Lawyers line up for Collins Street skyscraper

An artist’s impression of Dexus’s 80 Collins Street tower in Melbourne
An artist’s impression of Dexus’s 80 Collins Street tower in Melbourne

Lawyers are circling Dexus’s new office tower in the heart of Melbourne’s central business district, with leading law firm Ashurst the latest to sign a deal to make the move to the developer’s premium project.

Ashurst is the third legal firm to join the rent roll of Dexus’s 80 Collins Street tower and will neighbour high-profile rivals including Herbert Smith Freehills and DLA Piper.

Since securing the development in a landmark near-$1.5 billion deal in May last year from developer QIC, Dexus has secured tenancy for most of the tower.

Management consultancy McKinsey & Company and investment bank Macquarie Group have also committed to tenancies.

The mixed-use site includes a new 35-level premium office tower (South Tower) alongside the existing ­47-level A-grade ­office tower (North Tower).

A new retail podium with 21 tenancies and a 255-room boutique hotel next door will be connected by a series of walkways and laneways.

Dexus head of leasing and workplace, office, Chris Hynes said the deal benefited from the developer’s longstanding relationship with Ashurst, with the law firm’s Sydney office currently housed in the Dexus tower at 5 Martin Place.

The move to the Melbourne tower will take place in June next year after Ashurst secured a 10-year lease for 4427sqm across levels 16 to 19.

Commitment levels have risen from 63% when the tower was acquired to 97% in the 43,000sq m building. Just one floor is now available to lease. The North Tower is already 99.4% occupied.

The site at 80 Collins Street, formerly known as Nauru House, and the new tower fronting Collins, Exhibition and Little Collins streets is expected to be completed midway through the year.

Property Council data shows that the vacancy rate in Melbourne’s CBD has fallen to 3.2%, and is tighter still in the premium market.

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