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Disruption to the City Square during work for the $11 billion Melbourne Metro Rail has rattled the windows of a nearby luxurious penthouse and one celebrity resident has already been transported to "hell" over access to her private car park.
Pettifleur Berenger, star of the The Real Housewives of Melbourne, lives in a multi-million-dollar penthouse with sweeping views of the city, and is angry about the City Square being turned into a construction site.
"It's going to be hell," Ms Berenger said about the noise, dirt and interruption from the eight-year construction that begins in 2018 but will affect locals from 2017.
"It's going to be a nightmare."
The sassy reality TV personality added: "It's going to suck and I hope they don't have enough funds to do it."
But Ms Berenger, a property developer, stressed that there were pros and cons to everything. "I could look out my balcony window in eight years and go 'Wow'," she said.
The Westin Hotel, St Paul's cathedral and a tram. Disruption looms for what is "arguably the nicest part of the city".
Ms Berenger asked whether the rail project's billions could not be used for other projects, such as fixing traffic congestion.
Another CBD resident, Dr Paul A. Incani, lives in an apartment atop the Westin and described the project as a "debacle" for the hotel, guests and residents given most rooms face the City Square.
Fairfax Media asked the Westin about the impact on the hotel and a spokeswoman said: "The Westin Melbourne has no comment."
Gerard Kelly has decided to close his three bars in the City Square. Photo: Simon Schluter
Dr Incani said: "Melbourne Metro's proposal is enormously disruptive and will damage what is arguably the nicest part of the city."
He is also concerned about access to his private car park that is reached via the public City Square car park on Flinders Lane.
Residents who paid up to $5 million for an apartment received a car park and the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority told Fairfax Media that "many parts of the private car park won't be accessible" for up to 12 months from 2017.
A Melbourne Metro Rail map of the CBD South station affecting Brunetti and the City Square.
"Melbourne Metro Rail Authority is consulting with the City of Melbourne, the Westin Hotel and apartment owners about the project's likely impacts on public and private car parking under City Square as design work progresses on a new underground train station under Swanston Street at this location," a spokesman said.
There are concerns for the viability of the City Square given it has finally found its groove after being a desolate showcase for the Yellow Peril in the 1980s.
Following Brunetti's decision to relocate from the City Square, bar owner Gerard Kelly told Fairfax Media that he would have to close his three venues Three Below, Caboose Canteen and La Vita Buona.
After meeting with the rail authority on Wednesday, Mr Kelly concluded the City Square would be "shut down" for construction and it would be impossible to continue trading.
"We have obligations to our staff but that's hard to do without any certainty," he said.
Mr Kelly is looking for new sites but had hoped to stay on after devoting 12 years to making the City Square a sociable meeting point.
"We've all contributed to the vibe of Melbourne and helped develop an area that was under-utilised."
A Melbourne City Council spokesman said Lord Mayor Robert Doyle was on leave and unable to comment.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/metro-rail-sends-real-housewife-pettifleur-berenger-on-a-journey-to-hell-20160113-gm4qar.html#ixzz3xC7lrFoS
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This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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