Character Office Space Still Popular

Posted on 04th November 2020


The regeneration of Melbourne CBD’s western core is attracting a range of tenants even throughout the COVID period, and character buildings have maintained their popularity.

In the latest deal, Samuel Friend and Stephen Land of Fitzroys leased a 215sqm space on the Lower Ground Floor of the Chicagoesque Bennelong House at 9 Queen Street to D-Labs Solutions.

The two-year lease includes one further term of two years, followed by the three further terms of five years each, at a commencing rent of $65,000 per annum. It includes 4% fixed annual increases each year with a market rent review at the beginning of each further term.

The owner is the Bennelong Foundation.

“The landlord was happy to secure a good quality tenant during the tough COVID-19 lockdown, with the annual increases and market rent reviews presenting opportunities to quickly bring the rent back up to around pre-COVID expectations,” Friend said.

He said the basement spaces in Bennelong House are unique as they each have a fantastic glass atrium. Bennelong House also boasts high ceilings and period features, including a unique old safe now used as a storeroom, and offers end-of-trip facilities.

The stunning heritage-listed Bennelong House, formerly known as the Felton Building, was constructed in 1886 and designed by renowned architect Friedrich Wilhelm Prell.

“We are seeing most of our immediate activity in the sub-500sqm market and there remains an ongoing desire for boutique and character space,” Friend said.

Fitzroys leased the other basement space of 250sqm at the end of 2018 to cloud solutions firm Bourne Digital, and a ground floor space of around 90sqm last summer to solicitor Paul Webster.

D-Labs provides cleaning products for major brands and they recently sold their office and warehouse in Truginina, and wanted to have their office located in central Melbourne.

“The deal also demonstrates that there are tenants willing to take up office space in the CBD, finding a centralised location more beneficial for their staff,” Land said.

He said the concept of the office remains important for workers.

“Being able to have a devoted space away from home that allows for sharing ideas and social interaction remains desirable from economic, production, and lifestyle perspectives.”

Land said major developments through Melbourne’s western core have prompted the increase in enquiry and range of enquiry across industries. As well as Flinders Street Station and multiple tram routes, the property is close to newly-completed major projects, including the dual-tower, office, hotel and residential Collins Arch development at 447 Collins Street, and Mirvac’s Olderfleet at 477 Collins Street.

New towers, such as 555 Collins Street will continue the western core’s evolution in the coming years.