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1st September, 2017

Alexandria: The suburb in transition on the inner-city fringe Written by Carla Grossetti, Allhomes.com.au

A quick scroll through the Bake Bar’s coolly curated Instagram feed is all the proof required that Alexandria is a neighbourhood in transition.

“Alexandria has changed a lot since we opened here three-and-a-half years ago,” says co-owner Rafi Aruch.

“Opening up a giant commercial kitchen and a cafe in Alexandria was a no-brainer. We wanted to increase production, and from a logistics point of view it has been fantastic because of its central location,” says Aruch, who also has Bake Bar Bakery outlets in Randwick and Double Bay.

The Bake Bar Bakery is one of the many cafes and restaurants to open in the Alexandria area in the last five years.The Bake Bar Bakery is one of the many cafes and restaurants to open in the Alexandria area in the last five years. Photo: Bake Bar

“The demographic in Alexandria has changed a lot. It’s got added appeal because of the fact so many people have moved here to work and study,” he adds.

“The people who now call Alexandria home love the location and they are always out and about looking for places to eat and drink and hang out and that has changed the face of the suburb.”

Cool cultural hub

Like many of the formerly scruffy, post-industrial areas of Sydney, the inner-south was always going to be “a prime target” for redevelopment because of its location and range of local amenities. That’s according to Domain’s chief economist Dr Andrew Wilson, who predicts the suburb will continue to prove popular thanks to its location near to transport, good schools, parks, universities and other infrastructure.

A leafy street in Alexandria.A leafy street in Alexandria. Photo: City of Sydney

“Alexandria is obviously primed for higher density living due to its proximity to the CBD and education precinct. It’s the first cab off the rank in terms of that spread downward from Redfern and Marrickville and it will continue to grow because of our never-ending quench for property close to the CBD,” Wilson says.

“When we look at this suburb, the market has been the most consistent since rates started falling in 2011. Affordability was the first driver for the demand for higher-density dwellings. That suburban dream of the white-picket fence becomes less desirable when it remains so expensive.”

A fringe festival

Wilson says suburbs on the fringe of Sydney’s CBD are viewed as desirable places to live as they transform into walkable communities dotted with galleries, quirky design spaces for creatives and cult cafes.

Mecca Cafe in Alexandria.Mecca Cafe in Alexandria. Photo: Ben Rushton

It’s that village vibe that also inspired Alan Thompson to open Barista + Cook on the fringes of Alexandria. This dedicated brew bar is where you will find everyone from cashed-up cool kids to commuters sipping on cold-drip brews by day and enjoying craft beers and burgers on Friday nights.

“In the year that I’ve lived and worked in this area, I’ve seen Alexandria soften. There’s more greenery and there are people walking around and it feels more complete,” says Thompson, a former international DJ.

“There are apartments above us and throughout the day the clientele changes from tradies and commuters to friends, mums with bubs and people conducting business. We are a destination cafe but we are also very representative of the local demographic.”

Architects from SJB will convert the heritage warehouses with sawtooth façades into The Gentry - a luxury collection of terraces.Architects from SJB will convert the heritage warehouses with sawtooth façades into The Gentry – a luxury collection of terraces. Photo: Thirdi Group

The Gentry-fication of Alexandria

While Alexandria’s bars, restaurants, cafes and boutiques are a big part of the suburb’s altered landscape, dramatic changes are also being seen as boutique developments, such as 37-townhouse project The Gentry, bring homes to the suburb that embrace its industrial charm.

Thirdi Property Group’s director of sales and marketing Luke Berry says the gentrification of Alexandria will be complete with The Gentry in William St. He describes the old building as a beloved neighbourhood landmark, which has had several tenancies – from a warehouse where ballet shoes were made, to a mechanic who specialised in restoring vintage cars.

“When we looked at this location we knew we could add to the gentrification of the suburb in a positive way,” says Berry.

Each of the townhouses at the Gentry will have their own private rooftop garden with an outdoor barbecue and theatre.Each of the townhouses at the Gentry will have their own private rooftop garden with an outdoor barbecue and theatre. Photo: Thirdi Group

“Alexandria is moving away from that industrial nothingness wasteland into an area where there is an eclectic mix of mixed use developments, cafes, and retail all spread out across the suburb.”

Thirdi has engaged the architects at SJB to convert the heritage warehouses with sawtooth facades into a luxury collection of terraces, each with their own private rooftop garden with an outdoor barbecue and theatre.

“We are nodding to the gentrification of the suburb in a positive way,” Berry explains. “It’s about taking it from old to new. When we looked at this building and its heritage and saw its raw beauty it was like looking at a blank canvas.

“People who are buying into these areas don’t want to be part of a master-planned community with no soul. They want character and history. The 37 Torrens-titled townhouses are located on a 3300-square-metre plot in Alexandria that embraces the area’s light industrial history.”

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1st September, 2017

The third housing type that everyone’s talking about Written by Carla Grossetti, Domain.com.au

Owning a townhouse has become the new Aussie dream. That’s according to social demographer Mark McCrindle, of McCrindle Research, who says rising property prices have forced many first-home buyers to adjust their expectations of buying that home with a white picket fence on a quarter-acre block.

“The townhouse option is meeting the needs of Australians not only in the suburbs of our large capitals, but across our cities in regional areas,” says McCrindle.

“Townhouses are becoming more and more popular because architects are replicating the life of a detached home into a more efficient space. People still get to have their barbecues and enjoy a bit of greenery and garden area and some townhouses even have that white picket fence, too.” McCrindle says the demographic analysis of Census data shows there has been a huge increase in townhouse living which – like apartments – appeals to two ends of the age spectrum: downsizing baby boomers and young couples and families. He says the architectural design of today’s terraces and townhouses also means they have modular flexibility to accommodate the different life stages of modern householders.

The Gentry in Alexandria will feature 37 townhouses within a heritage-listed warehouse conversion.The Gentry in Alexandria will feature 37 townhouses within a heritage-listed warehouse conversion. Photo: Thirdi Group

“The build quality of today’s townhouses makes them very appealing to everyone from young families to downsizers who all want to be closer to the action,” he explains.

“Whereas previous generations were about owning and accumulating and having lots of storage and a garage filled with ‘stuff’, life today is about the journey and experiences and the townhouse helps facilitate that goal because it means you are buying into a better location than you could otherwise afford.” McCrindle’s research found that townhouse living has increased by one-third since 2011, as 12.7 per cent of Australians now call a townhouse home. He points out that townhouses are most often built in inner-ring suburbs.

“If you look at where townhouse construction is taking place, it’s in suburbs like Alexandria. The location is positive as it’s closer to the employment hubs and transport connections in what we call ‘walkable communities’. The location of these communities is unbeatable,” McCrindle says.

Townhouses with paved courtyards, like this one in Stanmore, are an attractive option for those looking for a low-maintenance outdoor area.Townhouses with paved courtyards, like this one in Stanmore, are an attractive option for those looking for a low-maintenance outdoor area.

“I’m not talking about the kind of terraces and townhouses of old. I’m talking about townhouses that have paved courtyards, plunge pools, extended verandas, open living areas and rooftop gardens.”

George Redmond, 32, and partner David Belcher, 32, spent two years searching for a detached dwelling in the eastern suburbs before they revised their hopes of buying a detached home and settled on a townhouse. Redmond, co-owner of public relations agency, Wasamedia, and Belcher, a senior manager at Hays Recruitment, says while they were willing to compromise on the size of their first home, they had fixed ideas about its location and aspect.

“When we started looking at townhouses we realised how much we liked them. Our criteria was simple: we wanted to remain in the eastern suburbs, have an open-plan layout and a backyard with a north-facing aspect,” Redmond says.

Contemporary townhouses, like The Gentry in Alexandria, tend to be open plan.Contemporary townhouses, like The Gentry in Alexandria, tend to be open plan. Photo: Thirdi Group

“When we found a townhouse in Queen’s Park we fell in love with it. It’s an old terrace that has been newly renovated and the layout works really well. As it turns out, a townhouse is perfect for our lifestyle. My partner and I both grew up in big houses – he’s from London, I’m from New Zealand – but the weather is so good in Sydney that we are always outside. Centennial Park is our front yard and we go to Bronte Beach all the time and the proximity to the beaches, CBD and parks is a big drawcard.” The couple, who have a one-year-old daughter, Evie, agree one of the benefits of buying a smaller townhouse or terrace is they could afford to spend more on quality furniture and fittings. Redmond says another upside is the reduced maintenance, allowing for more quality family time.

“We chose a terrace over an apartment because we feel like we have our own bit of land. Buying a terrace means we have the benefit of living in a desirable location with all the benefits of freestanding house but without the huge expense,” she says.

SJB associate and architect Sevda Cetin agrees that the look and feel of townhouses in 2017 has broadened their appeal to an increasing number of buyers. The award-winning architectural firm is behind The Gentry, a new development in Alexandria that has transformed heritage-listed warehouses into 37 luxe townhouses. Cetin says The Gentry is a nod to the gentrification of the suburb and will cater to a growing demand for larger, more luxurious townhouses.

George Redmond bought a townhouse with her partner in Queen's Park.George Redmond bought a townhouse with her partner in Queen’s Park.

“Townhouses are very current and very appealing to those who are looking to live within the city in a dwelling that has a very private feel,” says Cetin.

“The buyers of these contemporary townhouses will know they are getting value. There is an ever-increasing number of buyers who want something that is architecturally significant and will enhance their lifestyle.”

To the casual passer-by, Cetin says the changes to the beautiful William St development with the bowed facade will be subtle. But the growing appetite for larger and more luxurious private dwellings means SJB’s adaptive reuse of the building will see it fitted out with high-end amenities that celebrate today’s townhouse aesthetic.

“Today’s townhouse is always about the openness of plan. The SJB philosophy is that it has to appeal to the street and to the internal courtyard that is at the rear of each dwelling,” she says.

“The current warehouses once housed a factory making ballerina shoes. It’s a heritage warehouse building and so we will be maintaining the facade and building behind that existing exterior.”

Cetin believes buyers’ growing interest in townhouses is due to the fact they provide a degree of privacy not available in an apartment. She also attributes the rise in demand to more families appreciating proximity to the CBD and the sense of community that comes with high-density living.

“It used to be couples that were drawn to the inner-urban suburbs, but now it’s growing families who want to buy into an area but cannot afford a freestanding home,” she says.

“The benefits of buying a spacious townhouse in a great location with its own private courtyard is that as well as being part of a growing hub, there is a feeling of cosiness when you close the door.”

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1st September, 2017

Titles matter in gentrified Alexandria Written by ThePropertyAddict.com

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The Gentry, Alexandria, THIRDi Group’s latest residential heritage conversion in the heart of Sydney’s City South is a property of a lifetime offering unique Torrens Titled terraces set to be released this August. It’s set to raise the standard for luxury living, offering both owner-occupiers and astute investors an elite terrace home that will stand the test of time.

The Gentry has completely challenged the Status Quo of the current development landscape – delivering a project with character and soul, celebrating its heritage past and combining this with the latest in design and high-tech living.

The Gentry seamlessly blends the rich history of Alexandria’s industrial past with indulgent details and thoughtful architectural design by the award-winning team at SJB Architects.

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SJB’s careful design decisions make the most of natural light throughout, inviting residents and visitors to take in views of the surrounding streetscape and city skyline. This ambient lighting creates a serene, open area that flows seamlessly into the welcoming living space and large outdoor courtyard.

Inside, the stairs, hallway and master bedroom all feature European Oak floors, complemented by the large format concrete styled and porcelain tiles elsewhere. The master bedroom takes over a whole level and includes clever details such as expansive wardrobes with a desk space that can be concealed when not in use.

Kitchens feature extraordinary attention to detail. With integrated Miele appliances, porcelain bench tops, stainless steel splash backs and soft-close drawers, it’s a space truly designed with entertaining family and friends in mind. Joinery features a level of detail uncommon in other developments and residents can choose from two colour schemes to find the palette that most relaxes the senses.

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The bathroom is an oasis that combines a minimalist approach with a focus on luxury design details. A private retreat made for unwinding and refreshing, beautiful porcelain tiled floors, timber vanities, open shelving and generously oversized mirrors enhance the space while creating an uncluttered look. Premium fixtures and quality finishes include a freestanding bath, dual shower and dual basin.

Rooftop spaces at The Gentry are unlike anything currently available within the inner city. Because these homes are Torrens Titled, each terrace comes complete with its own rooftop private cinema, luxury spa and a built-in kitchenette with barbeque. This stunning space is the ultimate retreat where you can unwind, entertain and take in the expansive city or district views.

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All terraces also include an oversized lock-up garage with room for one vehicle, two bicycles and an extensive wine cellar. Not that you’ll need the car, The Gentry’s enviable location at the very edge of Sydney’s vibrant city centre means everything is on your doorstep.

When it comes to transport connections, The Gentry residents are spoiled for choice. Green Square and a 7-minute walk to the station as well as direct bus routes mean fast, regular access into the CBD, while the Airport Link means domestic and international terminals are less than 15 minutes away by train.

Alexandria is home to some of Sydney’s best-kept culinary secrets. Up-and-coming cafés are now a fixture, while modern pubs and restaurants to suit every style and budget are all within easy reach, including The Grounds of Alexandria, Saporium, Danks Street Produce Merchants, Three Blue Ducks and Bourke St Bakery. There’s also an eclectic mix of specialty design stores, with Peters of Kensington, Domayne, the Carriageworks arts hub, Eveleigh Farmers’ Market and Redfern Night Markets within easy reach.

This close to the CBD, new Alexandria residents will find calm green spaces where the community gathers to work out, wander or simply relax, including Alexandria Park and the 40-hectare Sydney Park.

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Brand Partners for the development include SJB, Lawless Myerson, Miele, SMEG, Coco Republic, TESLA, Marc & Phillip and Archie Rose (just to name a few) all working together to deliver the ultimate purchaser experience well after settlement of the properties in 2018.

TESLA will provide twenty-first century energy storage technology to each terrace, while Google Home automation delivering the latest in voice activated features – for instance, the developer is currently in talks with a number of Australia’s leading coffee producers to install voice activated coffee machines – It’s this sort of #innovativebrilliance that Thirdi Group is renowned for.

The Gentry’s size, design features and architectural attention to detail represent an opportunity unlikely to be repeated in Alexandria. Through its unique layout, luxury inclusions and respect for classic design principles, the development brings the suburb’s past into contact with its thriving present to create one of the best residential developments anywhere in Sydney.

The Gentry will launch on August 17. Construction will commence this October 2017 with completion expected at the end of December 2018.

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