Laurent Bakery has unveiled a breathtaking makeover of its original South Yarra flagship in Melbourne’s iconic Como Centre, owned by property investment manager Newmark Capital.
First opened in 1993, the French artisan bakery and cafe has expanded in the centre, adding an open and onsite kitchen to produce fresh-to-order baked goods, a feature that existed in the original Como Centre store.
The store has increased capacity, extending from 133sqm to 231sqm to seat a comfortable 110 people across a split-level seating area – making it the biggest Laurent in Victoria and the only one with an open kitchen.
Facing Victoria’s unpredictable COVID-19 lockdowns, Laurent Bakery has been able to pivot to takeaway trade, and last year announced its partnership with Deliveroo.
Speaking on the renovation, founder and CEO, Laurent Boillon said, “We are extremely excited to share our flagship store’s fresh new look and expansion. I wanted to bring back the soul of the bakery, which of course is the open kitchen.
“A big space was essential to also create an incredible seating zone for our customers.
“The atmosphere has completely lifted. And feedback from customers, both regulars and passing guests, has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Laurent enlisted the help of interior design firm, Golden to reinvent the classic and modern style synonymous with the brand.
“Laurent is a key tenant at the Como Centre, and for almost three decades has been a hub of the precinct,” said Newmark’s General Manager, Property, Angus Machutchison, who oversees the centre.
“It’s a testament to Laurent’s popularity and quality service that the store has moved from strength to strength, serving the local community while scaling their business significantly and successfully.
“Laurent is part of the mix of national brands and independent retailers that speaks to the vibrancy of the Como Centre.”
The centre continues to go from strength to strength. Following Laurent’s upgrade, Newmark completed a major refurbishment to enhance the shopping, work and leisure experience with a sophisticated new look and amenities.
“We’re really proud of the Como Centre’s longevity – not just the longevity of its presence in South Yarra but also of the retailers and office and commercial tenants within it. We have very high retention and we are now close to 100% leased in both office and retail,” said Mr Machutchison.
Many retailers within the centre have effectively shifted their business models to remain relevant during COVID-19 restrictions. The Como Centre’s success throughout these challenges demonstrates the value of commercial assets with strong fundamentals of prime location and quality tenants.
Speaking of the location, Mr Boillon said: “It is probably one the best spots in South Yarra. In the 90s, Toorak Rd was the centre of Melbourne’s food and fashion scene, and it has remained a lively and modern location throughout its changes.”
The Como Centre is a mixed-use complex of interconnected office, retail and hotel buildings, owned and operated by Newmark Capital.