Leasing deals fall into place

A flurry of pre-holiday season lease deals are being finalised across all sectors as property owners and tenants wind up the year.

A flurry of pre-holiday season lease deals are being finalised across all sectors as property owners and tenants wind up the year.

The Australian Institute of Management, which sold its headquarters in St Kilda to Pace Development Group for $17 million in September, will move into 1250 square metres at 380 La Trobe Street, the group announced this week.

AIM will occupy the 20th floor of the building under a deal finalised by Bolton Property's Tim Bolton and Shane Burns from CBRE.

Much of this year's tenant activity has been driven by companies wanting to relocate to take advantage of expiring leases rather than for businesses' expansion, agents and tenant representatives said.

"During the year, there was some reluctance from people to do anything. In the last three months there's been a bit of an uptick," Savills Australia's Mark Rasmussen said.

Commercial agency CBRE will move to an activity-based work model at new headquarters in 8 Exhibition Street in April, leasing the top 1 floors of the CBD tower.

The firm has signed a 10-year lease for 2500 square metres, managing director Matt Haddon said.

Industry sources suggest ANZ is close to finalising a decision on the 20,000 square metres it needs when its Kings Way call centre lease expires in 2016. And American Insurance Group may fill a large hole in St Kilda Road's vacancy if it takes 8000 square metres as expected at 509 St Kilda Road.

Other activity includes RMIT University taking two top floors in BHP's former headquarters at 180 Lonsdale Street, industry sources said.

The newly formed Linking Melbourne Authority has also taken space in the same building, which is owned by the Commonwealth Property Office Fund, itself the subject of a heated takeover by GPT Group and rival Dexus Property Group.

Retailers The Good Guys and Country Road snapped up office space in Essendon and Collingwood for new headquarters, Colliers International's Rob Joyes said.

The Good Guys will move into a 6000-square-metre office in Essendon Fields vacated by dairy co-operative Murray Goulburn.

"The Good Guys are consolidating from three separate buildings in Airport West to a new building at 15 Vaughan Street," Mr Joyes said.

They are believed to be paying slightly less than Murray Goulburn's $2 million net annual rent.

Witchery will relocate alongside parent company Country Road to 1490 square metres in Australand's building 10 at 658 Church Street.

And in the luxury retail sector, CBRE's Zelman Ainsworth said: "The second half of 2013 has certainly seen a major pick-up in the Melbourne CBD retail market."
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