Byron Street A Boon For Footscray’s Boom

Posted on 27th January 2018

47-61 Byron Street, Footscray 
Footscray’s hospitality and retail evolution has taken its next step, with the Maribyrnong Council’s Byron Street development fully leased ahead of opening. 

It has facilitated the entry of established brands to the area, including the newly-opened Huxtaburger and Japanese eatery Don Don, as well as giving another chance to operators displaced by the fire that destroyed the iconic Little Saigon Market late last year. 

The 47-61 Byron Street building comprises a public square, eight ground-level retail spaces covering a combined 700 sqm - five fronting Byron Street and three fronting the new plaza - and 124 car spaces across four levels. 

The project is located in the Footscray CBD, near the corner of Nicholson Street and Hopkins Street, and opposite the Little Saigon Market site. 

Fitzroys Director Rick Berry was responsible for leasing the project with colleague Terence Yeh, on behalf of the Maribyrnong City Council. 

Berry said he was not expecting such a strong outcome. 

“The location had its challenges, and positioning a new street frontage project into a traditional retail location can sometimes alienate local traders. But Footscray embraced the project and we have secured a range of high quality operators,” he said. 

“The combination of a well known brand like Huxtaburger with the likes of Gong Cha, Hot Star and Don Don, as well as local operators has given the project a very strong offer.” 

The tenants also include a Chinese café and a pharmacy that were displaced by the Little Saigon fire, and a hair salon. 

Tenancies range from 57 sqm to 170 sqm and the hospitality outlets have been able to make use of outdoor seating areas that come with the north facing site. Huxtaburger and Don Don have taken the two corner spaces fronting Byron Street, while Hot Star fronts the plaza and Gong Cha the plaza pavilion. 

Rental rates are in the range of $550 per sqm to $650 per sqm, with 4% annual increases. 
Berry said the development had also played the vital role of activating more space in the Footscray CBD. New residential developments being introduced to the area, the upgraded railway station, ongoing strength of the Victorian University campuses, and a major new A- grade office project at McNabb Avenue were bringing more people to the precinct across more hours of the day and into the night. 

He said the traditionally strong presence of Vietnamese and African hospitality operators in Footscray had been complemented by a new influx of retailers, café, restaurant and nightlife offerings as a result.

The project also gave the Council the opportunity to increase car parking provision, following its decision two years ago to take away parking metres, and add high amenity public open space. 

“There are many examples of restaurants and cafes in parkland owned by Council, and in this case the Council has addressed the need for public car parking and at the same time introduced contemporary retailing to Footscray CBD, developed an income-producing asset and also provided an activated street level retail frontage that is preferable to car parking at ground level,” Berry said.