There are serious concerns one of Melbourne’s most important live music venues could be negatively impacted by a massive apartment complex proposed to be constructed next door.

Brunswick mainstay Howler Bar, which has established itself as a hugely popular mid-sized venue, backs onto the site of the proposed Michael Street redevelopment.

Illustrations of SJB Architects’ planned eight-storey development shows apartments would sit directly against Howler, including against the wall of the venue’s band room.

Iconic Melbourne Venue Howler Rallies Against Huge Next-Door Development

via Moreland City Council / SJB Architects.

Iconic Melbourne Venue Howler Rallies Against Huge Next-Door Development

via Moreland City Council / SJB Architects.

Iconic Melbourne Venue Howler Rallies Against Huge Next-Door Development

via Moreland City Council / SJB Architects.


Under Victorian law, developers are required to follow the ‘agent of change’ principle when proposing a development within 50m of a pre-existing live music venue. This means that any strategies to minimise noise must be undertaken by the developer, not by the venue.

While the proposal notes Howler’s premises have “been converted into an art and live entertainment space suitable for exhibitions, workshops, screenings and performances”, it does not outline any particular noise attenuation strategies.

Despite the apparent difficulties SJB may face in muffling noise from the venue next door, Howler manager Brendan Brogan says “there’s been absolutely no contact” between the two parties. 

Brogan is concerned that while the developers carry the burden of attenuating the sound, “if they’ve got something literally backing onto our stage, I don’t know how they could do it.”

“If they met the conditions of the law… great. Nobody will be impacted,” Brogan says, but “given the plans are somewhat undetailed, we’ve got no idea how they’re going to sound attenuate.”

“So I can’t guarantee there won’t be on an impact on the people who will be living there…

“Whilst we’ve done nothing wrong, we could be left in a bad situation.”

As a result, Brogan is in the process of placing an objection to the development with the council. All similar objections need to be filed before July 10. 

PEDESTRIAN.TV has contacted SJB Architects for comment.

Source: The Music. 
Photo: Howler Melbourne / Instagram.