TFE Hotels has officially launched its accommodation and entertainment offering at the site of Melbourne’s historic Pentridge Prison.

On May 1, 26 years on from the closure of the historic prison, TFE unveiled its 106-room Adina Hotel, Olivine wine bar, North and Common restaurant, Chapter Place events venue, and experience-led urban retreat, The Interlude.

General Manager Jesse Kornoff was joined by TFE Hotels’ Regional General Manager for Victoria, Stephen Moore, and Local MP for Pascoe Vale, Anthony Cianflone, for a ribbon cutting, and ceremonial opening of a heritage-listed red door into the converted prison wing.

A spiritual cleansing was conducted at the site of the former Pentridge Prison

The launch followed a private event the week prior which saw Wurundjeri Elder, Uncle Bill Nicholson, conduct 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,” Moore said.

“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.

The Interlude sees prison cells converted into an experiential urban retreat

“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.”

The 106-room Adina Apartment Hotel Pentridge Melbourne, which had a soft opening in February, is being well received by locals and travellers, according to Kornoff, and so too is the Olivine wine bar and the eight Chapter Place events spaces.

“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,” he said.

North and Common restaurant opens to the public on May 10

“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,” he said. “So, the developer’s billion-dollar investment in developing the Pentridge lifestyle development certainly bodes well for its future.”

The Interlude, which features 19 exclusive heritage suites created out of 4 to 5 original cells, is expected to commence trial stays in the coming months.

North and Common restaurant, which opens to the public on May 10, features original bluestone walls and 10-metre-high ceilings, complete with restored cross timber.

“North and Common is a great blend of modern and historic architecture and is such a warm and inviting dining space,” Kornoff said.

Mark Glenn heads up North and Common restaurant

With Head Chef Mark Glenn at the helm, the restaurant will offer a produce-driven menu with “simple, but thoughtful food”.

“Neighbourhood restaurants are the beating heart of a close-knit community – they’re free of pretension and welcoming for everyone – and that’s what we’ll be bringing to Melbourne’s north,” Glenn said. 

“In that respect, our menu is approachable and will showcase simple, yet thoughtful dishes, highlighting outstanding local suppliers and the quality of their produce.

“The menu will be ever evolving, and largely based on what local suppliers, fresh food markets (and beyond) have available.”

Olivine wine bar is now welcoming guests and locals

Olivine wine bar, which opened last month, seats 100 guests and showcases the transformation of a prison space into a refined wine with cosy booths.

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.

MP for Pascoe Vale, Anthony Cianflone, said the billion-dollar dining and entertainment precinct will be 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,” he said.

Olivine wine bar is located within the former prison site

“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, including along Sydney Road, Central Coburg, and the broader northern corridor.”

Cianflone pointed to other major developments in the area including the new Coburg Train Station and Level Crossing Project, which he said will be a catalyst for ongoing renewal and revitalisation of Coburg.

“As the State Member of Parliament, and a lifetime local who grew up on the other side of the iconic bluestone walls while the prison was still operational, I am honoured and humbled to be part of the opening of this new chapter in the history of Pentridge and Coburg,” he added.