Melbourne lift shaft rented to chocolate brew house Mörk

The Equitable Place space before a window was cut out and the lift shaft converted to a shop.

A seven square metre lift shaft converted into a commercial space has been tenanted to a boutique hot chocolate maker for a starting annual rent of $17,000.

The leasing agency advised the owners of 107 Elizabeth Street, in the Melbourne CBD, to create the ground floor area by cutting out a window to the disused well, which fronts Equitable Place – an established café themed laneway.

Mörk Chocolate Brew House, presently based at North Melbourne, then contested with four other retailers to secure it.

The three year deal was negotiated during COVID conditions.

With options the occupier can stay until 2035.

Creativity required to bring opportunity to life: agent

“This was basically a value-add play to the property by adding more income,” Fitzroys director and leasing agent of rear/107 Elizabeth St, James Lockwood, said.

“Hospitality operators have witnessed heightened demand for takeaway services throughout the CBD and across Melbourne during the COVID period,” according to the agent.

“This extends from restaurant meals, casual lunches, through to coffee and liquor.

“As a result, demand has grown for smaller spaces with an emphasis on takeaway services.

“In this case, some creativity was required to bring that opportunity to life” (story continues below).

Two months ago, restaurateur Denis Hagger leased a 60 sqm Toorak Road, Toorak, space for a takeaway focused hospitality venture.

Hole in the wall attracted five parties

Mr Lockwood said five offers were received for the Equitable Place window.

“It’s likely there will be more types of these [small area] deals going forward,” he added.

Elsewhere in the laneway recently, an Asian restaurant – also presently in North Melbourne – rented a small space at #12 while a café signed up for a ground floor suite at #26.

“Hospitality operators have been keenly anticipating the return of hustle and bustle to the CBD,” the marketing agent said.

“Enquiry for suitable spaces has been growing steadily as Melbourne moved closer to reopening.

“Operators willing to commit to these deals is a clear vote of confidence in Melbourne’s CBD and of the contribution its iconic laneways make towards the city’s global reputation as a cultural and lifestyle hotspot”.

Not far away, direct marketer FR International, part of FRONTROW Enterprise Philippines, Inc, recently signed a five year lease for a suite within the historic Manchester Lane, at 234 Flinders Lane, which was recently acquired by The Theosophical Society.

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Marc Pallisco

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