Spotlight on Bridge Road, Richmond

By Aldo Galante October 15, 2019

"A Street with a Long History"

Bridge Road is an iconic Melbourne shopping strip located in the inner city suburb of Richmond, stretching from Punt Road to the Yarra River.

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Bridge Road is a classified heritage area with its history dating back to 1837, just two years after the European settlement of the colony of Victoria. The many clothes shops and cafes that now exist were once hay and corn stores, groceries, tinsmiths, hotels, factories and butchers to surgeries. You can take a stroll along the ‘Bridge Road Heritage Walk’ and view the plaques and signs placed on many buildings with information about the area’s history.

In the 1980’s Bridge Road had virtually full occupancy and was renowned for its diverse and unrivalled offering of clothing factory outlets. In the mid 2,000s the strip was hit hard by the GFC, DFO’s and rise of internet shopping with many retailers forced to close and vacancy rates soared to an all time high. More recently the area has undergone significant transformation with the development of numerous residential apartment buildings.

The Make Up of Bridge Road

The tenancy breakup for Bridge Road from Punt Road to Church Street contains comprises the following:

spotlight-on-bridge-road-pie-chart

Food  
Cafes 13
Take-away 4
Restaurants 7
Fresh Food / Supermarket 4
Wine 1
Hotel 1
Total 30

Health / Medical / Beauty  
Beauty 11
Hair 6
Gym 9
Medical / Health 8
Total 34

Retail  
Fashion 28
Shoes 4
Other 30
Total 62

Entertainment 1
Offices 16

For Sale 2
For Lease 53
Development site 7
Total 62

Total: 205

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Observations

Coles has tapped into this market by having two stores, one an Express outlet and the other within a kilometre of each other.

Cafes comprise only 6% which is low for the strips that we have surveyed. Whilst some stand alone buildings may have demolition covenants in leases preventing food use, there are a number of shops either not suitable for redevelopment or part of a new development that could be occupied as a café.

Fashion is still represented strongly with 27 shops representing 13% of stores. This is higher than the average we have experienced. Most of the original clothing discounters have moved on but a Bonds outlet and Sports Girl have remained.

Offices are also well represented with 8% of occupancy. This is slightly higher than average and is an indication of a reduction in rent in the street which allows non retail users to open businesses.

The number of vacant properties for lease currently stand at 30% of stock, which is a concern. However, this may be a transitional period as many are potential development sites and therefore short term tenancies or pop up stores only are sought.

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Opportunities

The high number of vacancies creates opportunities for new tenants and rents will be more attractive than they have been in past years.  The strip would be particularly amenable to the following uses;

Medical; The Epworth Hospital has developed significantly in recent years and creates its own sub market for allied users such as medical professionals and clinics. There are at present only four actual practitioners or clinics at ground level.

Food and Beverage; there are few cafés in this part of Bridge Road who could capture custom from local Richmond and East Melbourne residents, visitors to the hospital as well as AFL supporters seeking a meal before/ after the game.

Fashion; a number of boutiques do remain and there is no reason to consider that with some promotion, Bridge Road could regain its mojo as a fashion precinct.

Homewares and gifts; the growth in nearby apartment construction nearby would indicate that this is a growing market which is not well serviced in the vicinity at present.

You can view the traders association website here http://www.bridgerd.com.au/

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Aldo Galante

Written by Aldo Galante

For over 30 years, Aldo has been at the forefront of Australia’s fast-evolving property industry. He served as President of the prestigious Australian Property Institute (Vic), providing determinations on rent-reviews and valuations

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