Retailers remain keen to secure a shop on Swanston Street despite the impending construction works created by the $11 billion Metro.
A string of shops between Little Collins and the Bourke Street Mall, including the last of Melbourne’s old coffee lounges, the Golden Tower, have been leased to new retailers.
The Golden Tower Restaurant closed last years after 63 years at 145 Swanston Street. Photo: Drew Ryan
The Golden Tower, replete with red vinyl seating, closed last year after 63 years. While the quality of food it served had declined over the years, it was one of Melbourne’s rare 24-7 cafes and always busy.
Fitzroys’ agent Terence Yeh, who negotiated the deals, said there was plenty of enquiry for the space at 145 Swanston Street, especially from Asian eateries, but the kitchen was in a “terrible condition” and the shop was completely refurbished last year.
Expanding games and puzzles retailer Mind Games, which already has a shop at 244 Swanston Street, has moved into the space paying $300,000 a year.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty about what’s happening on Swanston Street because of a lack of communication about the Metro construction works but the existing retailers are trading well and are willing to risk it,” Mr Yeh said.
The CBD’s vacancy figure, calculated by Savills Australia at the end of 2016, was around 3.3 per cent.
Next door to the new Mind Games, at 143 Swanston Street, a shop selling ugg boots, known as the Original Ugg Australia Classic, has taken over bong shop Off Ya Tree.
The ugg boot retailer has signed a 10-year lease paying $260,000 a year with 4 per cent annual increases. Ugg’s move comes as three outlets selling the iconic boots on Little Collins Street have shut.
In another sign of the strip’s changing face, a souvenirs shop at 137 Swanston Street, has been replaced by Simply Health, a Western Australia health foods and supplements retailer.
Simply Health is moving into the space between Gorman on the Little Collins Street corner and footwear retailer Hype DC and paying $300,000 a year with 3 per cent annual increases.
Recent research from the City of Melbourne shows city workers, residents and students have increased their spending in the city by 16 per cent to $3.03 billion.