Harry Potter-style shop built into 2sq m cupboard under Melbourne CBD stairs for lease

17-19 Elizabeth St, Melbourne - for herald sun real estate.

The tiny shopfront at 17-19 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, is about the width of a door.

A tiny Harry Potter-style shopfront built into a cupboard-sized space beneath an apartment building’s staircase is up for lease in Melbourne’s CBD.

The about 2sq m shop — potentially the smallest retail space with four walls in the city — faces out to Elizabeth St with a facade about the same width as a door just a few dozen metres from Flinders St train station.

Ainsworth Property (AP) director Zelman Ainsworth said the unusual space was “cosy”, but more than big enough for a boy wizard — or two.

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“You can get two people inside it comfortably,” Mr Ainsworth said.

“It’s about 2sq m, though it’s difficult to measure. It’s the entrance of an old apartment building … it’s a shop that was built under the stairs and has a frontage to the street.”

The tiny space, which has an about 3m ceiling that is a bit lower towards the back where the stairs are, is expected to be leased for about $20,000 a year.

It’s dimensions wouldn’t be too far apart from the cupboard under the stairs where JK Rowling’s children’s novels titular character Harry Potter grew up.

17-19 Elizabeth St, Melbourne - for herald sun real estate

The tenancy occupies the left hand side of what was once a larger entry to the building.

“It’s a store that suits selling one service or product and sits right on the doorstep to Flinders St station,” Mr Ainsworth said.

“You come into the building and a person stands in a little booth, or sits on a stool.”

Listed for the first time in close to a decade, the space is up for grabs after its long-term currency exchange tenant shut their doors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Part of the Excelsior House building, which also hosts a Hungry Jacks next door to the tiny hole-in-the-wall shopfront, even with its diminutive dimensions the tenancy has been surprisingly popular since being listed for rent on Monday.

“Over 12 prospective tenants inquired in the first day we listed it,” Mr Ainsworth said.

“There’s been a range of interested paries from a coffee booth to a money exchange again. And some very unique businesses.”

17-19 Elizabeth St, Melbourne - for herald sun real estate

The popular retail strip is just metres away from Flinders St train station.

He added that the demand reflected the rarity of such an affordable entry point to CBD street frontage with significant foot traffic in front of it every day.

“I have been working the city’s retail market for 15 years and this is the smallest shop I have seen,” Mr Ainsworth said.

“There are stalls on the street, but this has four walls and a door.”

Mr Ainsworth said the shop had been in the same family, who owned the wider apartment building, for a long time.

Heritage assessment documents show Excelsior House dates back to 1888, originally as a five-storey building with florists and fishmongers.

It also was home to the Shamrock Club for Irish migrants, among those to occupy space in the building before it was extended by two storeys in 1925.

Today its upper floors are apartments.

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