Melbourne’s retail revival continues with the announcement that the Australia On Collins shopping centre will be turned into a new luxury precinct.
The refurbishment will take approximately 18 months to complete and will see the expansion of retail space in the area to attract international and local designers. The new precinct will be renamed St. Collins Lane.
The refurbishment will cost $30 million, with St. Collins Lane likely to be valued at roughly $200 million upon completion.
Development and leasing will be a collaboration between LaSalle Investment Management (LIM) and CBRE while Ashton Raggatt McDougall (ARM) architecture will be behind the art deco building's makeover.
ARM was also commissioned to complete the redevelopment of Melbourne Central in 2006, where the firm revived the centre with an urban-focused design.
St. Collins Lane will grow from 7,799 square metres to 9,000 square metres and will offer “60 exclusive tenancies in a light-drenched, sophisticate and urban shopping environment designed by ARM architects," LIM’s Matthew Bailey told SMH.
The makeover will see the centre move from five to four levels, removing the currently slanted "half floors" which offer difficult navigation for shoppers. High ceilings, flexible floor space and clear sight views from the centre's two entrances (Collins Street and Little Collins Street) will blur the boundaries between the indoors and the outdoors.
The new precinct will utilise its Collins Street and Little Collins laneway entrances while also serving as a trail through the city beginning at the opulent and leafy Collins Street and stretching to meet Melbourne's renowned laneway culture in Little Collins.
Current Australia on Collins tenants are expected to be out of the centre by May with work on the project set to begin this year.
Melbourne is also preparing for the opening of Emporium, a $1.2 billion luxury centre on Lonsdale Street which is slated to open within weeks. Emporium is set to house 225 stores, including international brands Uniqlo, Zoo York and UCLA.
H&M opened this week in Melbourne's iconic GPO building, occupying three floors and almost 5,000 square metres of retail space.