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Temporary Stokehouse set for St Kilda

While planning for the new Stokehouse is underway, a temporary house will be erected on the St Kilda foreshore to house the restaurant.

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A pop-up cafe will be built on the site of St Kilda's Stokehouse restaurant, Planning Minister Matthew Guy says, and construction could start within weeks.

The pop-up restaurant, and the permanent building that comes after it, will be run by the Van Haandel Group, which ran the Stokehouse until it burnt down on Friday.

And the empty site, cleared within a day of the popular venue burning down last Friday, will ultimately be the site of a replacement restaurant.

The aftermath of the Stokehouse fire.

The aftermath of the Stokehouse fire. Photo: Ken Irwin

Speaking on Thursday at the vacant site where the Stokehouse stood, Mr Guy again ruled out any competition to design the new structure.

On Monday, he had said he would like to see the Stokehouse replaced with a "more unique" design.

Hundreds of people watched on Friday night as a fire that took hold in the restaurant's kitchen razed the building from around 11pm.

What the temporary Stokehouse restaurant will look like.

What the temporary Stokehouse restaurant will look like.

Mr Guy said that the pop-up restaurant to be built temporarily in its place "will see it able to operate until the process of approving a permanent structure goes through".

Melbourne University architecture expert Philip Goad said this week that Mr Guy seemed to be "washing his hands" of involvement in the site's design by ruling out a public design competition, and was wasting an "exceptional opportunity for an exceptional site".

Mr Guy also ruled out returning the site to public parkland, saying a restaurant had long been there and one would return.

He said there was never any other option considered for the prime waterfront land overlooking St Kilda beach, which has housed a restaurant, cafe or tearoom since the early 1900s.

Port Phillip mayor Amanda Stevens said the pop-up Stokehouse "is a really practical example of our commitment to getting things moving".

Mr Guy said the planning process to see the restaurant rebuilt would be fast-tracked.

The Stokehouse sat on Crown land, and the state government and the council in conjunction with the Van Haandel Group, which in 2011 signed a a 21-year lease over the site, will decide what happens.

The replacement building will be paid for largely by insurance policies the restaurant and government held over the property.

Some architects have said the rebuild provides an excellent opportunity to replace the old St Kilda Life Saving Club building next door too, although neither Mr Guy nor Cr Stevens would be drawn on that on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Guy was also reluctant to talk about the adjacent 1.5-hectare "triangle site", a wedge of land next to the Stokehouse site, The Palais and Luna Park.

Plans for this site sparked fierce community debate over a massive development that was proposed – and later abandoned – on the empty land. The triangle site is now used as a car park.

Cr Stevens said the rebuilding of the Stokehouse provided an opportunity to renew discussion around the fate of the triangle site.

She said rebuilding the triangle land to create a new public space had the potential to be "internationally recognised".