Lift Shaft The Newest Addition To Melbourne’s Laneway Scene

Posted on 23rd November 2020

10 26 Equitable Plc Exterior01

An unused lift shaft is the latest addition to the Melbourne CBD’s world-famous laneway hospitality culture.

And at just 7sqm, it is also one of its smallest.

The space at Equitable Place, at the rear of 107 Elizabeth Street, has been leased to Mörk Chocolate Brew House in a deal negotiated by Fitzroys Associate Director, James Lockwood. The 3+3+3+3-year deal was struck at $17,000 per annum gross on behalf of a private investor.

Mörk will bring its specialty hot chocolate offering as a point of difference to the city, Lockwood said. They are currently in North Melbourne and their artisan, single-origin hot chocolate has developed a cult following.

Lockwood said the deal was the result of advice from Fitzroys to the property’s owners to cut out an opening window onto Equitable Place from the unused lift shaft at the back of the building.

“This was basically a value-add play to the property by adding more income,” he said.

“Hospitality operators have witnessed heightened demand for takeaway services throughout the CBD and across Melbourne during the COVID period. This extends from restaurant meals, casual lunches, through to coffee and liquor.

“As a result, demand has grown for smaller spaces with an emphases on takeaway services. In this case, some creativity was required to bring that opportunity to life.”

Lockwood said the tenant was not alone in looking for hole-in-the-wall opportunities.

“We actually had five offers on the property, highlighting the amount of tenants looking to secure a space like this.

“It’s likely there will be more types of these deals going forward.”

The deal is the third lease to a hospitality operator in several weeks in the popular laneway. Lockwood recently leased 12 Equitable Place to an Asian restaurant, and 10/26 Equitable Place to a café.

“Hospitality operators have been keenly anticipating the return of hustle and bustle to the CBD. Enquiry for suitable spaces has been growing steadily as Melbourne moved closer to reopening.”

“Hospitality operators willing to commit to these deals is a clear vote of confidence in Melbourne’s CBD, and of the contribution its iconic laneways make towards the city’s global reputation as a cultural and lifestyle hotspot ,” Lockwood said.

The Asian restaurant moving into 12 Equitable Place also has an existing presence in North Melbourne and is now pushing into the CBD, while the operator of the café going into 10/26 Equitable Place has run another café in the CBD with another team previously, and is looking to venture out onto his own.

“All three of these properties have been leased to tenants with previous ventures, and each has shown an appreciation for the unique opportunities presented to operators in having a CBD laneway location,” Lockwood said.

Other city laneway leases recently secured have included Fitzroys’ five-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 fronts Manchester Lane.

Across Flinders Lane, Freechoice Tobacconist has leased a 38sq space at Bible House, on the corner of Scott Alley.