Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison saw a who’s who of Australia’s criminal world – terms like bushrangers Ned Kelly and Harry Power of the 1800s, early 20th-century gangster Squizzy Taylor and the contemporary ex-crim-turned-celebrity, Chopper Read – housed between its imposing bluestone walls.
The neo-Gothic “Pentridge College“, as nicknamed by the underworld, was decommissioned in 1997, and the area around it, the northern suburb of Coburg, began its journey of gentrification, a working-class drabness making way for a hip fabness to rival neighboring Brunswick.
Way back in 2002, the redevelopment of the historic site was mooted – and now, finally, a one-billion-dollar transformation later, its guests are of the dining and recreational kind rather than the criminal, with tenants including the BrewDog brewery and a Palace Cinema. As well as being an entertainment precinct, the Coburg landmark is also home to residential development and its newest addition, the Adina Apartment Hotel Pentridge Melbourne.
It was no easy feat creating a contemporary hotel amid such a unique heritage site. Inhabiting the old B Division, where solitary confinement was enforced in the early days of the 180-year-old complex, a new tower was added, taking almost two years to construct with builders carefully monitoring the bluestone walls to ensure they didn’t shift, particularly during the phase of creating three basement levels, where EV charging stations form part of the hotel’s eco-conscious approach.
Solar panels, the use of recycled concrete in the building, a rainwater tank recycling system, and window glass that reacts with daylight to break down dirt are some of the other green measures used across the property.
Only eight kilometers from the city, each of Adina Pentridge’s 106 one and two-bedroom and studio apartments offers generous living spaces and kitchen facilities and in line with the brand’s local focus, mini-bars offer Victorian goodies, including chocolate from Coburg-based Koko Black.
In B Division proper, North & Common restaurant is headed by Melbourne Chef Thomas Woods and Olivine wine bar offers an impressive array of Victorian wines.
Adina operators TFE Hotels will also open a 19-room, “experience-led urban retreat”, The Interlude, slated to open in winter, with a program of locally focused activities open to guests.
Accommodations here consist of historic B Division prison cells joined together and converted into calm, modern spaces where you can come and go as you, please.