Emporium Melbourne

CLIENT: Colonial First State Global Asset Management


Our industry leading cost efficient management has provided the framework to successfully deliver Melbourne CBD’s largest retail development since 1911.

Client Overview / Background 

Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFSGAM) is an investment management arm of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. With extensive expertise across a range of asset classes and specialist investment sectors, CFSGAM acts as stewards of over $203.2 billion in assets. These are managed on behalf of institutional investors, pension funds, wholesale distributors, investment platforms and financial clients.

The Brief

Emporium Melbourne is the largest retail development in Melbourne’s CBD since 1911; and has reinvigorated the heritage-listed former Myer site into a world-class retail precinct. This architectural marvel boasts a gross leasable area of 44,349m2, housing over 220 top lifestyle, beauty and fashion stores. 


Donald Cant Watts Corke was appointed by CFSGAM to provide advice and control costs through the life of the Emporium project. This redevelopment required the construction of two multi-level pedestrian bridges, two tunnels across Little Bourke Street, the refurbishment of the pedestrian bridge linking Emporium with Melbourne Central, two truck lifts and a giant outdoor electronic media screen. The demolition of existing buildings as well as the significant façade retention of iconic heritage buildings were also major components of this project.



A showcased major food court on Level 3 continues to be the retailer’s centrepiece, with natural light wells and oversized window expanses capturing the city skyline. This is complimented by additional food and beverage tenancies throughout the complex.


The Strategy / Solution

Drawing on over five decades of cost management experience, Donald Cant Watts Corke provided CFSGAM with cost planning of all design elements. This included the preparation of cost estimates for multiple architectural, structural and specialist interior fit-out design options. 

Through an extensive tender and negotiation period, Donald Cant Watts Corke played a major role in the procurement of the building contractor. Furthermore, our highly skilled industry leaders were able to facilitate and control the value management process, which resulted in the best cost outcome for CFSGAM. 


Key Takeaways

As a result of Donald Cant Watts Corke’s capabilities and strategic approaches, we achieved the following: Efficient cost controls, while managing issues such as a change of architect and major re-design, extensive procurement negotiations and value engineering, and tenant requirements.

Completion of Melbourne CBD’s largest retail development in over a century.

A highly complex construction project, which entailed:

  • Major demolition and asbestos removal
  • Retention of two heritage facades including 10 levels overlooking Lonsdale Street
  • Linking of new and heritage construction
  • Two basement levels and six upper levels
  • New three-level and --four-level pedestrian bridges
  • Two pedestrian tunnels under Little Bourke Street.
  • Two 25 tonne truck lifts, 44 escalators and 14 lifts.
  • Iconic retail hub with 222 stores and an urban market with over 30 well-known food brands.
"The success of Melbourne Emporium is a testament to our industry leading experts in construction cost management."
Stephen McCoullough | Managing Director VIC QS

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