The Espy Reopening Delayed After Planning Objections

Initial plans by the owners of The Espy in St Kilda to reopen in time for the summer months are up in the air.

The long time music venue closed in May for extensive renovations that were set to increase its status as a live music space. These included sound and lighting upgrades to the Gershwin Room which hosts RocKwiz.
At the time, owners said, “Improvements will strengthen and sustain our commitment to the music industry, with live music being maintained as a central part of the culture and identity of the venue.”
Also part of the new look were food and beverage spaces –including a restaurant on the first floor – that opened up areas not used by the hotel before.
However plans for a 145sqm rooftop terrace for a reported 200 people has caused a major headache. Port Phillip Council has had 26 objections from neighbours. Some objections demanded that the terrace not be allowed to have live music, and be closed by 11pm.
So far owners have permission to make changes to the interior of the hotel. But external work could be a problem: the wait for these permits can take months. The next meeting by council’s statutory planning committee is not until December.
Councillor Serge Thomann, a long time supporter of the area’s venues, posted, “Like for all planning permits, objections can be lodged. In the case of The Espy, as there are more than 15 objections, this matter will be dealt with by the Planning Committee, hopefully in December. There is no way to go any faster. And then, objectors or the applicant can go to VCAT.”

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