282-284 Collins Street

A photograph of 282-284 Collins Street.
Block Arcade Collins Street Façade
282-284 Collins Street
Floors (above-ground)
Architect / architectural firm
David C. Askew
Construction firm
Construction start date
Construction end date
Architectural style
Victorian Mannerism
Ownership history
  • 1892 - unknown: City Property & Co. Pty. Ltd.
  • 1986 - 1991: Time Corporation.
  • 1991 - 1993: Westpac.
  • 1993 - 2014: Kearney family.
  • 2014 - present: Cohen family.
Current Tenant(s):


Past Tenant(s):
  • Block Arcade. (Mall).
    • Haute Horology. (Luxury watch retailer).
    • La Crêperie Saint Germain. (Café).
    • Roxanne Fashions. (Fashion retailer).
    • Telstra T Shop. (Mobile phone retailer).

The Block Arcade is a shopping arcade which was considered the city of Melbourne's pre-eminent retail hub in the late Victorian period, and which continues to be considered one of the city's most beautiful public interior spaces and pre-eminent tourist attractions into the present day. The Arcade consists of a richly-ornamented L-shaped tunnel, with equally richly-ornamented entrance façades along Collins Street to the south and Elizabeth Street to the west, a glass overhead canopy, and an octagonal rotunda at the corner. The Arcade takes its name from the practice of "doing the block": dressing fashionably and promenading the section of Collins Street between Elizabeth and Swanston streets.

The Arcade was designed by David C. Askew and built between 1891 and 1892 for Benjamin Fink of City Property & Co. Pty. Ltd., after a fire destroyed the Georges Emporium which had previously occupied the site. Its design was inspired by the Galleria Vittorio in Milan. The grand opening was in 1893, and the Arcade quickly arose to become and for a long time remained one of the city's most fashionable, popular hangouts. By 1986, following the introduction of stringent fire regulations, the then owners of the Arcade opted to sell the building rather than face the steep costs of bringing it up to code. It was purchased by the Time Corporation, who spent $15 million on refurbishment. In 1991, Westpac became mortagee in possession, and subsequently sold the building at public auction in 1993. The purchasers were a Melbourne QC and his wife, John and Alison Kearney, who refurbished the building a second time. In 2014, the Cohen family purchased the Block Arcade, and remain the owners as of 2022. 

Building manager / body corporate / owner's corporation
Allard Shelton