Melbourne’s famed Bennetts Lane has welcomed a new boutique café to the area, with award winning operator Auction Room recently securing a position in the sought after CBD pocket.
Melbourne-based Auction Room will open its newest café on the ground floor of the three level heritage building at 132 Little Lonsdale Street, in addition to a 71sqm retail offering on the first floor and 70sqm office on the second level.
CBRE’s Zelman Ainsworth negotiated the seven-year lease following a three week campaign that attracted 16 offers from a wide range of retailers. The rental for the 221sqm property is $128,000 per annum.
Mr Ainsworth said the strong level of interest highlighted the area’s growing appeal as a retail destination.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the strong demand from retailers wanting to secure space within this pocket of the CBD,” Mr Ainsworth said.
“We had interest from distillers, breweries, cafes, coffee roasters, wine bars and other creative and boutique retailers that we haven’t previously dealt with,” Mr Ainsworth explained.
Mr Ainsworth said the deal also highlighted strengthening demand from boutique retailers looking for lesser known areas opposed to prime pockets that demand a premium.
“Some retailers are being priced out of prime areas such as Flinders Lane due to the high rents and demand from some of Melbourne’s celebrity restaurateurs,” Mr Ainsworth said.
“However, there are still pockets of the CBD that have great retail fundamentals such as major office and residential populations, close proximity to public transport and Melbourne’s famed ambiance.”
CBRE’s Paul Tzamalis said Bennetts Lane was emerging as one of the CBD’s most popular destinations, with a recent upturn in the number of developers and investors looking to secure a footprint in the area.
The recent sale of 22-24 Bennetts Lane attracted strong interest, with it being the most searched property on real.commercial.com.au for the one month period it was online.
“The Bennetts Lane property not only attracted interest from developers, which it was eventually sold to, but from investors looking for something different and a little left of field in the CBD,” Mr Tzamalis said.
“This end of Little Lonsdale Street represents a similar precinct to what Flinders Lane and Little Collins Street once was before major tenants came into the area. The likes of Trunk Bar and Gami Chicken are two of a handful of longstanding operators in the area who have already demonstrated the ability for retail to succeed and be sustained – especially with the hotel, residential and corporate office demographic mix in the area.”
The area is also set to benefit from a flurry of development over the coming years, with Leighton and Uniting Church undertaking a $450 million project to link Lonsdale and Little Lonsdale streets.
“There was a lot of confidence that this activation into Little Lonsdale Street would stimulate new and revitalised retail activity in the area.”
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