IT’S been almost two years since last drinks at Dennington’s historic Shamrock Hotel, but the site will take on a new life with a proposed $2 million housing units project.
The 140-year-old building will be transformed with nine double-storey units — three of which will incorporate the historic frontage on Drummond Street.
Developer Cook Beaumont Hotels, who also owns Rafferty’s Tavern, has obtained planning approval from Warrnambool City Council and expects to have the first unit constructed by Christmas as a display for further sales off the plan.
“We’ve chosen not to demolish the Shamrock, but to retain it,” director Peter Cook.
“We wanted to keep the local social history. It was uneconomic as a pub for the previous owners and we decided not to sink a big investment into re-opening it as a hotel.
“In terms of community spirit we decided to create a very good facility by renovating Rafferty’s and preserving the Shamrock building.”
Three modern housing units will be built on Drummond Street, three on Hood Street and three in the backyard.
Mr Cook said some of the units had been designed in a Cape Cod style after the old workers’ cottages at the nearby Fonterra dairy factory.
“They look really good,” he said. “We’ll have a display unit open by the end of the year and sell the rest off the plan through local agent Brian Hancock.”
Meanwhile, business at Rafferty’s has boomed since the developers poured a million dollars into renovations after defeating Warrnambool City Council’s bid to stop the installation of 19 electronic gaming machines.
“The council’s fear of it becoming a huge pokies bottomless pit have been proven to be unfounded,” Mr Cook said.
“Patronage at the pokies is in line with expectations — it’s just complementary to the expanded food section.
“We re-arranged the space to enlarge the bistro to accommodate 250 people, added a children’s play area, installed new furniture and bar counters.
“It’s given us confidence to look at further work there.”