10 Nov 22

Woods Bagot to lead $100m masterplan of Burnham Beeches, Victoria’s Art Deco crown jewel

Burnham Beeches circa 1934 as featured in Australia Home Beautiful.

Following extensive community consultation and planning, the Trenerry Consortium – comprised of the Victor Smorgon Group, Kanat Group and Trenerry Property – has revealed a $100m masterplan for historic Burnham Beeches, following the Consortium’s recently completed Sorrento project The Continental.

A world class team of operators and consultants has been appointed to restore the estate to its former glory, with Woods Bagot appointed as lead architect and interior designers and noted Australian builders Hamilton Marino to manage the restoration and build.

The masterplan encompasses three experiential zones – the Mansion and Spa, the Village Green, and the Hilltop Retreat – each of which invite visitors to explore the site while also celebrating the spirit of the Dandenong Ranges.

Render of Woods Bagot's masterplan for Burnham Beeches.

Render of Woods Bagot’s masterplan for Burnham Beeches.

In accordance with the existing permit, the redevelopment will consist of the refurbishment of the Alfred Nicholas mansion and its surrounding gardens, respectfully restoring the mansion into Australia’s first Six Senses resort.

The Trenerry Consortium has appointed globally renowned luxury hospitality provider Six Senses to operate the total hotel offering at Burnham Beeches Estate, marking Six Senses’ first foray into the Australian market.
Established in 1995, Six Senses quickly became recognised as the hospitality industry’s pioneer of sustainable practices and now manages 20 hotels and resorts in 17 countries and makes it a natural choice of hotel operator at Burnham Beeches.

Since 1982, Burnham Beeches has had approximately 9 different owners, each with less than 5 years ownership which due to a lack of commercial viability as a consequence of the enormous cost of restoration of the mansion and limitations of the existing permit.

To address these challenges, the project team has proposed a premium, non-permanent glamping offering managed by Six Senses, tucked within the surrounding topography of the site, at considerable distance from property boundaries.

This model is used globally to allow for non-intrusive and environmentally friendly accommodation in national parks or regions of historical significance.

This introduction of a glamping component would increase the venture to 81 keys, making it commercially viable without impacting the surrounding natural landscape with permanent structures.

Alongside a world-class restoration of the mansion and surrounding garden, the masterplan includes plans for the Nicholas Hall and Library, a restaurant, wellness retreat, pool house and guestrooms.

A Village Square will become the beating heart of the site, with The Hearth, The Barn, a Steak House, The Baker, Brew House and Providore surrounding the central gathering space.

Working closely with Heritage Victoria and the Council, Trenerry Consortium is determined to construct permanent solutions that ensure the mansion is restored to its former glory while achieving commercial viability to secure long-term prosperity for Burnham Beeches.

As previous owners had not secured any heritage approval for the redevelopment, a heritage permit application currently sits with Heritage Victoria, approval of which is essential to delivering the long-term conservation of the property, including the historic mansion.

Trenerry Director Robert Dicintio says “Burnham Beeches has been vacant for 36 years in its 89-year history, and we now have a dedicated and world-class team passionate about activating the site as it was always intended to be.

“As plans progress, a key strategy of the Consortium continues to be to engage and listen to the local community and Council, Heritage Victoria and Parks Victoria. We are looking forward to presenting the plans to our passionate neighbours on the 14th of November, where there will be an opportunity to discuss the elements of the plans.”

“With the commitment by Six Senses firmly in place, and a vison and masterplan which reflects feedback from stakeholders, the only hold up to construction commencement will be with awaiting the review process by the various authorities.”

Aerial shot of the Norris building and its surrounding landscape as documented in Australia Home Beautiful in March 1934.

Aerial shot of the Norris building and its surrounding landscape as documented in Australia Home Beautiful in March 1934.

Woods Bagot Principal and local resident Bronwyn McColl describes a design direction that rejoices in the spirit of the Dandenong Ranges and architect Harry Norris’ original vision, creating an authentic country experience for both the public and hotel guests.

“A tier one project and design team has been commissioned to restore Burnham Beeches to its former beauty. Once permits are in place, our world class team of operators and consultants will be working to restore the magnificent Burnham Beeches Estate to its full potential.

“The design, programming and activation will be influenced by Burnham Beeches’ historical, social and ecological traits and patterns, as well as respond to feedback from the local community.

“It’s a project that is inspired by its past, and yet is yearning for a future,” says Nik Karalis, Woods Bagot CEO. “Woods Bagot’s masterplan expands on the original country and gardens ethos, both restoring and regenerating its relevance to a new audience.”

Render of the terrace at Burnham Beeches' The Brew House. One of four buildings at Burnham Beeches.

Render of the terrace at Burnham Beeches’ The Brew House. One of four buildings at Burnham Beeches.

Render of the fireside dining at The Hearth. One of four buildings at Burnham Beeches.

Render of the fireside dining at The Hearth. One of four buildings at Burnham Beeches.

Sophie Paterson, great granddaughter of original owner Alfred Nicholas, is still actively involved with the site and is part of the project team ready to breathe new life into Burnham Beeches.

Of the site, she says “as a family, we are so excited at the prospect of our beloved family home finally being restored. Sitting neglected for far too long, this beautiful heritage home in its unique Dandenongs setting needs to be shared and we could not be more pleased with the involvement of Six Senses as operators and new custodians of the Burnham Beeches.

“Alfred Nicholas was all about giving back to others. He was passionate about his gardens and local fauna, his Jersey herd, and the beautiful Art Deco design of his home. We are more than delighted that new plans are underway for this project to bring Burnham Beeches back to life.”


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Tili Bensley-Nettheim
Content and Communications (Australia & New Zealand)

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