Artistic places in danger: we must save the Nicholas Building and the Curtin Hotel

Arts and culture are central to Melbourne’s identity. Personally, this is one of the main reasons why I like living here. Hopping on a tram for the Comedy Festival, seeing a show at La Mama, or being able to catch a live music concert almost any time of the week or year are some of the great pleasures of being a Melburnian.

It’s wonderful to finally see entertainment, fun and creativity slowly returning to our city, but over the past few years Melbourne has sadly lost many of our iconic cultural venues and heritage buildings. The Palace/Metro Theater is just one example that comes to mind. Worryingly, two other artistic and creative species are now under imminent threat: the Nicholas Building and the Curtin Hotel.

The Nicholas Building, a stunning art deco landmark on Swanston St, is unique. This heritage building is home to a community of over 200 artists, creatives and other independent businesses (think artists, writers, cobblers and more). But now the building is for sale – at the risk of being transformed into several apartments.

The Curtin Hotel – a heritage live music venue and pub in Carlton that needs no introduction – faces a similar fate. Its owners have also put it up for sale.

Artistic heritage places like the Nicholas Building and the Curtin are special and increasingly rare in our city. Once lost, they will be forever. Heritage buildings are not rebuilt. With the loss of all creative venues and spaces, Melbourne is losing a bit more of its cultural heart.

But there is a small window right now to save them. The only problem is that the state government is not coming to the party.

For the Nicholas Building, the City of Melbourne and philanthropists are ready to provide significant funds and support to purchase this building and ensure it remains a hub for creative industry workers. But they need a little support from the state government – ​​something the Labor government refuses to do.

For The Curtin – the government could also step in and buy it, but has not committed to doing so, despite community groups and unions participating in fundraising and campaigning.

These are unique buildings. There are very few left in our city, and modest funds and support from the state government would be enough to save them.

If these buildings are sold, it will be a huge loss for our city, for the jobs of creative workers and for the culture of Melbourne.

Over the past few months, I have worked hard in the community and in parliament to try to reverse the position of the state government. I will continue to campaign so that they are not lost. If you would like to get involved, please contact my office by emailing us [email protected] and we can let you know how you can help!

You can also find out more about my plans to support the arts and rebuild a thriving Melbourne CBD at

As always, if there is anything I can help you with, please contact me •

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