Russel Street – ex car showroom

7 March 2023:

Demolished in 2021, this building in Russell Street wasn’t the most exciting architecture, but was on the edge of a pretty intact precinct, and almost got listed but unfortunately too late. Long owned and occupied by the Theosophical Society, it was built in 1923 for Russell Investments as a rental office building, with relatively simple decoration, but believe it or not, the ground floor was specially built as a car showroom ! There were a number of car showrooms in this block from the 1910s to the 1960s, including a great art deco building for Preston Motors on the corner of Little Collins, and more on the opposite side. Olympia Motors sold US made Durants and UK made Woseleys. Later in the 30s the showroom sold used cars, and after WW2 it was a place where you buy cash registers (remember them ?). It was announced as a Micro Hotel in 2018, with a flashy glassy facade, which appears to have been replaced by a solid red brick design by Kennedy Nolan, which I prefer actually. It’s wider than the previous one since they bought the Disposals store next door and demolished that too. I’ve no idea what a Micro Hotel is.

2 thoughts on “Russel Street – ex car showroom

  1. In 1964, a major Melbourne Ford dealer, I think it was Melford’s used the ground floor as it second CBD located showroom. I say ‘second’ as Melford’s primary dealership was in Elizabeth street.

    Anyway, I clearly recall an outstanding brand new export RHD 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 four door pillarless hardtop displayed in this building.

    Clearly this Ford dealer was trying to convince buyers who were looking at 1964 Chevrolet Impala 4 door hardtops in Preston Motors who were just across the road to consider a ‘64 pillarless Galaxie as an option.

    From memory, the showroom was small but nevertheless impressive.


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