McDonald’s returns to old ground for biggest Melbourne store

McDonald’s bought 9-11 Swanston Street in 1984 and didn’t want to sell.


Melbourne Sports Depot once occupied 67 Swanston Street.

After in 2017 being displaced from its spectacularly located 9-11 Swanston Street store – compulsorily acquired to construct the Metro Tunnel’s Town Hall stop – McDonald’s returned to the prime block this week following a surprise off-market lease deal.

Lendlease’s proposed Town Hall Place at 9-29 Swanston Street.

The fast food chain this week opened its biggest Melbourne CBD store, at 67 Swanston St, last tenanted to EB Games but for years before that occupied by Melbourne Sports Depot.

Over the basement, ground and first floor, it spreads 830 square metres.

McDonald’s ex-Collins Street store, now occupied by National Australia Bank.

Ainsworth Property’s Zelman Ainsworth said the restaurant has committed to the “old iconic” building near the south west corner of Collins St, long-term.

A major fit-out was carried out last month.

The outlet also now appears on the McDonald’s website as the Town Hall store, trading 24 hours.

The state government compulsorily acquired properties between 9-29 Swanston St – creating a 3449 sqm amalgamation – opposite the former City Square, which was also required for the Metro Tunnel.

Following completion of the station, Lendlease will develop and retain an office on the airspace; to be dubbed Town Hall Place, commercial real estate agency CBRE recently committed as the first tenant.

Retail including along a pedestrian laneway linking Flinders St to Flinders Lane is also planned.

McDonald’s returns to prime block

McDonald’s was offered $29.5 million for 9-11 Swanston St in mid-2017, increased two years later to $34.2m.

Also in 2019, the restaurant sought an additional $33.4m for lost earnings on the deal; the store was one if its best performing, said to have collected $7.2m in food sales in 2016 alone (story continues below).

It bought the property in 1984.

Kingpin just leased 3500 square metres at 260 Collins Street.

In 2017, ahead of vacating, it signed a 20 year lease for 168-174 Bourke St, at the north east corner of Russell.

This operates alongside other CBD restaurants, at the south west intersection of Swanston and Londsdale streets – diagonally adjacent to QV – Hardware Lane at the north east corner of Bourke, and two on Elizabeth St including one near Queen Victoria Market.

Just before COVID it closed a store at 24 Collins St – later tenanted to National Australia Bank.

Mr Ainsworth said many major and private businesses are taking a long-term view about the city’s retail recovery.

The type of bricks and mortar stores they choose, is changing too.

“There are countless CBD buildings along Swanston St and Elizabeth St with terrific upper levels that are not being utilised,” according to the executive.

“The modern retail store is all about the experience and brand story, so it’s exciting to see these buildings now being activated, which is adding to the pulse of the CBD’s retail landscape,” he added.

The deal comes a fortnight since we reported UBS Asset Management and Kaipara secured Kingpin to a sizeable 3500 sqm chunk of the ex-Australia on Collins complex – an asset soon set for a rebrand.

Joining the retailer will be serviced office operator Waterman which recently leased 2000 sqm there, including in what was formerly a food court.

Coincidentally Mr Ainsworth brokered those deals too.

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Marc Pallisco

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