The property arm of funds giant QIC has snared celebrated restaurateur Chris Lucas, in combination with Sydney’s Martin Benn and Vicki Wild, to open an upmarket eatery at its mixed use development at the top end of Melbourne’s Collins Street.
Mr Lucas is well-known in fine dining circles for restaurants such as Chin Chin, in both Melbourne and Sydney. A celebrated chef, Mr Benn and restaurant manager Ms Wild also bring a big reputation forged in Sydney’s Sepia restaurant.
Ever since the three hospitality heavyweights flagged plans two years ago for a venture in Melbourne, speculation has swirled over their next home with sites such as the empty Job Warehouse on Bourke Street put forward.
QIC has landed a coup, confirming the trio as its first tenants in the retail component at the 80 Collins Street project. Due for completion in 2020, the development includes 43,000-square-metre office tower, a boutique hotel and 5000 square metres of retail and dining space.
The anchor restaurant will span several levels over 2000 sq m with terraces and views across Collins and Exhibition streets.
“80 Collins is the most exciting development in Melbourne for 30 years,” Mr Lucas said.
“It speaks of the city’s bravery and vision, it is a globally significant development. I couldn’t resist being involved.
“We felt it was the only backdrop worthy of Martin and Vicki’s new restaurant. There has always been a strong, loyal, discerning local market but now our international profile is thriving. It’s a good time to up the game.”
The announcement of the new eatery is nicely timed, as QIC presses ahead with efforts to secure investors for not only the mixed use project itself but also the existing tower it owns on the site.
In all, the end value of the entire precinct could be worth as much as $1.8 billion.
Leasing of the office tower is continuing apace as well, with QIC recently booking in tenants including DLA Piper and McKinsey for the new tower.
Macquarie has committed to space in the tower while law firm Ashurst is also close to signing up.
At the so-called Paris end of Collins Street, the $800 million tower is already more than half full with pre-commitments. Rents have risen as much as 10 per cent in the last year.
QIC will be hoping the arrival of a top-notch eatery will consolidate the project as a Collins Street destination.