Melbourne CBD buyer confidence
Retailer confidence in Melbourne’s CBD back on the rise, seeing ambitious lease deals undertaken. Image – Canva
  • Melbourne CBD revitalised by increasing retailer confidence and visitor spending
  • Ambitious lease deals being undertaken as city emerges from lockdown
  • Southern Cross Lane, Makers Lane and Little Collins Street welcome new tenants

Melbourne appears to be bouncing back after earning the title of world’s most locked down city, with buyer confidence in the CBD surging.

James Lockwood of commercial real estate agency Fitzroys said CBD activity has spiked since the city emerged from tighter restrictions, and has encouraged a jump in tenant enquiries.

NAB data indicates over $350M was spent in the CBD within three days of reopening and spending has since kept pace, said by Mr Lockwood to be instilling retailer confidence.

“There is now more confidence there will be a sustained period of strong trade given the high vaccination rates, and the evidence of people’s desire to go out and enjoy their freedoms,” Mr Lockwood said.

Unprecedented Southern Cross barber shop

In one of the latest deals exhibiting increasing retailer enthusiasm, a space on Southern Cross Lane has been leased out on a five-year term to be converted to a barber shop.

The deal was negotiated by Fitzroys agents James Lockwood and Ricky Berry, on behalf of the owners and investors Brookfield and Blackstone.

The 95sqm space will be transformed into an unparalleled three-storey barber shop, an idea never seen before in the city’s CBD.

“The concept will bring something truly unique to the CBD and is another example of operators getting creative in order to entice people back to the city as Melbourne reopens.”

James Lockwood, Fitzroys

He added that the retailers commitment to making the vision a reality is a show of confidence in the area, and of the creative ways retailers are working to draw visitors back to the CBD.

“Evidently, we are reopening with a competitive environment in which people will go to the CBD to dine, to have a drink, and to get a haircut, and businesses want to stand out,” he said.

Italian restaurateur expands to Makers Lane

A ten-year lease for a 161sqm space on the new retail strip Makers Lane has also been closed by Fitzroys, with Italian restaurateur Michael Ibrahim taking up tenancy.

Fitzroys campaigned the space on behalf of Brookfield and ISPT for expressions of interest, receiving several offers.

Makers Lane is located below the recently completed NAB head office at 405 Burke Street, and is expected to draw workers to the area.

Makers Lane Melbourne artist impression
Artist impression of Makers Lane, below the new NAB head office. Image – Fitzroys

“Lifestyle and hospitality amenity are among the major drivers that will attract workers to the office at a time in which flexible working arrangements are in vogue,” Mr Lockwood said.

Mr Ibrahim secured the tenancy and plans to expand his Hardware Lane Italian restaurant, Max on Hardware. The popular restaurant will grow from trading five days a week to seven, from two adjoining restaurants and an upstairs function area.

Menswear and mental health moves in to Little Collins Street

Four-month leases have also been negotiated at 186 and 148 Little Collins Street, as part of the Victorian government’s $2.6 million Shopfront Activation Program which provides low or no-cost space to artists and entrepreneurs.

Australian menswear label Informale will take up tenancy at 186 Collins Street, while non-profit mental health provider LIVIN will be based out of 148 Little Collins Lane.

LIVIN is a vendor of apparel that promotes mental health conversations and will also use the space to hold 45 minute mental well-being sessions.

“Melbourne is known for its creativity, and this is an excellent opportunity to showcase some of the its most innovative labels, businesses and organisations as Melburnians reconnect with each other and the city.”

James Lockwood, Fitzroys

Mr Lockwood said Fitzroys is pleased to be involved in the Shopfront Activation Program and assist in revitalising Melbourne’s CBD.

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