Roof space on Flinders Street attracts city childcare tenant

The children of city office workers are set to get another rooftop early learning centre. Due to high demand, the number of child care spaces has doubled in the past eight years.

The children of city office workers are set to get another rooftop early learning centre. Due to high demand, the number of child care spaces has doubled in the past eight years.

But despite the increase, there are still relatively few centres to cater for the thousands of office workers who descend on the city each day - just eight, according to data compiled by the City of Melbourne.

A new childcare centre will open in September at 276 Flinders Street, close to the station.

CBRE's Mark Bolis, who negotiated the lease on behalf of property owner Fivex, said the childcare tenant was attracted by the possibility of creating a play area on 810 square metres of outdoor rooftop space.

The remaining lease will take up 550 sq m of converted office space indoors on the fourth level of the 15-storey building with access to the outdoor area above the building's podium.

The commercial office tower is near Federation Square.

All childcare centres are required to match 7 sq m of outdoor space with every 3.25 sq m of internal area, limiting potential locations in high-value CBD buildings.

Another other city venue, Kids on Collins, also features a "playground in the sky".

"There is huge demand for early learning sites in Melbourne," Mr Bolis said. "But it does make it difficult in the CBD because they do need a large outdoor play area."

As office vacancy rates rise, more landlords were considering alternate uses for their property and using available roof space if possible, he said.

The prohibitive costs of establishing a centre and difficulty of finding space meant it was unlikely there would ever be enough centres to fully service the needs of city workers, Child Care Victoria CEO Frank Cusmano said.

Parents who commute needed to look at alternative venues, either nearer home or on the way to work, Mr Cusmano said.

The City of Melbourne has a waiting list of 387 children for its five early learning centres, only one of which is located in the CBD in A'Beckett Street.

The new Flinders Street centre took a 10-year lease on initial rent of $350,000 net per annum, with 3.5 per cent increases each year.

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