DeLutis to capitalise on escape from the city

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COLIN DeLutis’ DeGroup has announced a $40 million retail development project in Sorrento, as work from home trends drive growth in beachside locations.

The development, purchased by DeGroup in 2016 for $11.4 million, will be located at 80-98 Ocean Beach Rd, in the Mornington Peninsula town of Sorrento.

Comprised of 2000sqm of retail space totalling nine stores including two showrooms and 80 rooftop car spaces, addressing the Victorian town’s limited parking.

“Sorrento and neighboring towns at this end of the Mornington Peninsula have grown enormously in popularity in recent years on the back of Melbourne’s rapid population growth and increased tourism as well as accelerating trends to both working from home and those seeking a seachange which have, at least anecdotally, both increased post-COVID,” said Colin DeLutis, founder and chairman of DeGroup.

“Add that to the massive difference that the opening of EastLink has had to accessibility to the Peninsula and the huge strain it has had on existing services, and of course that includes an under resourced retail precinct which has always suffered from a shortage of carparks,” said DeLutis.

The 2600sqm site, located near Sorrento’s National Trust-listed Continental Hotel, will feature retailers including Platypus Shoes and Stylerunner who have already signed leases, with other shops currently under negotiation and three stores still available.

According to DeLutis, leasing enquiries have so far matched his expectations for demand, with the likely spike in local tourism, following COVID-19 restrictions, driving retailers interest.

“No-one really knows just how much impact pent-up tourist demand will have on Victoria’s favorite beachside locations, suffice to say the inability to travel outside Australia, and indeed the dangers associated with doing so, should see a real spike in local tourism and that will be an enormous fillip for tourism related businesses and attendant retail precincts.”

Plans for this development follow DeGroup’s December announcement of plans for a $70 million William Street office tower in Melbourne’s CBD, despite rising vacancies and diminishing demand.

The tower, with 236sqm office floors, is due for completion in 2022, with Crema Constructions taking on building the WMK Architecture designed development.

“With nothing new and modern having been built in the legal precinct for over 20 years, we are quite bullish about the market and very confident about the building’s leasing potential.”

“Businesses, and their clients, want COVID safe, hygienic spaces, where they can control their environment, and an important part of that is about not having to share spaces with other businesses,” said DeLutis.

With the Sorrento retail project and the CBD office tower, DeGroup has $110 million of projects in the pipeline, as Delutis continues to express confidence the reemerging market.

This is the new normal and will set new space apart from the competition in what will ultimately become a very competitive market as the economy emerges from the downturn and drives white collar employment growth,” said DeLutis of the William St development.