Prime Smith Street opportunity leased to global retailer

28 February 2024

A striking investment opportunity leased to global footwear giant Converse on world- famous Smith Street has hit the market, as the area north of Johnston Street moves through a period of transformation.

Fitzroys’ Ervin Niyaz and Shane Mills are marketing Shops 1-3, 397 Smith Street, going to auction on Thursday, 7 March at 12pm on site.

Expectations are of $2.4 million-plus.

The property comprises an expansive single-storey floorplate of 365sqm – effectively three combined shops – with an open-plan retail showroom, office, rear storage, and staff amenities, at the corner of Smith and Kerr streets with a high-exposure frontage of over 39.8m.

It is leased to Converse, who have been in occupation for over 20 years, currently returning $148,000 per annum plus outgoings and GST.

Valuable Commercial 1 zoning permits a variety of uses.

“This is a rare Smith Street investment opportunity of this size, and of this nature in this location. There are few bigger international names in the precinct than Converse,” Niyaz said.

He said the dynamic precinct is surrounded by extensive redevelopment and rejuvenation as well as Smith Street’s world-famous offerings of cafés, restaurants, bars and retailers.

Smith Street was named as influential publication Time Out’s “Coolest Street in the World” in 20211. Meanwhile, vacancies along the bustling hospitality and lifestyle strip have fallen to their lowest in several years as Melburnians continued to again embrace shopping, dining and eating out. According to Fitzroys’ latest Walk the Strip report, vacancies on Smith Street now sit at just 4.8%.

“Prime assets in Melbourne’s iconic shopping strips are offering excellent investment credentials at the moment. The strips are currently undergoing a real period of renewal.”

Mills said Yarra Council has promoted significant development throughout Fitzroy and Collingwood in recent years, with a large number of major projects in different stages of planning, construction and completion. The property is located nearby Tim Gurner’s residential project at 368-374 Smith Street, and between Pellicano’s 11-level commercial office development and ByUrban’s eight-level mixed-use development, both currently under construction.

“The redevelopment is really transforming this area to the north of Johnston Street – it’s really coming back to life,” Mills said.

“More people want to live, work and play in highly accessible areas with quality lifestyle attributes. The influx of residential and commercial development throughout the area has resulted in a huge residential and worker population boom that is further underpinning the viability of Smith Street.”

Smith Street is well-serviced by public transport, with tram services operating along Smith Street itself and bus services along Johnson Street and Alexandra Parade, while major arterial roads Punt Road and Hoddle Street, Alexandra Parade and the Eastern Freeway are all close by and easily accessible.