Its 1,300 square meter retail space, large by Collins Street retail standards, is the result of a bold multi-year real estate play by the majority owner of the strata-titled building.
Over a period of years, one of the CBD’s largest private owners, Harry Chua, racked up several small titles in the McPherson building to take control of the ground floor which, before the pandemic, was filled with a chaotic mix of ramshackle restaurants for lunch.
The 10-year master lease for the premium space was negotiated under a license agreement with the Italian owners of Mercato Centrale through Michael Di Carlo, Stephanie Harding and Cam Taranto of Cushman & Wakefield.
Ms Harding said there were a number of inquiries from several big box operators looking for space at this end of town. “The rejuvenation of the western core from the multiple developments along Collins Street will provide many new retail opportunities,” she said.
The operator behind the license, Eddie Muto, will start outfitting the new site with input from the franchise’s Italian owners and expects it to open before the end of the year.
Mr Muto’s Barman & Larder group has launched many restaurants and hospitality venues in Melbourne including Flour Child in St Kilda, Left Bank on South Bank, Metropolis Events and Q Events.
The purpose of the space was to make it easy for high-quality artisans to sell their wares, he said.
“We build and pay for everything. The only thing they are responsible for is their product and their people. It helps people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to open a store,” he said.
The place will have a typical Roman accent, to the point where visitors will be greeted in Italian.
Mr. Muto said he holds the Mercato Centrale license for Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan and intends to open at least one store in each of these countries over the next few years. next five years.
Two major developments are underway on the same downtown block as McPhersons.
Next door, US real estate giant Hines has scrapped plans for a Zaha Hadid-designed building – which was to be the country’s first Mandarin Oriental hotel – at 600 Collins Street and replaced it with an office tower of more than a billion dollars.
Hines’ first foray into Melbourne will involve uprooting several small rentals that operate on the ground floor of the building where they serve pedestrians traveling to and from Southern Cross station.
And on the corner of King and Collins, Charter Hall is well advanced on a 34-storey high-end office tower, the first stage of its redevelopment of 555 Collins which will eventually create 84,000 sq m of high-end office space and more than 2,300 m² of retail space in a 1.5 billion dollar project.
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