It’s a telling tale of the new media landscape that the national broadband provider, NBN Co, will largely occupy the building.
An NBN Co spokesperson confirmed it has signed a sublease on 5600 square metres – levels 1-3 – for five years, starting on July 1, 2019. NBN Co has occupied levels levels 4-6 since 2013.
New space at 655 Collins Street will be used to house employees relocating from 5,200 sq m across the road at 750 Collins Street Melbourne, he said.
“NBN Co has grown its presence in Melbourne over the years as we’ve scaled up our business, but this has also led to some fragmentation of our office space,” he said.
Media House when completed in 2009. Credit:Wayne Taylor
NBN recently moved into 20,000 sq m at Collins Square’s Tower 5 and occupies 14,000 sq m at Melbourne Central.
Grocon built Media House for Fairfax’s Melbourne operations in 2009, selling it soon after to the Commonwealth Property Office Fund for around $110 million. It is now owned by GPT Wholesale Office Fund, worth around $154.5 million and known by its address, 655 Collins Street.
GPT declined to comment on the tenant merry-go-round.
Journalists and advertising staff once filled all 16,600 sq m of the building. But years of redundancies have reduced occupancy to just two floors. Macquarie Media – 3AW – will remain after June, holed up in its radio studios on the top floor, sharing space with community newspapers.
Nine occupies several floors of 717 Bourke Street.
Taiwan’s dessert restaurant chain Jenjudan Milk Tea is making its first foray into Melbourne’s ever-evolving culinary landscape.
Jenjudan has signed up for a 170 sq m shop at 389 Bourke Street, paying $243,000 a year in rent, a rate of $1400 a sq m.
The deal was done by CBRE agents Zelman Ainsworth, Tan Thach and Leon Ma.
Jenjudan has 29 stores globally and is looking to bite into the broader local market.
New dessert restaurant for 389 Bourke Street.
A Singaporean investor is so keen on the local culinary market that he has bought the freehold for his new restaurant on the city fringe.
Fitzroys agents Jordan Ceppi and Chris James have sold the vacant 526 Swanston Street shop in Carlton for $1.5 million.
The 125 sq m space is at the foot of a high-rise mixed use building. Mr Ceppi said the sales campaign generated more than 80 enquiries.
“This is a future-proof property positioned between RMIT University and Melbourne University campuses,” he said.
526 Swanston Street, Carlton
“The vacant premises offered a blank canvas for the purchaser to create their own offering,” he said.
Among the new restaurant concepts refreshing the city’s strips is bubble tea.
Prime’s Hai recently leased the 73 sq m shop at 299 Elizabeth Street at a record rate of $3150 a sq m.
And dessert chain Hui Lau Sahan from Hong Kong is also paying a record $400,000 a year for 423-425 Elizabeth Street.
Discount retailer Kmart is preparing to upstakes in the inner north’s sub-regional shopping centre, Northcote Plaza.
Kmart, owned by Wesfarmers, confirmed it will vacate the space in November 2022 when the lease expires.
The retailer declined to expand on the reasons driving its departure from the Plaza, a sprawling centre on Separation Street, built in the early 80s on the site of a former brickworks and tip.
A Kmart spokesperson confirmed it is a one-off closure and not the beginning of a programme to shrink the discount retailer, which suffered a fall in sales this year after a bumper decade.
However, it does closely follow Woolworths’ recent decision to shut 30 Big W discount stores and Target’s plan to close 20 per cent of its outlets.
Despite Northcote’s unstoppable gentrification, the 18,000 sq m centre is in dire need of a revamp – a difficult job given the shops have been strata-titled so it is owned piecemeal by dozens of individual investors.
The centre is anchored by two Coles supermarkets and the Kmart – both of which were owned by Wesfarmers until last year. Coles is now listed separately on the stock exchange.
The twin Coles situation is rare but not unique. When, the Bi-Lo, near Kmart, closed in 2006, Coles simply opened another supermarket.
The move is a remnant of the old supermarket leasing battles between Woolworths and Coles where the retailers would pay twice the operating costs rather than let the competition get a toehold.
Despite the Plaza’s subdued atmosphere, there’s no shortage of investors wanting to own a piece.
Last month Gorman Commercial agent Tom Maule sold the Specsavers – shop 27 – at auction for $1.1 million on a yield of 5.3 per cent.
Specsavers at Northcote Plaza.
Sweet Party Supplies – shop 32 – goes to auction next month through Hocking Stuart.
History suggests the Plaza could be more valuable if owned by a single party. In 2017, a family trust controlled by local agent Michael Bonadio paid $34 million for the neighbouring 6657 sq m Northcote Central, which is positioned in front of the Plaza on the High Street corner.
Nicole Lindsay is a property reporter at The Age.