Watchmaker Longines takes Collins Street lease

Watchmaker Longines takes Collins Street lease
Watchmaker Longines takes Collins Street lease

Swiss watchmaker Longines has a struck a $750,000-a-year leasing deal to occupy 256 Collins Street, Melbourne.

It will occupy a narrow, four-storey 1950s building adjacent to luxury the mall St Collins Lane.

The Swiss watchmaker will have it as its flagship Australian store.

Longines, part of the Swatch Group, signed a 10-year lease to occupy 148 square metres of ground retail space and 138 sq m of basement space.

It was negotiated with the Li family, who have owned the building since 2001 when they paid $3.68 million. 

The space became vacant following the collapse of retailer Marcs in early 2017.

Initially Longines turned down the space due to the store frontage not meeting the brand's global requirements.

In response the building landlord and architecture firm Meiter 3 drafted designs that unlocked the store's frontage potential and showed the watchmaker what was possible.

The 1950s heritage building had significant limitations, however plans were approved. The store is expected to open in October following the restoration work.

Other luxury brands Coach and Tag Heuer and Burberry are in the neighbourhood.

The leasing deal was negotiated by Zelman Ainsworth and Tan Thach of CBRE.

Ainsworth said there are more opportunities than ever for landlords to work with retailers to reposition their properties and stay relevant.  

“There are endless opportunities for landlords to reposition their real estate to ensure their properties suit a changing retail market.

"Today, retail stores must provide brands with the platform and exposure they need to remain competitive on a global scale and engaged with their customer base.

"Ultimately if the shop on offer is one dimensional with no flexibility to adapt to the changing rmarket - it will be difficult for retailers to see any value,” Mr Ainsworth said. 

“People are panicking, thinking bricks and mortar is a thing of the past and retail rents will diminish.

"However, we are of the view that retail is changing for the better and there is only upside for landlords. And while online enhances the retail experience, it all starts in the bricks and mortar store.”   

“Retailers are spending a lot of time and money to ensure they are embracing technology within their stores and incorporating online to give their customers the best possible experience.”




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