Cat Cafe site fur sale in historic Melbourne CBD building

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The building housing Melbourne’s Cat Cafe is for sale. Ella Keele, 9, has coffee with a cat at the popular establishment. Picture: Alex Coppel

The purrfect property for a cat lover is fur sale in a CBD laneway.

The historic building housing Australia’s first cat cafe has hit the market, offering a buyer an opportunity to capitalise on the paw-pular business’s success.

CBRE listing agent Alex Brierley said interest in 30 Guildford Lane had been around the $3 million mark, but warned buyers may need to pay more to collar the double-storey property at its September 5 auction.

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Inside the Cat Cafe at 30 Guildford Lane, Melbourne.

While the Cat Cafe business itself isn’t for sale, Mr Brierley said its secure three-year lease would generate an annual income of about $108,000 for the building’s next owner.

He said the cafe was one of a kind in Melbourne, and had become a haven for international students who couldn’t have pets of their own in their small city apartments.

“There are often queues out the door,” he said.

It opened in 2014, and was inspired by a concept that’s big in Asia.

Patrons pay from $12 to pat and play with rescue cats from The Lost Dog’s Home and the Geelong Animal Welfare Society, with an option to enjoy a drink or snack as well.

Patrons of the cafe get to pat and play with rescue cats.

Mr Brierley expected the building’s character, position in a pocket being transformed by development, and “entry-level price point” to be other drawcards for buyers.

“You’re looking at paying at least $5 million for a freestanding building in Melbourne’s CBD these days,” he said.

The agent — who has the listing with CBRE’s Julian White and Steveway Real Estate — said investors and buyers looking at owner-occupying the property down the track, for businesses including retail and hospitality, were in the mix for the keys.

The Cat Cafe has a three-year lease at the building on heritage-listed Guildford Lane.

Guildford Lane, and nearby Hardware Lane, were granted permanent heritage protection this month, with Planning Minister Richard Wynne citing their “rich and interesting history” as being worth preserving for “generations to come”.

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