Barkly Theatre to be redeveloped

A burnt out cinema once reported as Melbourne’s worst drug den is being converted into a $25 million luxury apartment complex.

Owners of Footscray’s derelict heritage listed Barkly Theatre have revived plans to restore the baroque facade and entrance foyer of the 94-year building and develop an eight level, 60-unit building behind it.

The plans come six years after the property’s then-owners, former Western Bulldogs footballer Chris Grant, with business partner, Emmanuel George, proposed a similar project.

They pre-sold about 30 of 56 apartments, but failed to get a necessary commercial tenant to occupy ground floor space before the project was shelved and site sold to its current owners in 2003.

The current owners paid $522,500 in March, 2000.

Apartment Superstore is marketing the new Metaxas Architect- designed project earmarked for 277 – 287 Barkly Street.

Construction, which is underway, is expected to end by mid-2010, selling agent Ariel Brukarz said (story continues below).

It will include about 30 “theatre” apartments within the walls of the historic building and 30 more dwellings in the high rise structure.

Barkly Theatre opened as an independent cinema in 1914 and closed in 1962.

Its various uses included as a reception centre and bingo club.

It closed its doors for good as a commercial venue in 1993.

Two years later it was part destroyed by a fire.

Last September last year, it was reported heroin addicts were living there.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of