Help save the Nicholas Building

Nicholas-Building-Cathedral-Arcade-courtesy-of-the-Nicholas-Building-AssociationThe Nicholas Building, one of Melbourne’s most valuable cultural precincts, is facing a crisis – and an opportunity!

The iconic art-deco building, positioned on the corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Lane, is up for sale, and tenants have banded together to call-out for investors to help them ensure that Melbourne does not lose this unique cultural treasure, one of the city’s oldest and most dynamic creative hubs.

The Nicholas Building Association are bringing together multiple partners including tenants, philanthropists, government, and private investors in a campaign to save the building, to make sure that it not only survives but thrives as Melbourne’s most diverse vertical business creative precinct.

“The Nicholas Building Association is campaigning to ensure that whoever buys the building buys it with us – that they too recognise the value of Melbourne’s most unique and diverse creative business community, the city’s only artist- and creative-led cultural offering of this scale,” said Dario Vacirca, Nicholas Building Association spokesperson and artist.

“We have support for a business case from the City of Melbourne, and are in discussions with Government and the philanthropic sector. This is an extraordinary – and urgent – opportunity for Melbourne to invest in its future.”

Built in 1926 and designed by architect Harry A. Norris, the Nicholas Building boasts a rich and colourful history. Originally home to businesses associated with the Flinders Street rag trade, medical practitioners and architects, past studio residents include visionary artist Vali Myers, author Gregory David Roberts, and musicians Tim Rogers and Mark Ferrie.

Today, the 11-storey Nicholas Building is a unique and essential hive of creativity. Perched atop the barrel-vaulted, leadlight-ceilinged Cathedral Arcade are over a hundred bustling studios – home to small businesses including galleries, bespoke bookstores, boutiques and tattoo parlours, alongside an eclectic mix of creative spaces housing fashion designers, jewellers, visual artists, designers, DJs, musicians and recording studios, architects, archaeologists, milliners, tech innovators, writers and filmmakers.

A spiritual headquarters for Melbourne’s artistic community, the Nicholas Building provides affordable and dynamic working spaces for residents – offering vital support for artists who’ve been especially hit hard by the pandemic – and frequently hosts extraordinary building-wide events, attracting visitors from far and wide.

“Oh for a world where artists could afford to team up and buy this building. IMAGINE,” said Sophie Cunningham, writer and ex Nicholas Building resident.

The Nicholas Building Association (NBA) was formed to protect and nurture the unique culture of arts and innovation the building has become known for.

Since 2017, the NBA has worked with the tenant body and the building’s owners, successfully negotiating rent waivers and reductions, alongside hosting hugely popular multi-disciplinary building wide events, collaborations and commissions, right in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.

For more information about the Nicholas Building, visit: for details.

Image: Cathedral Arcade – Nicholas Building – courtesy of the Nicholas Building Association