Those interested in Sydney’s colonial past will eventually find themselves heading for Parramatta. Located about 30 kilometres from Sydney’s CBD – and also accessible by the popular Parramatta Ferry – Sydney’s “geographical heart” was originally known by the local Darug people as “Burramatta”: the place where eels lie down.
While the ferry is popular, the suburb is well-served with all forms of public transport – it’s a 30 minute train ride from Sydney’s CBD – and a multibillion-dollar transport network is being rolled out that will add more connections throughout the region.
Many of Parramatta’s heritage sites stem from the early days of settlement and on weekends the place teems with locals and tourists keen to check out the historical Parramatta Gaol or nearby Elizabeth Farm, the country’s oldest European dwelling. There’s also plenty to keep people out at night with restaurants, bars, and the multi-venue Riverside Theatre located right in the centre.
Lawyer Raymond Frangi grew up in Parramatta, attending school and university there, and now lives in the district with his wife. “I really like how it is central to most parts of Sydney,” he says. “You’re only 25 minutes from Sydney’s CBD, about 15 minutes from the north-west and 20 minutes from the south-west.”
Frangi also chose to work locally, after spending several years commuting to Sydney’s CBD, stressing the community feel that Parramatta offers is a big attraction. “Even though I work in Parramatta’s CBD I feel like I’m part of a community; there are familiar faces that you see every day,” he says. “The transformation the area is undergoing is another key attraction. I’ve lived here for many years and have seen the way the area has changed; it’s constantly evolving with businesses relocating and more cultural and entertainment venues springing up.”
“It is an area that is affordable to buy into and has the potential for further growth.”David Milton, CBRE
While Parramatta is evolving into a thriving arts and entertainment hub, it is also home to a large number of public and private schools including King’s, James Ruse Agricultural High, and Tara Anglican School for Girls. The University of Western Sydney – one of the country’s fastest growing universities – is also located here.
Frangi says the many parks and sporting fields makes it a great place for young families. “There’s also Parramatta Lake, which is quite close to the CBD, where you can swim or just walk around the bush and parklands.”
The potential of Parramatta is evidenced by the multimillion-dollar infrastructure and renewal projects including the $11.5 billion WestConnex, Sydney’s second major airport at Badgery’s Creek, and the new footbridge that will run close to a prime waterfront development being built by Starryland, known as Promenade.
Promenade is located along the Parramatta River at 2 Morton Street and comprises 773 residences across 12 buildings connected with three domestic public spaces. It’s being built in three stages with the final stage expected to be completed in early 2018. CBRE managing director, residential projects, David Milton, says while the river was expected to be the key attraction for buyers, it is the green spaces that are garnering the most attention.
“The river is a popular feature and there are great views over it but buyers also love the foreshore and the parkland areas,” Milton says.
Promenade is set on 1.2 hectares of landscaped gardens and includes an artificial beach and water fountain. Milton says many of the purchasers are owner-occupiers such as young couples with families. “There is also a lot of interest from investors from outside the area,” he says. “They are attracted to being able to buy a two-bedroom, two-bathroom place for less than what they would pay for a studio in their own area.”
The final stage will be released in September and comprises 145 apartments on the premium riverfront site. The display suite will open on September 3.
Milton adds Parramatta is an area that was always going to come of age eventually and it has finally happened. “It is an area that is affordable to buy into and has the potential for further growth,” he says.
Date: 23rd August 2016
Author: Gayle Bryant