Construction has started on the new Vibe Hotel Melbourne located in and above the former Fletcher Jones showroom on the corner of Queen and Flinders Streets.

Caydon Property Group’s design team will preserve the 145-year-old building’s façade and add a 24-storey glass fronted tower with four distinct design sections marking the links between old and new. Its upper levels will take in views of the Yarra River to Port Phillip Bay, while its dual frontage ensures city views to the north and south-east.

The original two-storey building on the Queen Street site was built in 1873 in the Renaissance Revival architectural style and was called the Cobden Building, first serving as offices for the maritime trade. In 1955, clothing manufacturer and retailer Fletcher Jones bought the building for $260,000, and it became an iconic fixture for Melbourne shoppers. At its peak the company employed 2700 employees and ran 55 stores, using the building as its main city showroom until the company’s collapse in 2012. It was then occupied by hip streetwear brand Culture Kings.

The new Vibe Hotel Melbourne has 206 rooms, contemporary communal areas and a building design that tells a story via four distinct ‘layers’ or strata. The first strata is Heritage, where the existing building will be rendered in beautiful classic steel blue and off-white, with touches of chrome and metal. The second is Transition, the bridge between old and new, marked by external stone fins, bronze glazing and black window frames. The Tower level is a modern masterpiece, with protruding window jambs in black and bronze that beautifully complement the light grey pleating in the façade. The Crown is the final statement, with a light grey glazing and black window framing, marked by a timber vertical screen and a finished concrete spandrel.

TFE Hotels CEO Rachel Argaman said this marked a great year for the Vibe Hotels brand, which is growing from nine hotels to twelve.

“We have just opened Vibe Hotel North Sydney and we have three more stunning new Vibe Hotels under construction including Queen Street in Melbourne, Argyle Street in Hobart and Sussex Street in Darling Harbour, so it’s a very exciting time for the brand,” said Argaman.

“We are about to unveil a multi-million-dollar refurbishment at Vibe Hotel Gold Coast with a beautiful coast-meets-hinterlands design scheme and we are completely transforming Vibe Hotel Sydney in Goulburn Street, Sydney, adding a new dining offering, Storehouse Sydney Central,” she said.

Vibe Hotels are currently in nine locations: Melbourne, Sydney, Rushcutters Bay Sydney, North Sydney, Gold Coast, Darwin Waterfront, Canberra and Marysville (Victoria). Three more next generation Vibe Hotels are under construction in 2018 – Argyle Street in Hobart; Queen Street in Melbourne; and Sydney’s Darling Harbour.  Major refurbishments will be unveiled soon at the Gold Coast and Sydney.

Vibe Hotel Melbourne is set to open in late 2019.