Publisher: The Urban Developer

The Longriver Group plans to transform a Melbourne motorcycle store into a Japanese-inspired $110 million vertical retail tower.

The advertised application for a nine-storey retail building will see the Peter Stevens Motorcycles store at 337-339 Elizabeth Street demolished and the partial demolition of the heritage-listed 341-345 and 347 Elizabeth Street.

The Chinese-backed developer purchased the 900sq m site, which boasts three shopfronts, in February for $31.5 million from vendor Peter Stevens.

Longriver lodged the plans in July and aims to have the site completed by 2022 despite major setbacks in the Melbourne construction and retail sector due to ongoing Covid infections.

“In the centre of Melbourne’s CBD will be Longriver’s pioneer retail and entertainment complex,” the application said.

“Embracing the renewed Elizabeth street precinct is a futuristic concept of vertical shopfronts with a variety of eclectic tenants offering 24-7 amenity and social experiences.”

According to architecture firm NH Architecture, the Cassels House project will shy away from traditional retail buildings.

The design will incorporate the heritage-listed 1920s buildings into the new façade while adding a geometric-glass tower above, taking inspiration from Prada Aoyama and Uniqlo Ginza in Tokyo.

To draw shoppers upwards there would be a focus on shopfront visibility from the street, a golden staircase next to the heritage building, possible gaming areas and retail businesses that “may not be suitable” for street level on the upper floors.

The application takes advantage of the City of Melbourne’s long-term vision for Elizabeth Street which was approved in May.

The upgrades will turn the eastern side of the street into a pedestrian-only walkway with stage one Flinders Street to Flinders Lane to be completed by the end of the year and construction continuing to La Trobe Street in 2026.

Longriver have a host of developments in Melbourne including plans for a 200-key hotel at Russell Place as well as a commercial office tower on 288 Queens Street and 275 apartments under construction at East Central in Box Hill.