Dolce & Gabbana store to grace Sydney CBD at 25 Martin Place

Supplied Editorial Artists impression of the retail precinct at 25 Martin Place being redeveloped by Dexus

An artist’s impression of the retail precinct at 25 Martin Place being redeveloped by Dexus.

Top flight luxury brands are looking to defy the impact of lockdowns, with Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana staking a claim to a prime spot in the revamped 25 Martin Place retail precinct.

The famed brand will take up new digs over two levels in the high-end precinct, which is being anchored by Valentino and will sport a series of high end restaurants, banking that city workers will return.

The fashion house has quietly claimed a prime spot in the under-construction retail precinct at the foot of the tower – formerly the MLC Centre – which is undergoing a $170m revamp by Dexus.

The property comprises the landmark 60-storey office tower, the soon to reopen Theatre Royal, a large food court and the incoming restaurants and retailers.

All up it will have about 30 dining venues and restaurants including Aalia, a Mediterranean-style diner focused on seafood cooked over charcoal, as well as a Botswana Butchery steakhouse, and Japanese, Mexican and Chinese restaurants.

Dolce & Gabbana is readying to undertake fit out works on the Sydney site where its ground level shop will span two floors, with access from Castlereagh Street.

The finishes in Sydney will include touches like polished white onyx marble and polished brass, gold velvet and satin gold to millworks. It will also have a Giallo siena meido marble polished walls and a Basaltina stone matt finish to floors and walls.

There will also be a Gold Damask fabric feature panel wall and gold carpets.

Proposed Shop Front - Schematic Design CGI Source: Atelier Pacific

The Dole & Gabbana proposed shop front design. Picture: Atelier Pacific

Dolce & Gabbana will occupy about 366sq m of floor space on the ground floor and 89sq m on the mezzanine floor. Valentino will have a two level store spanning 765sq m on the corner of King and Castlereagh streets.

Dolce & Gabbana already has two outlets in prime Melbourne locations. It has a boutique on blue chip Collins Street in downtown Melbourne with its store housed in the heritage red-brick gothic style Mayfair building and it also opened in the Chadstone Shopping Centre,

Colliers International Senior Analyst Adrianna Kazzi says CBDs have been the most affected by Covid-related measures but believes the future pipeline of CBD-based projects is promising.

The firm’s analysis found the reduction in commuter traffic has caused an expansion of the divide between high street and secondary and subterranean retail assets.

Kazzi argues that Covid-19 has ensured the two-tiered CBD retail market continued to experience a “great divide”. High Street retail like prime sites and corner flagships that well-known luxury brands typically target have been supported by strong capital backing and the ability to secure long-term leases.

“High street retail remains a pivotal part of CBDs, and although the closure of international and oftentimes domestic borders has impacted these sales, the brands remain sustained by online shopping and domestic retail trade,” Kazzi said.

“We do not anticipate the closure or conversion of these flagships in the long term and expect sales will continue to thrive, especially once international passengers have returned,” she said.

Although foot traffic tends to improve once restrictions come off she cautioned that recovery was seen to lag after frequent lockdowns.

Despite the negativity about CBD retail, there is still a pipeline of significant projects in all capital cities. Sydney alone is expecting about 100,000sq m of additional retail space over the next five years.

These include projects in Barangaroo Metro, Martin Place and Circular Quay, including Loftus Lane. New retail sites will appear in The Walk Project, Melbourne University, Queen Victoria Markets and St Collins Lane, in Melbourne, and 33 King William and 60 King William Streets in Adelaide.