How pleasing is it to now have a management brand in place for your Fitzroy site, three years since acquiring it?
It has been a relatively long journey after acquiring the site following our successful apartment and town home project known as CF Roe at 237 Napier St, Fitzroy. We analysed the viability of the project back in 2018 for a residential apartment scheme and the hotel. Then we negotiated a Management Agreement with The Standard Hotel Group and obtained a permit from the City of Yarra. In 2020, when we were nearly ready to commence construction, the pandemic hit and the project went on hold.
What can you tell me about the search for the right brand, and did you assess many others?
We had engaged Minett Prime Square on another potential hotel project in Melbourne’s north and happened to mention this site in Fitzroy. They convinced us that it would do no harm to investigate the viability of a hotel and after assessing the market we instructed PSM to undertake an EOI process. Minett Prime Square received eight responses and the submission from The Standard was a standout. Their style of operation brought a significant point of difference from all the other operators.
Why is now the right time to debut a hotel brand arriving in Australia for the first time?
One key consideration was after 20 years of being a US only-based hotel operator, The Standard was embarking on a major international expansion including a strong push into the Asia Pacific region with now five hotels planned in this part of the world.
How do you see The Standard fitting in a quirky and creative area such as Fitzroy?
The Standard’s submission and in fact their culture is to strongly connect to the local area and community wherever they have become established. Their internal research on Fitzroy and surrounds is very detailed with the intention to bring a different and edgy hotel and F&B style to the locale and Melbourne and become a destination in itself, much like wherever else they now operate internationally.
Part of their culture is to also connect to the local art, music and cultural seen and to embrace these elements into the operation and style of the hotel.
What feedback and reaction have you seen from locals about The Standard moving into the area?
It’s very early days as the identity of the operator was only recently announced. However, the council was very supportive and embracing of a hotel in this area as a first accommodation hotel in Fitzroy for many years and were also positive about the design which incorporates material from the former industrial age of Fitzroy with a modern twist.