It was only ever going to be a matter of time before Woolloomooloo joined the growing tide of inner-city gentrification.
Here are 6 reasons why its time could be now.
1. It’s got water. Lots of it.
In Sydney, if you’re next to water, it’s only a matter of time until you hit the big time. Whether it’s Bondi, Point Piper, The Rocks, Millers Point, Balmain or even Parramatta it holds true – this city is fixated on water views and water access – and with good reason.
In this sense, Woolloomooloo really is the last piece of the harbourfront puzzle – surrounded on both sides by waterfront suburbs that have each undergone their own radical transformation in the past two decades.
Woolloomooloo enjoys great access to some iconic harbour foreshore – landmarked by the Finger Wharf developments – and the sloping nature of the suburb ensures that views of the water, and The Domain next door, are experienced throughout, whether you’re one street back or up the hill bordering Darlinghurst.
2. A public housing reboot
Politics aside, it’s an undeniable truth that relocating public housing has a monumental impact on a suburb’s dynamic, and prices – whether you think that’s for the better or worse.
With public housing sell-offs in suburbs such as Waterloo and Millers Point – both with similar public housing mixes to Woolloomooloo, where the majority of land is government owned – these suburbs could set a precedent for public housing policy in Woolloomooloo.
The state government is yet to set any plans for Woolloomooloo, but many are watching this space with interest.
3. Great neighbours, great influence
Rapid changes have been underway in Darlinghurst, Potts Point and Surry Hills. Each of these suburbs has received its own boost in the past 20 years, transitioning away from a working class suburb to a gentrified inner-city hotspot popular with young professionals.
Woolloomooloo is surrounded by these popular suburbs – where houses easily collect well into the million dollar range as a base guide – and as demand exceeds supply, it’s only logical that the search will turn to the next best, and closest, suburb.
4. The best commute in Sydney
Metro trains and light rail may well be all the rage in Sydney at the moment, but in a city with some of the best natural terrain in the world, there’s one commute that beats them all: strolling through The Domain, The Royal Botanic Gardens or Hyde Park on your way to work in the city.
In an age where downsizers and young professionals are increasingly abandoning the car for two wheels, or two shoes, the appeal of this great asset cannot be underestimated.
The best bit? It’s all free.
5. The dining revolution has already started
Look no further than a thriving dining and arts scene as a solid indication of a suburb’s changing nature. New restaurants shine a light on previously unnoticed suburbs, changing perceptions and the local dynamic and often leading to a spike in buyer and developer interest. It holds true for all of Sydney’s inner-suburbs, and Woolloomooloo is no exception.
From old haunts re-imagined, like the Frisco Hotel, to cool bars such as Riley Street Garage, Molo at Manta and Old Growler – Woolloomooloo’s nightlife is a huge attraction to young professionals. Add to the mix fine dining institutions such as China Doll and Otto Ristorante and you’ve got a dining revolution up there with the best of them.
6. Development is only just beginning, but it’s already setting a high standard
Yes, the Woolloomooloo Wharf development brought the public’s attention to the suburb way back in 1997 with its long list of celebrity buyers, but things went a little quiet after that.
But a wave of new boutique developments including the Scout development at 95-97A Bourke Street and 11A Harmer Street show how reimagining Woolloomooloo can be done in a sympathetic and harmonious way. Grander plans announced earlier this year have involved using the suburb as a case study for sustainable development, including vertical gardens and integrated highline walkways.