The on-off saga of Moon Dog's attempts to move into the former Franco Cozzo site in Footscray is back on. Following further discussions, the City of Maribyrnong confirmed the brewery has the green light to move in.
Moon Dog co-founder Josh Uljans told The Crafty Pint they'd previously been looking at sites in Footscray and West Footscray before the COVID pandemic arrived, although their interest in the iconic Cozzo building came later.
"It's perfectly located," he says. "It's by the train station, across from Footscray Market, at the beginning of the main drag, and only three kilometres from the CBD.
"It just seemed such an ideal space for us to build our next venue. It's just been a bit of a journey to get there."
The plan is for the Footscray venue to focus purely on hospitality – they won't be installing a brewery here – and, all being well, the 800-capacity venue, which has yet to be named, will be open to the public this coming summer.
"There's a lot of different considerations when you're looking to put something like this into an area like Footscray, where there's a lot of different parties you need to make sure you're working with," Josh says. "It's a process, but it's one that we worked through really productively and have now reached a really good outcome."
The Crafty Pint first reported the brewery's intentions to add another sizeable hospitality venue to their two current sites – the OG Moon Dog in Abbotsford and Moon Dog World in Preston – last December. Then, back in June, the proposal was rejected by the council, leading to further discussions and, now, the go-ahead.
In a statement announcing the decision today, the council said safety concerns around the original application to transform the former Franco Cozzo building on Hopkins Street have now been resolved.
The statement said: "Moon Dog has agreed to manage occupancy to mitigate the risks to large numbers of patrons exiting onto the narrow footpath adjacent to a busy road.
"This means a slight change to the previously proposed hours of operation – from 11am to 11pm Sunday to Thursday – and 1am Friday and Saturday, with a gradual reduction in occupancy after 10pm."
There will also be upgrades to pedestrian fencing and the footpath adjacent to Shelley Street and, subject to VCAT approval, a planning permit is set to be issued shortly.
It's not the only new Moon Dog site in planning either. The brewing company has a planning application in with the Frankston council for another venue overlooking the city's Foreshore.