retail space and Palace Cinemas Chief Executive Benjamin Zeccola.
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27th March 2020 - Challenging times for cinemas with all of Australia’s screens closed
20th March 2020 - Palace Cinemas respond to COVID-19
31st July 2018 - Cinema audiences struggles as moviegoers turn to online content
12th June 2017 - Arts and entertainment industry figures acknowledged in Queen’s Birthday Honours
3rd October 2016 - Palace Cinemas to build 15 screen complex at Pentridge Prison site
20th July 2016 - Palace Cinemas pays ACCC penalty over online booking fees
13th July 2015 - Australian cinemas heading for a record year
21st August 2012 - Plans approved for Bendigo jail to become a theatre
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