Affordable property: Azure Waterfront at Rhodes

April 21, 2012

With lots of affordable property, the buzz is returning to Sydney’s Olympic corridor.

It’s where Cathy Freeman took out the 400 metres Olympic gold medal, Ian Thorpe struck gold twice on the first day and Eric the Eel made Olympic history as the slowest-ever swimmer – and the first to almost drown.

But nearly 12 years on from the best Olympics ever, Sydney’s Olympic central is almost unrecognisable. Despite fears the area would become a derelict wasteland like Athens, the area is booming.

At Sydney Olympic Park, the first of three planned towers is standing tall, with stunning views over the stadium, Bicentennial Park, west to the Blue Mountains and all the way back to the city.

Only five of the 216 apartments in Australia Towers by developer Ecove remain unsold, with sales of the second stage now begun off the plan.

Just to the north-west, the former athletes’ village has been transformed into the bustling suburb of Newington, while on either side of Homebush Bay to the north-east, the new tower blocks of Rhodes stare down the lower-rise community of The Waterfront at Wentworth Point on the other side of the Parramatta River.

Although buyers are coming mostly from the rest of western Sydney, the north shore, the inner west and even country NSW, in the short term, the rapid increase in the supply of homes could lead to higher vacancy rates, so investors need to be cautious, says the managing director of SQM Research, Louis Christopher.” But in the longer term, the additional supply will be gradually absorbed.”


Once a barren industrial wasteland, left after the closure of the Union Carbide plant and the departure of Allied Feeds and CSR Chemicals, Rhodes – just three kilometres from the stadium on the southern bank of the river – is now a thriving metropolis of apartment buildings. The number of cranes puncturing the skyline provides a clue to the tremendous amount of work still ongoing. When finished, the area – the subject of a massive post-Olympics remediation project – is projected to house 11,000 residents.

“Ten years ago, it looked like a scene from Mad Max,” says the chief executive of Miller Street Partners, Mark Davidson, who was the founder and managing director of Trafalgar Corporate, which joined with Leightons to remediate the land and draw up plans for the future with the NSW government.

“Now, it’s a vibrant community with a railway station, shopping centre, new roads, parks …

“When you look at the geographical location on one of the last waterfront sites in Sydney, not far from the CBD and with a great level of infrastructure, it’s little wonder it’s worked. House and land values are 150 per cent over what we thought.”

According to APM, the median house price in Rhodes has risen from $657,500 in 2009 to $985,000 last year, with rents almost doubling from $350 a week in 2006 to $685 last year. Apartment prices have gone from $513,000 to $604,000.

New projects being sold off the plan include Bridge Hill Developments’ Azure Waterfront, comprising 159 apartments across four low-rise buildings, due to be completed later this year, with studios from $385,000 up to three-beds from $998,000. So far, 65 per cent are sold. The company’s 205-apartment Monaco, with one-beds from $445,000 and three-bed townhouses up to $1.3 million, will start selling next month.

“We’ve been inundated with inquiries,” says an associate director of CBRE residential projects, David Lee.” It’s the last building on the water in Rhodes, the apartments are oversized and a lot of people want to take advantage of the stamp duty concessions.”

Originally Published by Financial Review