Jewish Arts Quarter by Mclldowie Partners

‘Vibrant and dynamic’ arts and culture centre approved

The nine-storey Jewish Arts Quarter building proposed for 7 Selwyn Street, Elsternwick in Melbourne’s inner south has been granted approval, after planning minister Richard Wynne intervened to scuttle a legal challenge.

Designed by Melbourne’s Mclldowie Partners, the building will replace the double-storey brick building used by the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre. It will bring together the Jewish Museum of Australia and the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library, along with performing arts and co-working spaces.

Glen Eira council gave the proposal the green light back in September 2020 but residents concerned about the building’s height and lack of parking lodged an appeal with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Before the matter could be heard, planning minster Wynne called in the matter, referring it to the government’s Priority Projects Standing Advisory Committee instead of the tribunal. Wynne told parliament he stepped in because he considered the project would provide a substantial public benefit and the appeals process “may have a substantial effect on the achievement or development of planning objectives.”

The Priority Projects Standing Advisory Committee held a roundtable discussion on the proposal in June, where the applicant and council submitted evidence in support of the proposal and objectors raised their concerns. Based on the evidence presented the committee recommended the proposal for approval, and the planning minister granted it in late August.

Joe Tigel, Jewish Arts Quarter director and president of the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library welcomed the approval.

Read the editorial on ArchitectureAU.