Centre Road Lures Fish & Chips Specialists

Posted on 03rd September 2021

The high-performing Centre Road, Bentleigh shopping strip has lured popular fish and chips specialists Hunky Dory on a long-term deal, as food and beverage operators continue to dominate leasing activity along Melbourne’s shopping strips.

Fitzroys’ Tom Fisher landed the 7+7-year lease for 448 Centre Road at $70,000 per annum on behalf of a private owner.

The flexible 135sqm property is in the absolute prime of the strip, adjacent to a busy pedestrian crossing and near Bentleigh train station, allowing for maximum exposure.

With a focus serving healthier seafood and fish and chips, Hunky Dory has established itself as one of Melbourne’s most popular fish and chip destinations. It has grown to 14 locations across the city, with further sites in Byron Bay and on the Gold Coast, and became a staple of Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady’s daily diet as she quarantined ahead of the tournament.

Fisher said Centre Road, Bentleigh is an emerging food and beverage destination, with a range of cafés and eateries ranging from local operators that include Little Tommy Tucker - voted the best brunch spot across Port Phillip, Stonnington and Caulfield regions - Miss Ruby and Fifth Chapter, and through to ASX-listed Domino’s.

“Hospitality operators have dominated retail leasing enquiry throughout Melbourne’s shopping strips during the COVID period, as demand has surged for takeaway and delivery services while Melburnians go through intermittent lockdowns,” he said.

Some 50% of leases struck by Fitzroys along Melbourne’s shopping strips in the first half of the year were to food and beverage operators, well above the average food and beverage presence of 28.4% Melbourne-wide, according to Fitzroys’ new Walk the Strip report. Hospitality businesses made up a huge portion of the enquiry, Fisher said.

Glen Eira Council has just finalised plans for its Bentleigh Eat Street. This will see 2,400sqm of public space and side streets activated by cafés, restaurants, bars, outdoor seating, and supported by the extension of trading hours, and add depth to the linear retail strip.

Food and beverage has played a central role in commercial activity along the strip. Fisher and colleague Mark Talbot recently sold the homes of Little Tommy Tucker and Domino’s on sharp yields of 3.3% and 3.1% respectively. Each has long-term leases with options.

“Investors and tenants alike are recognising the strong fundamentals that have made Centre Road, Bentleigh one of Melbourne’s best-performing shopping strips, and Hunky Dory’s long-term commitment is the latest vote of confidence,” Fisher said. Walk the Strip showed Centre Road’s vacancy rate is among Melbourne’s lowest. At 5.3%, it is lower than its 7.1% rate in 2019 and 6.2% heading into the pandemic.

“Centre Road has proved the power of supermarket anchors with not one, but three supermarkets driving its outperformance during COVID, while the State Government’s rail crossing removal initiative has enhanced its already-high accessibility with a large volume of on-street and Council car parking, Bentleigh train station and multiple bus routes.”