Brisbane CBD to Get New Heritage Picture Theatre

2 Min Read
Artist's impression of proposed facade restoration

A new development application has been submitted to transform the old Irish Club building located at 175 Elizabeth St into a new heritage cinema complex known as Elizabeth Picture Theatre.

Under plans revealed today, the 137 year old Classicism Style building, also known as Tara House would see restoration work throughout, with the most noticeable enhancement being the restoration of it’s 1928 Victorian era facade.

1928 photograph of the building and new proposed facade colours
Proposed restoration of building facade
Proposed new building awning

The refurbishment aims to bring back an authentic cinema-going experience to Brisbane’s CBD in a place of heritage value and integrated with a sought-after high traffic retail setting.

According to architect James Davidson, the proposal seeks to breathe new life into what was a previously an underutilised ‘members only’ club and aims to transform it into a semi-public commercial enterprise, thus enabling greater access to its heritage interior.

Current building facade

The DA states that the reactivation of the Elizabeth Street streetscape and the recalling of the splendour of its more glorious past, is the express intention of the new ownership.

Two new retail tenancies are proposed for the ground floor while a total of seven cinema screens are are proposed on all three levels.

The existing ballroom is to be converted into the largest cinema with 121 seats, preserving the original significant details of the space and creating what could be Brisbane’s most decorated cinema.

Image of original interior detailing
Image of original interior detailing

The proposal has been submitted by the Sourris Family who successfully restored the 1921 heritage New Farm Village Cinemas and opened to the public in December 2014.

Peter and Stephen Sourris also own and operate the Yatala Drive-In Theatre which opened in February 2013.

The DA number for this development is A004482055.

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  • Congratulations on this opportunity to save and value another important piece of Brisbane’s heritage – the Irish Club. Well done to the team and Sourris Family for taking this on. Hopefully the unique character of the building can be saved , as I am sure that place could tell many stories. Cheers Ray

  • Hi,

    If the building was built 137 years ago, it would be Victorian. However, if the facade were originally done in 1928, then it would be Georgian.

    What was the original facade?

  • I think this is great. The only thing i do not like is the street level facade. Pit at street level they could not change it back to what it originally looked like.

  • Thanks for the share! I think this is a great use of a heritage building and in the CBD nonetheless..I’m almost getting NYC Broadway & Chicago street vibes from the facade..also it’s in keeping with the modern era to have street shading, so well done.

    One last note to the cinema owners, please, please, PLEASE include a foreign film cinema!! This would be an unbelievable location and would give Brisbane a much needed dose of constant access to the rich array of film from other countries out there! And I’m not talking like the Palace Barracks…I’m requesting a dedicated foreign film house. If they do so, this could be the future location for foreign film festivals in Brisbane!

    Also, thoughts on in film dining experiences, with service (food + drinks) to your seat? I miss those from the States!

  • So pleased to hear that the ballroom features will be retained as I feared it would be the all-too-frequent ‘facade only’. I hope the application is successful and the theatre allows this characterful building to live again.

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