Historic John Curtin Hotel has been sold to offshore investors, but unions pledge not to work on “greedy” redevelopment

“You’d be an asshole to sell this pub to a developer.” That’s what Luke Hilakari, secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, suspected former Prime Minister and Curtin Hotel regular Bob Hawke would have told the news in February that the historic pub was up for sale. And yet that is exactly what happened.

Earlier this month, the well-known watering hole of the Labor and union movements, local music incubator and much-loved live venue was sold to an unknown offshore investor.

As Hilakari hinted in February, the Building Industry Group union organization today issued a green development ban — a type of strike action union workers can take to protect sites from developments deemed cultural, social or historically vandalistic.

“Whatever needs to be done to protect the building, the union movement and its community partners will do it. If the builders want to move a bulldozer, they will encounter an active picket line,” Hilakari said. pamphlet on Friday morning.

Pioneered in the 1970s by the Builders Laborers Federation unions in NSW and Victoria, green bans have saved iconic Melbourne landmarks such as Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne City Baths, Flinders Street station, Hotel Windsor and Princess Theater from destruction, but have rarely been called up since then.

Union leaders hope the ban will draw attention to the issue of ill-conceived, for-profit developments that ignore the cultural significance of institutions like the Curtin Hotel.

“Our movement has a long and proud history of protecting important cultural sites and buildings in Melbourne – and the John Curtin Hotel is one of them. This is about saving an important meeting place for the future, but it is also about preserving our city’s heritage,” Hilakari said on Thursday.

“This green ban is a clear message from Victorian workers: We will not stand by and let our precious, historic building be destroyed by international greedy developers.”

In a show of support from the town hall, the building has been granted an interim “major” heritage protection. Nicholas Reece, the city’s deputy mayor, says the order will provide the site “the strongest possible level of protection” when development applications are considered.

“It is so important that we protect our historic pubs and live music venues – not only because they are important heritage buildings, but also because of their irreplaceable social and cultural value,” Reece said in a statement.

Preserving a building’s structural heritage is one thing, but as fascism reigns supreme, a new respect for the meaning of what goes on within these locations is born.

“The Curtin has been a community meeting place for over 160 years. Our aim is to ensure it remains a pub and live music venue, not a facade with an apartment block behind it,” said Simon Ambrose, CEO of the Victorian Branch of Australia’s National Trust.

On Friday morning, Hilakari told: pamphlet a joint offer of more than $6 million dollars from RMIT and the Electrical Trades Union was rejected by the seller in favor of a lower offer from the offshore developer.

“It is a money grab, at the expense of the community”

Verified sales data was not available at the time of publication. US commercial real estate giant CBRE Group, which brokered the sale, did not respond to Broadsheet’s request for comment.

When asked what message unions hoped to send to developers with the green ban, Hilakari was resolute.

‘Don’t even bother. Do you want to deal with protests? Do you want to deal with employees who walk off the premises? Is the amount of money you think you are going to make on this site even going to happen if there is so much disruption?”

“These pubs contain Melbourne’s past, our stories and our community. We can’t keep losing them like this.”

Leave a Comment