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Retailer’s relocation to reinvigorate precinct

Culture-KingsStreetwear retailer Culture Kings has committed to 600sqm at the Paris end of Melbourne’s CBD, in a move that will upend the precinct historically known for its luxury retail, according to Colliers International.

The Melbourne flagship store will relocate from its current location on the corner of Flinders and Queen streets to Russell Street behind the Forum Theatre, previously home to the Melbourne Theatre Company.

Culture Kings will be the first tenant to occupy the derelict premises in almost 20 years.

Colliers Cam Taranto, Jarrod Herscu and Jeremy Gruzewski negotiated the 10-year lease term on behalf of Melbourne’s Marriner family but declined to comment on the rental rates, which are believed to be in the range of $1,300-$1,500 per square metre per annum, a record sum for a non-corner Russell Street address. Culture Kings were represented by Philip Reichelt of Tenant Leasing Group.

“Culture Kings has activated the western retail core of the CBD successfully as a pure destination retailer for the past 10 years,” Taranto said.

“Shoppers really only go there to visit Culture Kings as the precinct is dominated by office buildings and hotels.

“This success has driven the brand to take on a more prominent location at the east end of the CBD, which is renowned for its luxury retail and hospitality, adding another layer to the shopping experience.”

The new Culture Kings tenancy is surrounded by high-end retailers, including Chanel at 140 Flinders Lane, Masons Menswear at 167 Flinders Lane and Bang & Olufsen at 33 Russell Street.

The flagship will back onto Hosier Lane, a renowned Melbourne landmark famous for its street art, which Taranto said was a key influencer in Culture Kings’ decision to relocate and would likely fuel further activation of the laneway.

“The urban aesthetics of Hosier Lane are in line with the Culture Kings brand, creating a real synergy between the two destinations,” he said.

“We expect the move to inspire other big-name brands outside of the luxury retail market to seek out retail space in the precinct.”

The Forum Theatre, also owned by the Marriner family, has generated strong foot traffic since reopening following a $28million refurbishment last year.

“With the likes of international superstars already appearing instore, including Justin Bieber, Lil John, Kelly Roland, Snoop Dog, Wu Tang Clan, Diplo, Nas, DJ Snake and many more, there may be significant opportunities to collaborate with the Forum,” Taranto said.

The site, which has sat vacant for almost two decades, has been the subject of much media speculation and controversy in recent years as a result of a strung-out campaign to develop a 32-storey hotel above the theatre.

Planning approval for the $100million redevelopment was granted in 2014 but attempts to officiate the permit were thwarted.

“The City of Melbourne and surrounding businesses were concerned about the design, height and impact of the tower on Hosier Lane’s heritage and street art,” Gruzewski said, adding that the Marriner Group was now “thrilled” with the new direction.

“The Marriner Group believes the new tenants and refurbished building will breathe life into the Hosier Lane precinct,” Kayley Marriner, the Marriner Group’s chief financial officer, said.

Works have started on the new Culture Kings store, which is anticipated to open in early December, in time for Christmas.

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