The proposed $110 million redevelopment of the tower at 383 George Street will offer more opportunities for flagship retail sites that are being viewed by international labels.
Under the plans – lodged with the City of Sydney on Tuesday by the owners, the private Fife Capital – there will be a 32-storey apartment block with four floors of retail on George Street, near Market Street.
It will include the retention of the heritage-listed Spiden House and Carlton House on 46-48 York Street, and demolition of the adjoining two sites on George Street for the construction of the mixed-use development.
The initial artist’s impression (pictured) suggests the four-storey retail podium could be attractive to international labels such as the European apparel group H&M, the Japanese Uniqlo, the British-based River Island, and the US-based Forever 21.
It is understood that Fife Capital has received solid offers for the retail component, however Knight Frank’s Alex Alamsyah, who is handling the retail leasing, declined to comment.
If approved, the new development, will add to the ”modernisation” of George Street under plans by the City of Sydney. That scheme has been initiated by lord mayor Clover Moore, who wants to close parts of the street to cars to create a piazza-style area for foot traffic.
The development also shows how the city is becoming ”clustered” with high-end flagship stores – from fashion to technology – all being leased within a block of each other.
In George Street, there are the Apple and Samsung stores, with Topshop and possibly H&M also nearby. Mr Alamsyah said the general trend was for the retailers to be clustered together in new-look ”precincts”.
”Pitt Street Mall is ideal for fast fashion usage,” he said. ”On the other hand, luxury retailers, such as Prada, Gucci, Dior, Chanel, Saint Laurent, and Ralph Lauren, among others, all prefer Castlereagh Street, including Westfield Sydney.
”High-end jewellery brands, such as Tiffany & Co., Omega, Cartier, Breitling, Rolex, seem to prefer Martin Place to cater to the financial tenants in that precinct.” Mr Alamsyah added that top-end bars and restaurants were now clustered at the northern end of the city.
Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the retail sector, Mr Alamsyah said it’s not all as bad as it seems, with new retail deals still happening in Sydney’s central business district. Some of these new leases include Sunglass Hut, owned by the Luxottica Group, which has signed a new lease on 300 square metres at 413 George Street, and Vodafone’s shift to the EB Games site at 399 George Street. Meanwhile, Saint Laurent and Ralph Lauren are looking for suitable sites in Castlereagh Street.
Other agents said an undisclosed high-end luxury watch group, possibly Rolex, had signed leases in Martin Place, while Vapiano, a casual German restaurant chain offering Italian food, is taking over 600 square metres at the corner of the Grace Hotel.
According to the head of retail at Colliers International, Michael Bate, Australia’s city centres continue to be popular shopping destinations thanks to continuing refurbishment and expansion, coupled with the arrival of international brands such as Williams-Sonoma, Hollister and Samsung.
Colliers International’s director of retail research, Nora Farren, said the arrival of international retailers on the Australian market increased competition for domestic retailers and revived consumer interest, particularly in city centres.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.