Chris Lucas quietly snares Melbourne building from landlord

Chris Lucas bought 175 Flinders Lane after passing up the chance in 2021.


Chris Lucas has snared the historic Melbourne building, the lower levels of which house his Japanese restaurant Kisume, for $23.5 million.

The former Society restaurant at 23 Bourke Street will reopen as Batard.

The off-market deal comes two years since the executive passed up the chance to buy 175 Flinders Lane from his then-landlord, businesswoman and philanthropist Helen Skyes, following a public marketing campaign when it fetched $25.2m from Jackalope Hotel founder Louis Li.

Mr Li owns the neighbouring c1911 Maria George Building and was expected to amalgamate the upper six floors of #175, currently configured with offices, into one swank hospitality venue.

Instead, the property was relisted off-market late last year, according to sources. Daniel Wolman and Oliver Hay, who recently moved to Cushman & Wakefield, are rumoured to be the agents but declined to comment.

Mr Li also recently offered up for sale St Kilda’s c1920s Prince of Wales hotel with c$50m-plus price hopes.

Chris Lucas homes in on Melbourne’s ‘Paris end’

Elsewhere in Melbourne’s east, Mr Lucas is spending $10m renovating the former Society restaurant at 23 Bourke St as a French eatery, Batard (story continues below).

Justin Hemmes’ Merivale recently bought 12-18 Meyers Place.

The businessman paid $7.2m for that three level red brick building in March, 2021.

The executive’s Lucas Restaurants also controls several spaces in Dexus’ 80 Collins St – including the replacement Society.

In May, Mr Lucas outlaid $13m for two contiguous strata office floors of Golden Age Group’s 130 Little Collins St, which is nearing completion, for a company headquarters.

Last month, meanwhile, we reported Justin Hemmes’ Merivale outlaid over $15m for 12-18 Meyers Place, between Bourke Street and Little Collins, also with plans to occupy (that deal came two years since the Sydney businessman entered the Melbourne market with the c$43m purchase of Tomasetti House at 277-279 Flinders Ln).

Also around the city’s exclusive south east corner, Christian Dior recently spent $39m for the c1902 ex-Metcalfe & Barnard warehouse on the intersection of Flinders Ln and Russell Street, to occupy.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of