ST KILDA’S GREYHOUND HOTEL SUDDENLY CLOSES

In Changing Times by Clyde Mooney

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Despite community efforts to save it, St Kilda’s famous Greyhound Hotel announced its immediate closure on 6 January.

The pub boasts a history of more than 160 years, and in recent times became an institution for the LGBTQ community, hosting a wide variety of live acts and earning a name as a centre for drag-queen culture in Melbourne.

Artist’s impression of proposed development at site of the Greyhound

Plans emerged during 2016 for a proposed development on the large site, which overlooks the Nepean Highway.

This prompted a wave of community action, with ambitions to save the historic local pub from the clutches of developers.

After initially denying its historic value, Port Phillip Council reversed its decision and announced in December it would take a request for an interim heritage order to the Victorian Planning Minister, Richard Wynne.

But Karina Harcourt, owner of CWK Hotels, which operated the pub, disclosed to Fairfax that the development was really “more of a back-up option” for the owners, as the pub had been struggling financially for some time.

On 6 January the GH announced on its website and social media that the doors would be closing “effective immediately” and stressed that this was not due to the proposed redevelopment.

“This is due to recent developments outside of the owners’ control that has left the business insolvent,” read the announcement.

“Keeping the GH hotel open for the community has always been the priority of the owners. Unfortunately this is now no longer a viable option.”

A decision on the building’s heritage status is expected in February, but particularly given the business’ closure, its demolition may be imminent.

Greyhound Hotel today