One of Lygon Street’s most recognisable landmarks, the magnificent Commercial Bank of Australia building has been given a new lease of life as the heart of the famous strip undergoes a generational change.
National liquor store Vintage Cellars has transformed the ground floor of the National Trust-listed building at 259-261 Lygon Street, Carlton, into a flagship standalone retail site.
Fitzroys Associate Director, Chris James negotiated the six-year lease with options at $130,000 per annum.
Most recently home to the Commonwealth Bank, the two-storey building was constructed in 1873 in a Renaissance Revival style designed by renowned architect Lloyd Tayler.
The flagship features Vintage Cellars’ newest store design, and the former “strong-room”, or safe, has been thoughtfully transformed into “The Vault”, featuring prestige wines and whiskeys.
The distinctive arched windows previously blacked out for CBA’s ATMs have been reinstated with clear glazing.
“This revitalisation across the building’s wide 12.5-metre frontage has instantly activated this prime section of Lygon Street,” James said.
He said Vintage Cellars demonstrated their faith in one of Melbourne’s most famous locations by signing a long-term lease.
“The current COVID environment was not a deterrent. Discussions for this property have been ongoing for some time and the lease was finalised during the current Stage 4 lockdown,” James said.
“Operators are anticipating the return of inner-city activity.
Lygon Street is a popular lifestyle destination for Melbourne’s densely-population inner-north, which will be given a further boost over time with the return of visitors from across Melbourne, tourists, and the 50,000 local and international students that attend Melbourne University and RMIT.”
Considered an essential service, Vintage Cellars has been able to trade throughout the COVID period since opening.
Late last year, James leased the next door property at 263 Lygon Street to modern Asian eatery Lagoon Dining, headed by former Ezard and Longsong chefs and which has continued trading to much acclaim throughout the lockdown period.
“Together, these leases have maintained a focal point of activity in the prime of Lygon Street.
“A new generation of bar, restaurant and food and beverage operators has brought a fresh twist to Lygon Street and Carlton, and demand for more distinct offerings has enhanced its unique character.”
Other recent entrants to the precinct include the re-opened King & Godfree building, Israeli-influenced vegetarian pub Green Man’s Arms, wine bar Lord Lygon, Hakata Gensuke, Leonardo’s Pizza Palace and Tooborac Pies & Beer, all of which are still operating in the COVID environment.