If you have passed through Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station recently, you have probably noticed a lot of construction going on as you try to find your way to the platforms.
Thankfully, The Age published an article last week titled Next stop, a bit of retail therapy that details detailed what is actually going on – hidden away in the business pages, it details how station management is cramming more tenants into the building.
Next stop, a bit of retail therapy
November 2, 2011
A Woolworths supermarket will be the anchor tenant at Melbourne’s Southern Cross railway station in a big revamp of the station’s retail precinct. The number of shops at the station will be increased by a third in stage one of a $22 million refurbishment by the station’s manager, Assetco Management. It is the first upgrade in six years.
Assetco’s chief executive, Phillip Walker, said the station would have 48 shops, up from 28, and 41 tenants had already taken out leases. The retail space will expand by more than 40 per cent, from 4700 square metres to 6800 square metres.
Woolworths will take up the space previously set aside for the food court. Other key tenants in the refurbishment will be international newsagent WHSmith, which will have three sites; a flagship Hungry Jack’s store that will be more akin to a restaurant; and a Loco bar on level 1 where the Virgin store used to be. Spotless will take seven sites that will include a Red Rooster and a Sumo Salad store. Individual tenants will include Pie Face and a Degani’s coffee shop.
Mr Walker said Assetco’s policy was not to jeopardise the business of existing tenants. They would mostly relocate within the station. He said rents would include a turnover component.
Starting at the Collins Street entrance of the station is the first of the new shops: a sock stall. You might find a shop with identical products in every Westfield Bogan Gate shopping centre in Australia, but why the hell would someone get to Southern Cross and have the urgent need to buy socks?
Neighbouring the sock stall is a florist: at least you expect to find this kind of business in a railway station.
If that isn’t enough ‘Exciting New Retailers’ for you, there are still more to find on the lower level concourse: one is beside the Collins Street wall, another is along the Spencer Street wall, and one beside the escalators to the suburban platforms.
The decision to open a WHSmith newsagent here is somewhat confusing, as the existing ‘Relay’ convenience store cum newsagent is only a few metres away behind the Myki Discovery Centre.
Heading up a level is the former mezzanine level food court. The two remaining stores here will be relocated elsewhere, with the entire level gutted to make way for the new Woolworths supermarket.
Heading up another level towards the suburban platform ticket barriers finds all of the previous stores abandoned, except for the pharmacy – was this the only successful business at the station? The neighbouring Virgin Megastore disappeared pretty quick after opening, and a good number of the other stores were never fitted out due to the lack of tenants.
A short distance away is another new store, but this time it is blocking the Collins Street exit leading towards Docklands. Who knows what kind of crap they will be foisting on commuters.
The final piece of the upper level puzzle is a Red Rooster take away, located in the dead corner formerly occupied by the mini-supermarket on the upper level Collins Street concourse. Will the location be the touch of death for fried chicken?
Now the big question is: will this new mix of tenants actually make money for Assetco Management, the private railway station operator? Or will they go from 28 poorly performing tenants to 48, with the only outcome being a lot of pissed off Melbourne commuters?