As part of its 25th birthday celebrations this September, Melbourne Central is launching an immersive virtual reality experience for visitors.

The three minute tour will take place in the historic Coops Shot Tower. Built in 1889 and preserved in Melbourne Central’s 20-storey high glass cone, the tower is the largest of its kind in the world and was used for making lead shot until it was decommissioned in 1961.

Visitors will be transported back in time as they walk around the 3×3 metre space, listening to narration from a local historian and author and interacting with the virtual environment. They can even experience making shot pellets as workers did two centuries ago.

Leigh Dunn, regional general manager of Melbourne Central, says the virtual reality installation shows the centre’s commitment to providing an engaging retail environment.

“The future of retail lies in experimenting with and constantly innovating the customer journey,” she explains.

“We want our growing number of visitors to recognise Melbourne Central as the CBD shopping precinct where fashion, food, entertainment, culture, history, art and technology constantly converge to create unique and exciting cultural experiences.”

Virtual reality experts Liminal 360 collaborated with Melbourne Central on the concept and managing director, Nick Busietta, says he sees the potential for more virtual reality projects within retail.

“Melbourne is a global hotspot for virtual reality and retail is an area that stands to benefit significantly by providing customers with enriched, immersive experiences so it’s the perfect sweet spot for Melbourne Central,” he says.

“Our vision for this experience was to utilise the most advanced virtual reality technology on the market, the HTC Vive, and to craft an historical ‘real world’ environment where the user can actively interact with elements to learn about the history of Melbourne Central—and what we have created truly is a benchmark for the use of virtual reality in brand activation.”