How 80 Collins St is helping revive CBD

Sophisticated from the street at No. 80 Collins.

Melbourne’s newest laneway precinct at 80 Collins St is taking shape, with a bevy of high-profile restaurant signings and boutique shops designed to bring back the glamour to city life.

After a long hiatus during lockdown, Melbourne is now aiming to lead the way out of the pandemic with its famed laneway districts doing their part – although it won’t be easy.

The halving of workers attending CBD offices following the most recent shutdown foreshadows just some of the challenges the property sector faces as a result of virus outbreaks.

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Laneway lifestyle.

Farmers Daughters has a rooftop cocktail bar.

The Property Council of Australia’s latest office occupancy survey found worker attendance in Melbourne’s city centre fell from 45 per cent to 26 per cent per cent of pre-Covid occupancy levels in June.

But restrictions in Melbourne are now easing, and the private sector is trying to stimulate activity during quieter days like Mondays and Fridays.

The newest entrant into the field, the boutique precinct created in the 80 Collins St development by property group Dexus, is beginning to draw customers to its newly opened restaurants.

The building was completed in mid 2020, when it slowly began opening fashion stores, and now the space is picking up for restaurants, bars and cafes, along with its extensive office space.

Top architects Woods Bagot worked on 80 Collins alongside partners Seventh Wave, UN Studio and Jouin Manku.

Facing Collins St, the South Tower features a series of steel trusses cantilevering 12m over the heritage-listed Le Louvre and Rolex buildings, supporting 30 floors of office space. It is the most significant cantilever design in Melbourne, with a distinctive, faceted glass facade.

“The inspiration for the facade came from Melbourne’s beautiful old oil and gas lamps that lit up the city in the 1800s,” Woods Bagot principal Peter Miglis said.

“We thought about the new tower being a beacon, creating a warm glow over an entire city block.”

Sleek style.

The Melbourne we know and love.

At ground level, the project between Collins, Exhibition and Little Collins streets is connected through a series of new city laneways, linking a new 255-room Next Hotel to luxury design stores.

These include Saint Laurent’s new three-level flagship Australian store, which features a by-appointment VIP salon, and champagne and cocktail bar Nick & Nora’s, which sports more than 80 varieties of French champagne.

The precinct also houses luxury designer Sener Besim’s first concept store, worldwide. The likes of Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Tilda Swinton and Yoko Ono have been spotted wearing his designs.

The precinct’s three-level diner, Farmer’s Daughters, follows a farm-to-table ethos and boasts a rooftop cocktail bar.

The contemporary SOCIETY restaurant, by leading Melbourne restaurateur Chris Lucas, also came alive this month, with a special Melbourne Food and Wine Festival events.

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