On 1 May, the 26th anniversary of the closure of HM Prison Pentridge, TFE Hotels officially launched the billion-dollar dining and entertainment Pentridge precinct, including the 106-room Adina Hotel, Olivine wine bar, North & Common restaurant, Chapter Place events venue, and the experience-led urban retreat, The Interlude.
The redevelopment of the 170-year-old site is one of the largest bluestone restoration projects ever undertaken in Australia and one of just 40 prison hotel conversions worldwide.
The unique centrepiece of the redevelopment is The Interlude, the world’s first urban wellness retreat in a converted prison. It features 19 exclusive heritage suites, each one created out of four-to-five original cells with vaulted brick ceilings, original cell doors and bluestone walls. It is expected to commence trial stays in the coming months.
Olivine wine bar, which opened last month, showcases the adaptive reuse of former prison cells which have been transformed into an elegant and refined wine bar with a walk-in cellar door and cosy booths. It can seat up to 100 guests and features a wine list of more than 500 labels from local and international producers that has been curated by one of Australia’s most exciting sommeliers, wine curator, Liinaa Berry.
The precinct also includes one of the most unique events venues in Australia – Chapter Place. It features nine indoor and outdoor events spaces and high-end facilities, and is located alongside the newly built 106-key Adina Apartment Hotel Pentridge Melbourne.
General manager Jesse Kornoff said the 106-room Adina Apartment Hotel Pentridge Melbourne (which had its soft opening in February), Olivine wine bar and the eight Chapter Place events spaces had been very well received by locals and travellers alike.
“We’ve had people coming in and staying because they’re genuinely interested in seeing what’s been hiding behind the bluestone walls; others were part of conferences or held events in our unique event spaces; and others still were simply attracted to the sheer convenience of our brand-new hotel being located half-way between Melbourne’s CBD and the airport,” Kornoff said.
“Melbourne’s creative north has been on an exciting journey of gentrification over the past ten years and boasts a thriving arts community and restaurant scene. So, the developer’s billion-dollar investment in developing the Pentridge lifestyle development certainly bodes well for its future.”
North & Common restaurant, with head chef Mark Glenn at the helm, will open to hotel guests this week and officially launch to the public on May 10. A warm and inviting dining space, it will bring an elevated approach to neighbourhood dining, offering a seasonal, produce-driven menu that heroes local suppliers.
TFE Hotels’ regional general manager for Victoria, Stephen Moore, said the unveiling of the new Pentridge precinct was yet another sign that Melbourne’s tourism industry was continuing its post pandemic recovery and that the new product offerings would encourage return visits to the city’s creative north.
The launch followed a private event last week where Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Bill Nicholson, conducted a Welcome to Country and ceremonial cleansing of the site.
“This land was traditionally a gathering place and source of water, plants, and animals for the Wurundjeri people, so, it was fitting that Uncle Bill conducted a Welcome to Country and a spiritual cleansing of a place that had a lot of sad and negative energy in its former life as a prison,” Moore said.
“In our eyes, the transformation of Pentridge has now come full circle, and can officially begin a new chapter as Melbourne’s newest dining and entertainment precinct.”
Local MP for Pascoe Vale, Anthony Cianflone, said the Pentridge Visitor and Entertainment Precinct was a game changer for Coburg.
“Wine Bar, cuisine, wellness, accommodation, entertainment, history, culture, and tourism – all of which means a growing visitor economy, more jobs and skills for our community,” Minister Cianflone said.
“Attracting a whole new and unprecedented market of international, interstate, and intrastate tourists to Pentridge, will have significant flow on benefits for surrounding small businesses.”