Milligan revamp go-ahead

Pearl Villa will be more visible after some of the 1930s building is removed.

A NEW 37-level hotel and 22-level office building has been approved for the old Hostel Milligan site.

Most of the 1930s hotel that currently sits on the site will be demolished, keeping only the walls facing Murray and Milligan Streets. The 1930s hotel was built around an older 1880s house known as “Pearl Villa”, which will mostly be¬†retained aside from two internal walls.

Owned by the Singapore-based Fragrance Group, the $175 million plans tout the new design as opening up more of the old Pearl Villa to the public as glass walls will make it viewable from the street. “Interpretive material” on the ground floor will tell some history of the building.¬†Both the villa and the hostel are on the City of Perth’s “register of cultural significance” and the plans were referred to the Heritage Council of WA which says “the impact to the cultural heritage significance has been mitigated” compared to older plans from 2018.

Long-time caretaker of the building Tony Ransom isn’t a big fan of the re-design and would’ve liked to see far more of the 1930s building preserved. He ran the Hostel Milligan there until October last year when he and the last of the residents were moved out to prepare for the new project. 

He says part of the buildings’ unique heritage value is that “it’s like a Russian Doll: A building inside a building,” and shedding so much of the 1930s layer loses some of that value. 

Previous plans had been approved by the Development Assessment Panel in 2018. The latest plans approved on April 11 add an extra storey to the hotel and snips one storey from the office tower.

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