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Yarra’s Silicon valleys gathering talent

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The City of Yarra’s commercial hotspots in Cremorne and Collingwood are poised for even more intense growth with new projects covering up to 170,000 square metres proposed for the municipality.

A slew of buildings are on the drawing board – some in Fitzroy around the hospital and Australian Catholic University precinct. But many of the commercial projects under consideration are in the Cremorne and Gipps precincts where the City of Yarra rezoned former industrial space to Business 3 to allow for commercial redevelopment.

The second building in Richmond in which MYOB has taken office space for its workers. The second building in Richmond in which MYOB has taken office space for its workers. Photo: Supplied

Payments firm Assembly announced yesterday that its global headquarters will be in Cambridge Street, Collingwood, in the same precinct where vitamins giant Suisse and skin care outfit Aesop are anchored.

In Cremorne, the commercial precinct bordered by Church and Swan streets, Punt Road and the Yarra River, is fast approaching Silicon Valley status with a growing mix of creative, retail and technology companies, including Red Energy, Carsales.com, Uber and MYOB.

Six Degrees Architects designed the new office in Jessie Street, Cremorne. Six Degrees Architects designed the new office in Jessie Street, Cremorne. Photo: Alice Hutchison

REA Group’s chief inventor Nigel Dalton said the appeal of Cremorne was its “eco-system” of skilled young workers and a range of businesses.

The online real estate company moved to Cremorne a couple of years ago from 511 Church Street, near Victoria Street.

Mr Dalton worked in Silicon Valley in California during the dotcom years and observed the value of working in a space with a healthy mix of big business, small-to-medium sized entities, start-ups, co-working groups and capital.

“We were looking for an area that had a strong footprint. We are pretty excited about it. As much as it creates competition for employment for us we prefer to see it as a magnet for talent from all over the world.

Yarra mayor Amanda Stone said the council is planning for an additional 220,000 square metres of commercial floor space and 60,000 square metres of retail space in the next 15 years. 

Mayor Stone said the council has been trying to protect its Cremorne and Gipps Street precincts to allow commercial space to proliferate without pressure from residential development.

“They are pretty much where the commercial focus is and we really want to encourage that. We don’t want dormitory suburbs in Yarra. We want them to be genuinely mixed,” she said.

Colliers International agent Rob Joyes, who is selling a building at 658 Church Street, said businesses are keen to get into the area. 

“The Cremorne area is at the top of every tenant’s list,” Mr Joyes said. “A lot of businesses are looking to differentiate themselves from their competitors and positioning themselves in these locations can help them do that.”

Online job listings company Seek, which has been in St Kilda junction since it started, is said to be looking at two locations in Cremorne for its new headquarters. 

Perth-based syndicator Property Bank is selling Building 8 at 658 Church Street, which is leased by four high-profile tenants in the media and marketing sector, DDB, Designworks, Bauer Media and IVE Group. It is expected to fetch around $30 million.

Other developments in the pipeline include a 14-storey 14,000 square metre tower at 370-374 Swan Street near Burnley railway station; Cobild’s 9-11 Cremorne Street, and Grocon’s 15,000 square metre tower Northumberland Street building in Collingwood.

Also on the drawing board is a 20,000 square metre building Alfasi is planning for 506-510 Church Street, an 8000 square metre proposed by IconCo and a new 20,000 square metre building at 658 Church Street on space controlled by Kane Constructions and Pacific Shopping Centres.

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