Monopoly and Lego are entertaining Melbourne’s leasing recovery

Entertainment-focused retailers Monopoly Dreams, Lego and the table tennis bar Paddle Battle are expected to attract city shoppers and anchor a leasing boom in central Melbourne.

After two disruptive years, major mall landlords, GPT and Vicinity Centers, are reporting a boost in pedestrian traffic and leasing deals in the central city.

Weekend visits to Emporium Melbourne are strong.

Weekend visits to Emporium Melbourne are strong.Credit:Aaron Pocock

Emporium Melbourne owner Vicinity Centers said foot traffic at its CBD assets last week increased more than 130 per cent compared to the same period last year, with a sharp increase in everyday traffic.

“Weekend traffic alone reached 85 percent of what it was in 2019, pre-pandemic,” a spokeswoman said.

GPT’s head of retail Chris Barnett said weekend visits to Melbourne Central were at similar levels and pedestrian traffic has increased consistently since February. “Having over 100,000 people a day to get through the center … during each day of March has really given us a lot of confidence that it is stabilizing faster than we thought,” said Mr. Barnett.

City leasing agents also say that inquiries from companies are being galvanized by the abolition of mesh mandates for urban workers. Potential tenants are looking for already furnished premises to avoid rising construction and material costs.

“It’s gone straight up. Phone calls, the Internet, a mix of everything,” said Cushman & Wakefields Michael Di Carlo.

Another Cushman agent, Stephanie Harding, said the revitalization of key urban sectors is dependent on office workers. “Docklands and the western legal area have a slower return to normal. But we are seeing strong activity in the retail core at the eastern end of town,” she said.

The board game attraction Monopoly Dreams opens its first Australian venue in GPT’s shopping center in Melbourne Central, after launching the franchise in Hong Kong.

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