5 Oct 2017 / News
The changing face of Cremorne

We love Cremorne’s narrow back streets and its eclectic mix of businesses. From the tech start-ups (and the not-so-small tech companies such as Tesla Motors, Carsales and REA Group) to the fashion retailers and furniture companies, we love the innovation and agility that surround us here.

ICON Managing Director Ashley Murdoch says he loves Cremorne because of its close proximity to the city, yet is also separate from the bustle of the CBD.

“Cremorne is a great home for the ICON team. It has a village-like quality to it, yet so much amenity surrounds it and within minutes, you can be in the CBD.”

This is what has made it attractive to the start-ups, and to coworking spaces such as Spaces Richmond. In the hospitality space there is even a kind of ‘coworking’ lab, Bureaux Collective, that helps cafes to roast their own coffee beans.

Architecturally, Cremorne is a mix of beautiful old brick warehouses and tiny terrace houses. Both categories are a testament to the suburb’s industrial roots: there are workers’ cottages and also the older businesses that employed them.

Today, however, there is a mix of architectural responses. The area is experiencing a real-estate renaissance and Cremorne has come to attract some serious players.

Along with Tesla, Carsales and REA Group (the company behind realestate.com.au), tech-based players MYOB, Vinomofo and Uber all call Cremorne home, contributing to the suburb’s nickname ‘Silicon Yarra’. Online jobs portal Seek will move its 800 staff there too, following completion of a 19,300 square-metre office space due for completion by 2021. The Walt Disney Company is also moving into the neighbourhood.

ICON is also seeking to develop a (smaller) commercial building. Located at 600 Church Street, the site of the old Nuttelex margarine factory, the 5600 square-metre building has been designed by award-winning architects Wood Marsh.

In Cremorne, new arrivals can mingle comfortably alongside well-preserved heritage buildings that have been converted to commercial and office tenancies. The Bryant and May match factory, the former Richmond Power Station and the Rosella complex all contribute to the heritage of the area.

“Architecturally there is more integrity in juxtaposition than the imitation of older styles in modern materials. Cremorne has such a strong foundation of older industrial buildings – it’s great to see that preserved but also complemented by some of the better contemporary buildings going in,” Murdoch says.

Murdoch thinks Cremorne also needs to preserve its eclecticism.

“Alongside medium-rise projects, smaller, well-designed functional places will be the future of Cremorne. It is the ideal suburb for its access to transport, cafes and the river and the city. It’s one of Melbourne’s most creative hubs.”

And Murdoch has a radical suggestion for the suburb he loves: fewer cars, more bikes.

“With its small, quiet back streets and its proximity to public transport, the Yarra cycle trail and the CBD, Cremorne has a great opportunity to become more pedestrian and bike friendly,” he says.