A historic Italian restaurant property on St Pauls Terrace, Fortitude Valley, could be moved to St Osyth Street in Toowong should a change to a development application get approval.
Berson Properties Pty Ltd initially requested to demolish the house at 240 St Pauls Terrace where the Mama Luigi’s used to operate. The restaurant stopped operating in the 1980s, but the name still brings many dear memories to those who remember. To many, back in the day, it was the first time they tasted Italian cuisine.
Mama Luigi’s was the first Italian restaurant in the whole of Brisbane. Historians also believe that this may have been the first foreign food restaurant in the city.
When the developer proposed to demolish the property, many locals voiced their opposition. The house is not heritage listed and the only protection it has is its inclusion in the Pre-1911 building overlay. The property was added to the Brisbane City Plan Pre-1911 list on 1 December 2017.
Possible Move to Toowong
Because of the Pre-1911 building protection, the developer is now proposing a transfer of the property to 15 St Osyth Street in Toowong. The Toowong site owner, J Hutchinson Pty Ltd, has consented to the proposed transfer.
The proposed site for the transfer currently has an existing dwelling house, which was built after 1946. Since the existing property is not heritage-listed and does not fall under Pre-1911 building overlay or commercial character building overlay, Berson Properties is proposing to demolish it to accommodate the former Mama Luigi’s house.
Berson Properties believes that the Toowong site is suitable for the Pre-1911 property as it is subject to the Traditional Building Character Overlay. This, the developer says, will ensure that the building character will be secured.
Despite what seems to be a compromise, people opposed to the demolition are still not happy with the proposed transfer.
Councillor Jared Cassidy believes that the building should be retained at its original location. He thinks that the proposed transfer would remove the property from the site where it is associated and such action would just be as bad as demolition.
The council has done an initial review of the change in the DA. It is asking the applicant to provide further details about the protection of the building during relocation as well as other issues such as flood risk, a tree that could be removed and existing stormwater infrastructure in the Toowong site.