In a retail 'arms race' of sorts to be left behind is to be vulnerable at present, so with that in mind interests controlling Australia on Collins announced last week that the venerable Melbourne address will be vacated next month in preparation for a new retail experience.
Whilst fellow CBD retail venues such as GPO, Emporium and The Strand have progressively unveiled new redevelopments of late, Australia on Collins will rebirth as St. Collins Lane following a transformation valued at $200 million.
Seeking to usurp all-comers as Collins Street's premier retail destination, the redevelopment will be defined by a new internal laneway running between Collins Street and Little Collins Street. When complete St. Collins Lane will be topped by a large vaulted roof allowing natural light to penetrate throughout while the projects showpiece is "An undulating and sculptural lightscape comprised of neon pendants that will cascade down. A dining terrace on level two will be defined by this lightscape, which is reminiscent of an illuminated canopy of leaves."
Geographically, St. Collins Lane will complete the north-to-south pedestrian path through the city with both entrances attracting a dramatically increased footfall as commuters flood into the city centre.Matthew Bailey, National Director of Development LaSalle Investment Management
St. Collins Lane will now provide a direct linkage and clear sightlines from Collins Street to Little Collins Street. Gone are the days when customers were ʻtrappedʼ in shopping malls. St. Collins Lane has been conceived as a series of boutiques for the 21st century. It is not a traditional shopping centre. It is part arcade and part lane. An intimate experience at the centre of St. Collins Lane, integrated with the urban fabric of the city.Neil Masterton, Design Director of ARM Architecture
We commenced our selective and targeted leasing campaign early 2014, with a strong focus on luxury and international retailers. With Melbourne being one of the hottest markets across the globe for these luxury and international brands the interest has been extremely strong. These brands have confirmed a strong desire for a Collins St address and with limited availability in only 60 retail shops. We are confident of securing a globally recognized tenancy mix.Alistair Palmer, National Director - CBRE Retail Services Group Australia
ARM are no novices when remodeling existing large-scale retail structures, with Melbourne Central the prime example. A light drenched north-south internal laneway, retail spaces over multiple levels and the introduction of glass ceilings are all elements that both retail centres will hold in common, although St. Collins Square fit-outs are expected to be far more decadent given the target tenant profile.
With works due to commence during 2014, St. Collins Lane is expected to open after an 18 month construction period.