Restaurateur Andrew McConnell leases ex-B&O store in Melbourne’s east end

Esteemed chef-restaurateur Andrew McConnell has swooped on a prime retail space in the Melbourne CBD’s east end.

The ground floor of Cavendish House at 33 Russell Street was until recently occupied by prestige electrical component manufacturer and retailer Bang & Olufsen.

B&O’s expensive fit-out of the store four years ago made headlines in property and design publications.

The Russell Street outlet was one of the retailer’s biggest in the world.

At the time the Danish brand’s local distribution was being managed by an Australian company, Emerald Group Investments.

The former Bang & Olufsen retail space will be refurbished as a restaurant.

The distributor was changed last year, with numerous of the former 10 stores, including 33 Russell Street, recently shut.

Colliers International offered the space for lease in about February.

Andrew McConnell operates from several venues in the city and metropolitan Melbourne including Cutler & Co, Cumulus Inc, the Marion wine bar, Supernormal and Supernormal Canteen.

He will lease 384 square metres on the ground floor of Cavendish House for an initial seven year term.

“We are excited to work with and welcome one of Australia’s most successful and well-known chefs to this iconic building at the heart of the Melbourne CBD culinary heartland,” leasing agent Stephanie Harding said. “The golden mile of real estate has cemented its status as the CBD’s pre-eminent hospitality hotspot and demand for space in this tightly held precinct is as strong as ever”.

Ms Harding described 33 Russell Street as “a truly impressive and historic site” and Mr McConnell’s space as “one of Melbourne’s most beautiful rooms”.

Andrew McConnell has leased the space for seven years.

“We are working with a growing number of landlords and tenants to repurpose sites for food and beverage use to open up opportunities given the limited availability of existing hospitality space,” Ms Harding said.

In February, another prominent restaurateur, Chris Lucas, confirmed a collaboration also including Martin Benn and Vicki Wild, would lease space within the 80 Collins Street precinct, for a hospitality venue. The 2000 sqm eatery is set to open in April 2020.

In late 2017, Ronnie DiStasio paid CBUS Property an undisclosed sum for a 200 square metre retail area at the ground level of the 35 Spring Street apartment building.

Mr DiStasio is credited with helping create the city’s café laneway culture when he co-established the Rosati’s restaurant in Flinders Lane in 1985.

Marc Pallisco

A freelance property writer and analyst, Marc is a co-founder of realestatesource.com.au.

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