Plans revealed for hotel’s new life

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser
The Premier Hotel as it will look from York Street.
Camera IconThe Premier Hotel as it will look from York Street. Credit: H+H Architects

Plans to restore the Premier Hotel’s status as the No.1 pub in Albany will take a big step forward in the next month when construction finally begins at the once-popular watering hole.

After more than 12 months in the demolition phase, when the 128-year-old building was stripped back to its skeleton, drinks are expected to flow again in just over a year.

Easter 2020 has been targeted as the completion date for the multimillion-dollar revamp after the heritage-listed hotel was gutted by an arson attack in 2016.

Developer Real Force is set to seek building approval, with construction expected to take another year.

Premier Hotel co-owner Barry Panizza and Real Force director John Boccamazzo with plans for the hotel’s rebuild.
Camera IconPremier Hotel co-owner Barry Panizza and Real Force director John Boccamazzo with plans for the hotel’s rebuild. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Real Force managing director and project manager John Boccamazzo said he believed the hotel could once again be the top pub in Albany, as it was in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

But it will not be “The Prem” as it was once known, with ambitions to broaden the tavern’s appeal to make it more appealing to women and families.

Accommodation plans, which included nine studio apartments upstairs, have been scrapped in favour of an upstairs bar with balcony overlooking York and Grey streets.

“Albany needs something like this — a bit different,” Mr Boccamazzo said.

“This is right in the centre of town. If you got a good operator it will be the No.1 pub again, I reckon.

“That’s why the decision was made ... to get rid of the apartments.

“Someone can come in and make a good fist of it as they are running a pub, not half accommodation.”

Real Force director John Boccamazzo with plans for the hotel’s rebuild.
Camera IconReal Force director John Boccamazzo with plans for the hotel’s rebuild. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Mr Boccamazzo said the tavern would house two bars — one on each level — and would be able to hold 500 patrons with a mix of open and private lounge areas.

The hotel redevelopment was designed by local firm H+H Architects, which undertook a similar project to transform the former Royal George Hotel on Stirling Terrace into Six Degrees.

H+H Architects director Julie de Jong said there was a desire to create classier and more inviting function spaces upstairs with a concept of “industrial heritage” throughout the hotel.

“It has been such a blessing to do this project as it is going to give the building another 50 years of life,” she said. “It’s an exciting heritage project for the main street. And we have enjoyed the process.”

The side bar of the Premier Hotel.
Camera IconThe side bar of the Premier Hotel. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

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