Hospitality empire, Merivale, has taken the reins of the Alexandria Hotel, which – much to the frustration of Sydneysiders – was due to be knocked down and replaced with a residential block.
Known as ‘The Alex’, the Sydney icon was bought by developers in 2015, prompting a campaign by local residents determined to save the historic venue.
Merivale, which also operates venues including The Newport, Coogee Pavilion, The ivy, Mr Wong, est., Ms Gs and The Paddington, plans to preserve the 1930s front bar, while transforming the expansive courtyard into a “vibrant space to eat, drink and socialise.”
“Institutions like this must be preserved, they reflect our history and help shape our culture – especially when they mean as much to their local community as The Alex does. This outcome is a great reward for the passion and character of the community who fought so hard to save this property where a hotel has stood for almost 150 years,” Justin Hemmes, Merivale CEO, said.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said “When plans to destroy The Alex were first put on public exhibition, there was a real groundswell of support for its conservation. This is a huge win for the community and for City staff who were in court fighting for the 80 year old building to be heritage-listed.”
Merivale is calling on locals to contribute their ideas for the design and feel of The Alex’s courtyard and is planning on selection a diverse line-up of “home-grown talent” to work with Hemmes and architect Kelvin Ho to develop the final design concept.
“Historic buildings like this one maintain links to Sydney’s past, and fill our streetscapes with unique character. I’m thrilled Mr Hemmes plans to restore and re-open this fantastic building and involve our residents and creatives in shaping its future use,” Moore said.
Hemmes added, “This hotel has and will always be Alexandria’s pub so I want the community to help create the next stage in its vibrant life. Whether you’re an artist or architect, a sculptor or builder, if you’re passionate about design and creating amazing spaces, we want to hear from you.”
Interested parties are invited to head to www.ouralex.com.au for further details.