A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in Melbourne as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in the city.
Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia, behind Sydney, and it lies along the southern coast in the east of the country. With some four million people inhabiting the greater Melbourne area, the city is a hugely important part of the Australian economy and its cultural life, and is the capital of the state of Victoria.
Stretching out around the natural bay area that became known as Port Philip, Melbourne sits on the mouth of the River Yarra and has been one of the most significant sites in the history of modern Australia. The region was home to indigenous people for tens of thousands of years before being settled by Europeans in the mid-1800s and turned into one of the key cities in the British Empire. The site has been called Melbourne since 1838 and was named after the then British prime minister the Second Viscount of Melbourne (a small town in Derbyshire, England).
As in other parts of the world during the 19th century, Melbourne and the state of Victoria saw a dramatic boost in its population and its economy as a result of gold being found in the surrounding hills. Thousands of people from various far-flung parts of the world descended on the area in the hope of striking it rich. Most did not but their arrival had a huge impact on the city and its population swelled to such an extent that only London had more inhabitants than Melbourne in what was then a very long list of British-run cities.
The proceeds and the scale of activity around Port Philip in the second half of the 1800s saw an array of grandiose buildings being established across Melbourne. The city’s economy eventually crashed and wilted for a decade and more just prior to the turn of the 20th century and the federation of Australia in 1901. Nevertheless, it was still to be the site of the nation’s early governmental buildings and was the centre of administrative business until the capital was moved to Canberra in 1927.
The Second World War was devastating in many ways for Australia and many people died in the fighting but Melbourne as a city was able to benefit despite the turbulence and expand its importance as a manufacturing centre. Progress made in the period was built upon with great fervour in the post-war years when the city really began to flourish both economically and culturally.
The moniker ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ had been handed to the Victorian capital a few decades before but it has been able for the most part to live up to the tag and to become a truly attractive and globally impressive city. Development has been carried out on a huge scale and Melbourne is a fully modern industrial city and yet it has managed to maintain a strong and valuable reputation as a great place in which to live.
Melbourne’s long-held position on the cutting edge of urban innovation saw it become one of the first cities in the world to design and build an office space tower complete with a fully-functioning elevator system to get workers up and down in no time. The office towers in modern Melbourne are rather different from those constructed during its late-Victorian heyday but they still offer some high-quality space and put the city at the forefront of Australia’s real estate markets.
Areas within the central business district and into the Docklands and Southbank parts of the city have seen plenty of regeneration work take place in recent decades. Most of the tallest towers in Australia are to be found in downtown Melbourne and its variety of office space and economic activity makes it arguably the most important commercial property market in the country.
The latest data from the Property Council of Australia, released in February 2011, revealed that vacancy rates in Melbourne’s overall office space stock fell in the second half of the previous year as demand marginally out-stripped demand. Various indicators suggested that Melbourne was better able to offset and respond to the impact of the global financial crisis of 2008 than any other city in the country.
Economy and Transport
The Melbournian economy is based in large part around the financial sector, which is a major contributor to the Australian economy and has seen the city become the main operating base for several global banking organisations. Other areas of the economy that have traditionally been very strong and significant for Melbourne as a whole are mining, automotive manufacturing and more recently information and computer technology.
Getting across, into or out of downtown Melbourne is really a much more straightforward and less stressful process than can be the case in many of the other great cities of the world. A road network system links the city centre with the suburbs and, though dependence on cars remains high, there are progressively more people using the public transport services that are on offer, including relatively new trams and railways. There are as many as four airports serving the Victorian capital, with Melbourne Airport being the main and most commonly used of the four.
Culture, tourism and sport
The local culture of Melbourne is as interesting as it is vibrant, with many important influences stemming from the original home countries of immigrant communities, particularly the Greeks and Chinese. Melbourne is generally regarded as being the Australian capital as far as television, performance art, literature and music are concerned and it has been something of a pioneer in the increasingly popular genre of street art.
Melbourne is packed with impressive architecture dating from the city’s early years as well as more recent additions to the skyline. It is an almost inescapable ‘must-visit’ location for anyone heading to Australia from a different region of the world and it is a massively popular tourist destination for global travellers and seasoned Antipodeans alike. Festivals and open air events keep the city alive all year round and ensure there’s likely to be plenty going on whenever you decide to visit.
Sport is a great passion in Victoria and virtually a national obsession across Australia. Sports grounds in the city are among the most impressive in the world, with the Melbourne Cricket Ground hosting packed crowds of close to 100,000 on a regular basis. Other hugely popular sports include Australian rules football, rugby league, rugby union and soccer. There have been preliminary suggestions that Melbourne will be bidding to host the Summer Olympic Games during the 2020s but we’ll have to wait and see on that one.