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International Retailer Puts Faith In Melbourne CBD Rebound

Posted on 20th October 2020

Ftz 234 Flinders 1756

Retailers are taking a long-term view beyond the current COVID environment, with an international health, beauty and wellness products retailer the latest to commit to a Melbourne CBD space.

Fitzroys Director, Rick Berry negotiated the 5-year lease of Shop 3, 234 Flinders Lane to FR International, part of FRONTROW Enterprise Philippines, Inc.

The 39sqm space within the historic Manchester House was leased at $60,000 per annum, or $1,538 per sqm, plus GST with 4% annual increases, and one month rent-free.

Designed by architects Bates, Peebles & Smart, Manchester House was constructed over 1911 and 1912 on the corner of Flinders Lane and Manchester Lane, and is a pre-eminent example of the many rag-trade warehouses that dominated the area in the first half of the 20th century.

“This shop is on the Manchester Lane frontage, and is ideally placed for a tenant like FR International who was seeking an iconic and recognisable location for their first representation in Melbourne,” Berry said.

He said the space provided a central retail core location, while at a lower rent than street frontage shops.

FRONTROW began its Australian operations in Sydney in July, 2019, and has 90 branches in the Philippines, as well as branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, Singapore, London and Hawaii. Among its products are Australian-made health supplements, cosmetics made in Korea, and soaps made in the Philippines.

Berry said all inspections and the finalising of the transaction all took place during the first round COVID restrictions.

“A retailer with international experience committing to a secure lease at this time demonstrates the confidence businesses have in Melbourne’s CBD beyond the current environment,” Berry said.

Manchester House is opposite the corner of Royston Place, which will form part of the entrance of the future Town Hall Station, part of the $11 billion Metro Tunnel project that will reshape the Melbourne CBD.

“The current lockdown in Melbourne is presenting retailers with an opportunity to consider and undertake new fit-outs ahead of the return of higher pedestrian traffic in the future,” Berry said.

Other retailers have just taken up space in close proximity to Manchester House. The location is metres from Degraves Street and Centre Place, while Melbourne City Council has just introduced more pedestrian-friendly traffic conditions along Flinders Lane as the CBD moves towards reopening.