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Conquering the city divide

RETAILING in the southern part of Docklands is coming of age, and as in Melbourne's central business district, it is developing into distinct precincts, according to leasing agents Fitzroys.

RETAILING in the southern part of Docklands is coming of age, and as in Melbourne's central business district, it is developing into distinct precincts, according to leasing agents Fitzroys.

The basic division is north and south of Etihad Stadium: New Quay, Waterfront City and the movie studios are to the north, and a range of major office and residential projects are to the south, lining the extensions of Bourke and Collins streets.

Fitzroys, which has been leasing Docklands retail since construction of the first NAB building in 2003, believes the hard yards have been done in the south. Director Rick Berry said amenities now included a Woolworths supermarket, specialty shops in Merchant Street, and personal services such as hairdressers, drycleaners, pharmacies and food and beverage.

The southern area has several defined localities. The Victoria Harbour precinct includes Merchant Street and the NAB, Myer and ANZ headquarters, while the precinct south of Etihad Stadium has retailing at Victoria Point adjacent to Southern Cross Station and the Bourke Street concourse, in the new 60,000-square-metre NAB Building under construction.

National Foods, GTV 9 and Watergate are on Bourke Street, while Fairfax, Medibank, VicUrban and AMP/AXA are on Collins Street, which is also home to the huge new Collins Square project. This has two new buildings underway for the Australian Tax Office, Marsh Australia and Pearson publishing, and they include a big retail component.

There are about 450,000 square metres of occupied and soon-to-be-completed office space between Etihad Stadium and Flinders Street.

Fitzroys retail leasing agent Andrew Hewett said in a typical occupancy ratio more than 30,000 people would work in the precinct. As well, the 2500 apartments in Docklands meant there were many local shoppers.

Existing retailers such as In a Rush, Aki Sushi and Senshi had begun taking up multiple sites in other pockets of Docklands, tapping into the different precincts and markets within the district.

"Inquiry is mainly from the hospitality and personal services sectors," Hewett said.

Fitzroys has just leased two shops at the Myer building, which is now fully tenanted. Remo Nicolini, who started Little Bourke Street's Italian icon 39, has just committed to a new outlet.

The last shop in Lend Lease's Gauge building has been leased and CBD operator The Tuck Shop is close to finalising another deal nearby.

Colliers International retail executive Ben Tremellen agreed that the area around Collins and Bourke streets was buoyant.

"I've done deals on the Collins and Bourke side," he said.

"There is a lot of demand from retail and food tenants."


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