The studio frontage currently has a Heritage Overlay preventing work to the building’s exterior without council approval.
The building dates back to 1908 when it was the Wertheim Piano Factory. Once the largest of its kind in Australia, it was designed by architect Narhum Barnet and opened by Prime Minister Alfred Deakin. It was the first piano factory ever built in Victoria.
After 1935 it became the Heinz tinned food factory until the Nine Network took possession in 1955.
Since then it has been fondly dubbed “Television City,” churning out iconic programmes including In Melbourne Tonight, The Don Lane Show, New Faces, Hey Hey It’s Saturday, The Footy Show, Sale of the Century, Family Feud and Temptation -to name but a few.
A nomination for listing with Heritage Victoria has been sitting idle since 1986.
In August the City of Yarra became aware of a possible sale of the site and has commenced research and reviewing of planning controls in readiness for a change of ownership and potential building application permits.
Currently the 3 hectare site zoned as Industrial 1 is said to be worth $10million.
A brief report by the council revealed historical significance relating to the Piano Factory, but has recommended further research to document the contribution by both the Heinz and Nine Network occupations.
Yarra Council is considering breaking up the large site into smaller blocks that reimpose the original street grid. It would also consider limiting building heights, offering affordable housing and arts precinct options for the block, in keeping with its historic links.
Yarra Council will undertake extensive community consultation on any redevelopment. Should the site be sold before this is concluded, the local Heritage Overlay would protect any changes to the exterior of the building’s frontage.
The council is not intending to change planning permits should the Nine Network retain control of the site.
But newspaper reports have indicated the sale of both TCN9 and GTV9 in the immediate future. Nine is said to be interested in a move to Melbourne Docklands for its GTV operations as part of a wider, digital upgrade.
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