We have heard a few things about the new LEGO® Certified Store Opening in the Melbourne Central Shopping Centre over the last few months. And the day is almost here, with the store set to open at 10am Saturday 7th May 2022. I was fortunate to be able to attend a preview of the new store.
The first thing you see with the store, located on Level 2, is the overall size of the store. At 559 square metres, the store is the largest LEGO Certified store in Australia, and indeed the Southern hemisphere. The next thing you notice is that the store has a different fit-out compared with many of the LEGO Brand Retail, or LEGO Certified stores you have ever been to. It is the third store to be fitted out with the new design – less yellow, more white, new Build A Mini Stations, and a new Pick and Build Wall, Formerly Pick-A-Brick, but renamed in the interests of consistent branding.
With 110 portals containing a mixture of 70 different elements, this relatively new element selection wall design uses its space more efficiently, but compared to the older stores, does not have drawers that pull out. This can be frustrating for some visitors with larger hands. That said there is a great range of elements on opening, including vegetation: Palm fronds in bright yellowish-green, as well as olive green plant stems; Lots of 3×4 cloud plates; transparent purple lightning bolts, flames, dark red headlight bricks. I’m pretty sure I have a plan. At least I am planning to get a plan. Even a variety of elements in one of the new colours for 2022: Vibrant Yellow. There are plenty of regular bricks and plates too. I might have forgotten to pick those ones up, however!
The store also has the new design of the Build a Minifigure Station, but I have no idea just how long the pockets will remain so beautifully sorted…None of the latest selection of figures were available at the preview, but rumour has it they might roll out over the weekend, including the latest faction of knights.
The Store features the LEGO Mosaic Maker: you buy a ticket at the desk for $179.99, and sit in the mosaic maker booth – which then takes 3 pictures and gives you a plan for your photo mosaic, as well as the grey scale elements with which to construct it. (Whoops – editorial error: I missed a picture of this)
One of the highlights of the store has got to be the large model of the W-Class tram. Built by the team led by The Brickman, Ryan McNaught, the model has over 700000 elements, and is one of the largest models the team has built. On one end, it is tram 96 – leading to St Kilda Beach, with a smiling driver. On the other end, kids can hop into the cabin and take the tram to Billund, with Number 32 being a nod to the year that the LEGO Group started selling to produce toys. in the main cabin is a bench for a photo opportunity along with a tired commuter, although, on this occasion, it appeared full of LEGO Masters Australia Alumni!
And like all good trams, the other side has a large advertisement for a tertiary education provider. I’m not sure how I can enrol at Melbourne Brick University, but I sure want to go there!
The store’s development and opening has been delayed for a couple of years, during the lockdowns. I had a brief chat with Richard Facioni, the Executive Chairman of the Alquemie Group who own the majority of the LEGO Certified stores throughout Australia and New Zealand. With all the features of a Flagship Store, he expects to see the store functioning as a tourist destination – for both hardened AFOLs and family fans alike, with the store offering an experience unlike other LEGO Stores around the town. Located in the middle of the city, the store may well help to bring some people who had been avoiding the Central Business District, after nearly two years of intermittent lockdowns due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, back into town.
Located in Melbourne Central, the store is also relatively convenient for visitors from the suburbs by train, as well as regional visitors, with a city loop station in the lower levels of the centre, just a couple stops from Southern Cross Station.
At the preview event, all major sets were available – including the Delorean, Daily Bugle and Technic McClaren F1. Whether they will be in store after the end of the weekend remains to be seen.
For opening weekend shoppers making purchases over $199 AUD, the new LEGO Store set 40528 is available – one of the first opportunities in the world to pick up this new set.
Will you be going to Melbourne Central when you come to visit Melbourne? why not comment below, and until next time,