Designer interiors, beautiful vistas, and the constant reminder that your home was once a penitentiary. These are the promises made by real estate developers in a recent video, which advertises a fresh apartment development at the former site of Victoria’s infamous Pentridge Prison.
Developers Shayher Group are now offering a limited number of apartments at The Rook, an upcoming residential complex situated within the walls of Coburg’s decommissioned facility.
It’s the latest development in a multi-million dollar restoration of the site, which was officially closed in 1997 and is slated to reopen this month as a fully-fledged community development, featuring a cinema, cafés, and other little goodies.
‘Hang on a minute,’ you may be saying. ‘Isn’t it a bit weird to shoehorn modern apartment developments into a facility which once held Ned Kelly and Chopper Read?’
Well, yes, it is. And a fresh video advertising The Rook apartments somehow combines the niceties of a modern apartment living with the site’s oppressive history.
Over three minutes, the clip mashes imagery of the site’s bluestone walls with jaunty stock music and the promises of city-adjacent living. It showcases sleek interiors and boutique shops that are walking distance from the site of Australia’s last-ever execution.
What a time.
This isn’t to say that redeveloping the site is inherently a bad thing – may as well make the most of those walls, right? – or that developers aren’t acutely aware of its history.
“Pentridge’s past is riddled with suffering, of which we remain respectful,” the site’s developers say on their website, pointing to the extensive work undertaken to recognise its grim heritage.
In a document outlining how the site may recognise its macabre history, the developers state several cells may be retained from Pentridge Prison’s H Division, with the potential for “soundscapes and sculptural echoes of prisoners.”
Car parks at the site may be divided into levels labelled “PUNISHMENT”, “SILENCE”, and “WORK”, the document states, adding that apartment foyers could include images of prison ship hulks or the prison’s old panopticon.
As if that weren’t quite enough, site tours will reportedly kick off in 2022.
If that’s your bag, you can check out The Rook’s current offerings right here. The developers reckon they’ll be ready for move-in next year. Don’t say nobody warned you about the vibe, though.