New Chinatown forming in CBD north

By Sunny Liu

The CBD’s retail precinct is shifting from Bourke St to the northern side, forming a new “Chinatown” in the CBD’s north. 

According to CBRE’s retail leasing team, 15 offers were made from Asian retailers in four weeks wanting to secure tenancies in the north part of the CBD.

CBRE said retail rents within this precinct of the CBD, marked by Therry and A’Beckett streets, have surged by as much as 70 per cent with a zero per cent vacancy rate.

CBRE’s retail leasing specialist, Tan Thach, said the large number Asian students living in this part of the CBD had driven the retail activity.

“This in turn is creating the pent-up demand from both local and international retailers to secure space in this pocket of the Melbourne CBD, which is heavily influenced by international students living within close proximity to RMIT and Melbourne University,” he said.

The shop at 55-59 A’Beckett St has recently been leased at $400,000 per annum, which has more than doubled despite the closure of the intersection at Swanston and A’Beckett streets due to Metro Tunnel works.

Chinese hospitality operator Da Long Yi has recently leased the 226sqm space at 398 Elizabeth St at a record $400,000 on a 10-year lease.

This area has also long attracted strong interest from Asian developers, with ICD, Aspial, UEM, Golden Age, Hengyi and Mammoth building ultra-high skyscrapers in the precinct.

Mr Thach said the arrivals of Asian retailers and residential developments had essentially turned this part of the CBD into a new retail centre and a new “Chinatown”.

“This northern quadrant of the CBD has by far been the location of choice for the largest Asian developers and retailers.”

“This has been supported by the influx of Chinese international students and tourists in the northern pocket of the CBD,” he said.

Apart from retail leasing deals, a lot of residential and commercial properties have recently or are being sold in this area, such as 422 Queen St and 132-140 Franklin St.

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