Details have started to emerge (telegraph, the shout) for Coogee's most talked about development - the Merivale owned, "Coogee Pavilion". Occupying the 1500 sqm shell of the iconic Beach Palace Hotel, the Merivale development is touted to soon be dishing up a family friendly beach experience for all ranges of appetites, leisure pursuits and grooming needs.
The stated desire to assemble a somewhat eclectic ménage of businesses (sashimi bar, barber, movie theatre, juice and coffee spots, paddle board hire) will set a design challenge for the group renowned for its polished fit outs and attention to detail. No doubt this modular approach will enable flexibility in this enormous space and a chance for adaptation according to use. My imagination does project the image of Kevin McCloud cynically muttering the possibility of this resembling a Westfield foodcourt or a posh market. I guess if anyone was going to accomplish it though it would be Justin Hemmes. His Papi Chulo development in Manly is spectacular and Mr Wong's is something Sydney can really be proud of.
There is no doubt Merivale is working overtime to shake the perception that this development may be a way of channeling the late night party crowd to a region unaffected by late night lock-out laws. Key words like "Community", "Community focus", "Community consultation", are plastered across every press piece and council document I can find relating to the pavilion. I for one am optimistic about this venture and I would be surprised if Merivale risked its reputation by ignoring community sentiment in a region so vocal about being family friendly and anti- drunk dickheads. Phase 1 of the development is scheduled to be open at the end of July.