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Alistair Walsh | 14 November 2012

Argus building to host Melbourne Music Week before long-awaited MIT campus transformation

Argus building to host Melbourne Music Week before long-awaited MIT campus transformation

Melbourne Music Week’s secret pop-up music venue has been revealed as the gothic Argus building on the corner of LaTrobe Street and Elizabeth Street.

The 86-year-old building has been in decrepit state for decades. Its first tenant, The Argus daily newspaper, closed in 1956.

The Herald and Weekly Times Group bought the Argus newspaper along with the building in 1957 and later closed the newspaper down and sold the building.

Education entrepreneur and founder of Melbourne Institute of Technology (MIT) Shesh Gale bought the site in 2010. His company, MIT Group Holdings, a holding of Ghale Investments, bought the six-storey building from La Trobe University for a reported $15 million.

In Melbourne the group also own 374-376 Bourke Street, 386-412 William Street, 388-390 Lonsdale Street, 277-279 Flinders Lane (Tomasetti House), 179 Collins Street and 1151-1155 High Street in Armadale. They also own 154-158 Sussex Street in Sydney.

Ghale has the site earmarked as the future flagship campus for MIT, established in 1996.

According to BRW, the Nepalese-born Ghale is worth $269 million and is the 176th richest person in Australia.

The building was constructed in the Beaux Arts style by architecture firm Godfrey & Spowers. It represents a combination of the interwar styles, a stripped classical composition with Beaux-Arts, Chicagoesque and Moderne influences.

Melbourne lord mayor Robert Doyle has labelled the site one of the worst bomb sites in Melbourne.

In July Doyle said it was a building of ''historic significance, but it is deteriorating as we look at it and I want to give them the strong message that we will not tolerate the tactic of allowing a building to deteriorate to a point where you can't do anything with it – we will be saying to them we are putting you on notice now''.

 

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