By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
On Sunday morning, the Albion Hotel in Port Melbourne was the victim of an arson attack. The hotel was less than a fortnight away from reopening after refurbishments made by new owners.
Formerly The Motel, the venue was purchased by Dane Swan, a player for Collingwood Football Club, in partnership with Matt Darcy of The Darcy Group, Mark Armstrong, and former Rugby League players, Robbie Kearns and Danny Williams.
The foreman of the site surprised two masked men early on Sunday morning and was attacked. He could not recall what happened after being punched, however the building was set alight. The fire spread to all three storeys of the venue, creating extensive damage before the Metropolitan Fire Brigade were able to put the fire out.
It is unknown at this stage whether the site was chosen randomly or if had been targeted specifically. “Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding a fire at a hotel in York Street, South Melbourne. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined,” said Leading Senior Constable Adam West of Victoria Police.
The Albion had been set to re-open on October 16 with a rooftop bar as one of its new spaces. This was Swan’s first hotel operation. With speculation being made on the extent of the damage, the future of the pub is now up in the air.
Swan is currently overseas and could not be contacted for comment.