St. Collins Lane nears construction

Australia on Collins has taken on a different complexion of late as tenants continue to move out in preparation for the centre's considerable redevelopment and ultimate rebirth as St. Collins Lane.

Capitalising on a gaggle of lease expiries while negotiating early lease terminations with others, centre operator LaSalle Investment Management finds itself with a unique asset that now resembles more of a ghost town than retail hub.

The centre's hiatus is temporary however, as leading national contractor Built are due to take site control soon enough, enabling the demolition of existing interiors to begin. With the majority of construction staged from Little Collins Street, the complex will be significantly and structurally refurbished according to management.

St. Collins Lane will be transformed into a 9000 SQM home to highly desirable, international and local designer brands, offering 60 exclusive tenancies in a light-drenched, sophisticated and urbane shopping environment. Rising from the lower ground, with two levels atop, St. Collins Lane aims to become Melbourneʼs new retail ʻpasseggiataʼ in the tradition of Melbourneʼs historic shopping thoroughfares such as The Royal Arcade.

Located at 260 Collins Street, St. Collins Lane is Melbourneʼs new $200M luxury shopping destination, which is expected to bring the European sophistication of the ʻParis end of Collins Streetʼ down the hill, directly into the city centre.

Triumphing over fellow architecture firms Buchan and NH Architecture, project lead ARM Architecture has conceived a design that draws upon the success of their previous retail experience. While a laneway strategy has been implemented once more akin to nearby ARM project Melbourne Central, the architect has incorporated a high degree of sophistication into St. Collins Lane with the intent of setting it apart from all-comers.

Chosen to convey an understated quality, 'champagne' is considered the dominant colour both internally and externally as the Collins Street frontage will be remodelled extensively to deliver a grand and glamorous yet practical entrance. The generous foyer coupled with terrace/dining options above constitutes a welcoming exterior, far from what is currently presented to street level.

St. Collins Lane will now provide a direct linkage and clear sightlines from Collins Street to Little Collins Street. Gone are the days when customers were ʻtrappedʼ in shopping malls. St. Collins Lane has been conceived as a series of boutiques for the 21st century. It is not a traditional shopping centre. It is part arcade and part lane. An intimate experience at the centre of St. Collins Lane, integrated with the urban fabric of the city.

In discussing the project with LaSalle Investment Management's National Director of Development, Matthew Bailey, he conveyed LaSalle's desire to create a showpiece for St. Collins Lane. This will be by way of the 'lighscape' seen above which will not only act as a focal point but also cast a dynamic shadow pattern through the complex as natural light permeates through the transparent ceiling above.

An enormous vaulted roof provides natural light throughout. The crowing glory is an undulating and sculptural ʻlightscapeʼ comprised of neon pendants that will cascade down. A dining terrace on level two will be defined by this lightscape, which is reminiscent of an illuminated canopy of leaves, a reflective place to sit and enjoy a meal.

While Urban Melbourne will tour St. Collins Lane both during and post construction, tomorrow Laurence will highlight a recent interview with ARM Architecture design director Neil Masterton. Neil will offer first hand knowledge on the design ethos and guiding principles behind St. Collins Lane.

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