By Rhonda Dredge
Older established tenants of the Flinders Quarter are not as positive about the coming CBD South Metro Station as newcomers.
The new station will involve the demolition of the Port Phillip Arcade but adjacent Scott Alley will remain intact.
“Tenants are still in limbo about their future,” said electrician Robert Evans, who has an office in the basement of the Port Phillip building. There has been talk of compensation but no details about how this will be executed, he said.
Some of the tenants have been in the arcade for 60 years. The most recent lease is six years old. This is in stark contrast to commerce in Scott Alley. According to a spokesman for The Practical Man, a shop that opened just four weeks ago in the alley, leases now have clauses dealing with possible disturbances caused by the demolition.
He imagines a future in which a hoarding closes off the alley at the boundary of the former arcade with a viewing platform potentially attracting those interested in the redevelopment.
Other long-term tenants are not as optimistic. Some are considering closing their businesses because they cannot imagine attracting customers through a demolition site.
The Collected Works bookshop, on the first floor of the nearby Nicholas Building, may close rather than renew its lease. As the only bookshop in the CBD actively involved in supporting the intelligentsia, this would leave a big hole in the culture.
Agent Izzi Goldman is positive, however, about the impact of the work on the Nicholas Building. He says the building is fully occupied apart from two rooms up for lease. He, for one, is inspired by the communal spirit in the building.
Brunetti’s, a welcome stop-off point for those visiting Melbourne’s ever-changing city square, will be relocating indoors in about six months to make way for the first stage of construction.
Their move to the Emirates Building will at least brighten up an austere passage between Flinders Lane and Collins St where businesses have been gradually relocated, leaving nothing but small notes on windows.
Scholarly coaching was once available as were stamps and architectural books.
Where nearby Central Lane is a playground for every hipster, only those with a purpose have bothered to make their way through the passage over the past year.