Plans and artist impressions for The Bank development in the Toowoomba CBD.
Plans and artist impressions for The Bank development in the Toowoomba CBD. Andrew Backhouse

Plan for glass-enclosed restaurant with retractable roof

A DEVELOPER has revealed updated plans to redevelop the heritage-listed Westpac Bank building on the corner of Ruthven and Margaret Sts into a glass enclosed restaurant featuring a retractable roof. 

Killea Investments director Philip Collins announced in February last year his plan to transform the building into a unique space with high-quality tenants.

The vision for The Bank development is to have two retail stores on the ground floor, offices on the second floor and depending on council approval, a bar on the roof.

Now Killea has revealed its plans for the adaptive reuse of and extension to the local heritage place.

Plans and artist impressions for The Bank development in the Toowoomba CBD.
Plans and artist impressions for The Bank development in the Toowoomba CBD. Andrew Backhouse

It is proposing a rooftop food and drink outlet be established on the existing rooftop which will have a total floor area of 430sq m.

The proposal comprises a combination of indoor and outdoor formal and casual dining areas that will have views north/south and east/west along Ruthven and Margaret Sts, respectively.

"A key objective of the design is to maximise opportunities for outdoor dining to take advantage of the proposal's unique rooftop location," documents state.

"To reach this objective, a large retractable roof is proposed which, combined with the external bi-fold doors and windows to the north and eastern elevation, will allow for the casual dining area to be exposed during pleasant weather. When the weather is inclement, the retractable roof is able to be extended and the bi-fold doors and windows shut to protect customers from the weather."

Bi-fold windows and doors will provide for full height glazing and views from the dining areas out to the surrounding buildings and landscape will be available in all weather conditions. 

Customer access to the rooftop will be provided via Margaret St and customers will enter the lobby and travel through the main lift to the rooftop.

Customer access will also available through a new stairwell which will connect the lobby to the rooftop.

A second emergency fire stair will be provided adjacent to the bathroom block and provides direct passage to Ruthven St through a dedicated fire corridor.

Goods will be delivered to the rooftop via the goods lift which is accessed through Lamb Ln.

Service vehicles will stand in one of eight loading bays that are available within Margaret St or Lamb Ln.

"Overall, the design philosophy is to ensure that the proposed extension appears as a lightweight structure that floats atop the existing heritage building which, with its brick and blockwork construction, presents as a solid foundation," town planner James Juhasz revealed.

"To achieve this objective, the elevations that will be visible to Margaret and Ruthven Sts and incorporate lighter building elements, including significant glazing and the retractable roof.

"The solid elements of the extension, such as the new stairwell and lift core have been located towards the southern edge of the building and setback from the existing parapet.

"As such, these elements will not dominate views to the building when viewed from pedestrian level."

Killea says the development will retain the existing local heritage place with limited external changes at the ground and upper floor levels.

The latest development application is not seeking approval for office tenancies that are proposed to be established on the ground floor and the upper floor or the food and drink outlet located adjacent to Lamb Lane.

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