Stunning heritage decision on historic arcade

THE future of the Old Burleigh Theatre Arcade remains uncertain after a council application for it to be heritage listed was rejected.

The Queensland Heritage Council did not accept the arcade as a State Heritage Place.

The Old Burleigh Theatre Arcade pictured in 2000.
The Old Burleigh Theatre Arcade pictured in 2000.

Councillors in July last year sought to enter the Goodwin Tce property on the Local Heritage Register and also have it placed on the Queensland Heritage Register.

Sydney development company Weija Holdings bought the site for $18.5 million and in August announced plans for a 14-storey luxury apartment tower with a new arcade at its base.

In a submission to the department, Burleigh MP Michael Hart said the arcade, which opened as a dance hall and movie theatre in 1930, was one of the Gold Coast's best-known landmarks.

"It would be a great loss to both the Burleigh Heads and wider Gold Coast community's history for it to be demolished or its facade to be altered in any significant way," he wrote.

The De-Luxe Theatre at Burleigh Heads. It became the Old Burleigh Theatre Arcade.
The De-Luxe Theatre at Burleigh Heads. It became the Old Burleigh Theatre Arcade.

But the QHC found the building was partially demolished and remodelled in 1955, then repurposed as a shopping arcade in 1977, its remaining 1930s assets being demolished.

A QHC spokesperson said no fabric from the 1930 picture theatre was now discernible but acknowledged the site was "likely to be of local heritage significance".

Mr Hart told the Bulletin: "I don't know where it puts the Gold Coast City Council's declaration (to protect it)."

A council spokesperson the arcade remained protected under the Local Heritage Register and under the Temporary Local Planning Instrument.

"Any future development on the site must take these listings into consideration," the spokesperson said.

But council insiders suggest "it can be knocked down if it's not backed by the State".

The De-Luxe Theatre at Burleigh Heads, now the Old Burleigh Theatre Arcade.
The De-Luxe Theatre at Burleigh Heads, now the Old Burleigh Theatre Arcade.

The council had received 15 submissions of support and three opposed to the property being placed on its Local Heritage Register.

State heritage officers received submissions from leading architects which revealed the 1930s theatre fabric - the main theatre seating area with stepped floor - was removed in 1977.

"The front and rear 1955 remnant portions of the former theatre do not provide a physical tangible link to the former 1930 theatre other than through the signage on the front facade. There is no interior fabric that provides any physical evidence of the former theatre, other than the central portion of level one which may have been the projection room," the submission from architects said.



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