The cold stone corporate lobbies in Collins Street's top towers are being cleaned out and high-end retailers are moving in.
Space, particularly on Melbourne's premier street, is valuable and building owners have moved to take advantage of it, re-engineering their foyers to include vibrant eateries and upmarket retailers.
Property giant Dexus is the latest to refurbish and convert what was once a large ground floor foyer at 360 Collins Street into high-end retail and eateries.
Across the road at 367 Collins, diversified group Mirvac is midway through a similar reconstruction.
And further west along the famed strip, private developer Equiset is close to completing a $100 million transformation of its massive Rialto forecourt.
The era of the spacious, majestic tower lobby displaying the power and might of the corporations within appears to be over.
“People are now looking for more casual and relaxed ways to work beyond their office walls,” Dexus’ head of office portfolio Ellie Schwab said.
The refurbishment of 360 Collins was driven by tenant demand for “third spaces”, casual lounges, shops, cafes, eateries and Wi-Fi-connected areas where employees can meet and work informally.
The shift was partly generational, she said. Millennials, in particular, were keen to work in different spaces and take advantage of the mobility technology enabled.
The building’s foyer now included multiple charge points for laptops and phones and fast Wi-Fi connections.
The upside for the Dexus Wholesale Property Fund, the owner of the building, is happier tenants and extra income from two prime retail tenancies facing Collins Street and eateries at the rear of the tower.
Dexus head of retail leasing Eddie Giraldo confirmed a “heads of agreement” had been signed with two luxury watch retailers to take the space on Collins Street, but would not reveal the brands.