Heritage Victoria this week added the Swan Street building to the Victorian Heritage Register, saying the former drapery reflected the changing fortunes of Melbourne’s inner suburbs during the 20th century.
"The Dimmeys building was created at a time when retail was booming," Heritage Council chairman Daryl Jackson said.
"The 1890s depression was over and World War I was yet to arrive. The four-storey clock tower was added in 1910, topped with a globe clad in ruby glass, announcing the store’s location and high-fashion status for miles around."
After the Great Depression, the store focused on selling quality goods at discount prices, and after World War II, ceased manufacturing altogether to become a thrift store.
The dome’s ruby glass was replaced with copper in 1939. Mr Jackson said the two-storey building was a fine, intact and early example of the American Romanesque style.
The listing means any significant changes will require a permit from Heritage Victoria.
Dimmeys sold the property to private investor Joel Freeman for $16 million last July. Mr Freeman is believed to have supported the Heritage Victoria application.
In 1997, Dimmeys ranked first in The Age’s Melbourne Icons series.