http://www.theage.com.au/business/p...former-scientology-centre-20110819-1j2dn.html FRENCH fashion house Chanel is speculated to be paying about $9 million for a Paris-end CBD property owned and occupied for 30 years by the Church of Scientology. Chanel, which currently leases a shop at 209 Collins Street at the City Square complex nearby, is expected to relocate to the historic four-level, 1377-square-metre building at 42 Russell Street on the north-east corner of Flinders Lane and abutting the recently refurbished Grand Hyatt Hotel. The church paid $720,000 for the building in 1980, but sold it for $7.4 million last May to a consortium including local property developer David Marriner, who coincidentally redeveloped the City Square mixed-use complex where Chanel is a tenant. The church twice famously abandoned plans to sell 42 Russell Street, leaving prospective bidders waiting at scheduled auctions in 2005, and then in 2008 - when the asset was expected to sell for about $8 million. It was at about this time that the church paid $7 million for the former Sisters of Mercy College in Ascot Vale, which it renovated and relocated to eight months ago. Last December, Mr Marriner proposed to demolish the church's former Russell Street building and replace it with a 25-level hotel with 100 guest suites above lower-level retail. A redevelopment application has been lodged with the City of Melbourne council and is being assessed. A representative from Chanel Australia was unavailable to comment. Any deal would be another show of confidence for Melbourne's retail sector. In recent months, Spanish brand Zara and British giants Topshop and Topman have committed to retail premises here.