Freshwater is seeing millions poured into new apartments, cafes and restaurants.
The northern beaches suburb that began as an unsavoury tent community of working men, Freshwater is now the Bronte of the northern beaches.
As Bronte is a smaller community close to bigger and bolder Bondi so Freshwater is a quieter version of better-known Manly.
And Freshwater is gaining traction as a go-to hip suburb with cool cafes, high-end restaurants and upmarket shops. It now regularly tops the most-heavily searched Sydney suburb list, has one of the best surfing beaches in Sydney and is now undergoing a village centre transformation.
Freshie is gaining reputation as an upmarket suburb. Its house prices are high and it is seeing a raft of high-end shops and restaurants opening up.
At the site of a suburban greengrocers there now stands a $126 million development called The Freshwater with new shops opening and residents moving into luxury units upstairs.
Around the corner, in Lawrence St, another development is being offered off-the-plan. Oceans has only been marketed for five weeks but already half the 23 apartments have sold.
And on the other side of the road numbers 12-32 Lawrence St are for sale, advertised as ‘investment with development upside.”
Five neighbouring properties up to Dowling St are being offered for sale via expressions of interest, closing mid November.
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Toby Silk, of CBRE, said the land area of 2568sqm is zoned B2 with an 11 metre height limit. Currently the five properties comprise three two-storey buildings, one one-storey building and a retail arcade with parking for 21 cars.
These three developments will transform the heart of Freshwater village.
Just outside the village the Harbord Diggers RSL, first opened in 1930, unveiled a $200 million renovation earlier this year. Inside are several fine dining restaurants inclduing AcquaFrescu by Gionvanni Pilu – a far cry from the working mens meals served in the early days of the club.
The new Harbord Diggers with a big emphasis on dining choices.
A Parma pizza from AcquaFresca by Pilu in the new Harbord Diggers.
Meanwhile Pilu, ab award-winning Sydney restaurant is above Freshwater Beach.
Adam Reeves, projects director of First National Real Estate Manly Prestige, said the whole central village area of Freshwater is being upgraded.
“Oceans is set to be the next stepping stone for the future of this very popular village community. This is what has drawn purchasers and local downsizers to the project; the fact that it is going to be part of a large development upgrade to the area and as an early part of this change means there is great value in these properties,” he said.
Oceans at Freshwater, units start at $1.05 million.
Oceans at Freshwater, some of the units have a view of the ocean.
Oceans is designed to be a limited edition building with 14 two-bedroom apartments, seven apartments with three-bedrooms and two one-bedders. Prices start from $1.05 million for the one-bedders and $1.45 million for the two-bedroom apartments.
Oceans is due to be completed in the first quarter of 2020 and there is a display suite for people to inspect the layout and finishes at 11 Lawrence St.
“With further growth expected in the local area over the coming years, it is a very exciting time,” Mr Reeves said.
Freshwater regained its name in 2008 having been called Harbord, in honour of the State Governor’s wife’s maiden name, for many years. When the land was being settled the new residents wanted to distance themselves from the mens camps and identified their area as Harbord Estate.
Now Freshwater is sought-after by family chasing the beach lifestyle, good schools and village vibe. The traditional Chinese restaurant has been replaced by an artisan bakery, the shop selling fishing rods and bait is now a homewares shop and there are designer fashions shops and wholefood cafes.
Mrs Jones the Baker owner Lucy Jones with her chocolate creations, at her Freshwater bakery.
One of the new fashion stores in Albert St.
Twenty-five per cent of the population of Freshwater is aged under 19.
Based on figures released by CoreLogic the median house price for Freshwater is $2.48 million up 13 per cent over the last 12 months.
There have been 138 unit sales over the past year, the median unit sales price is $820,000, down 5 per cent over 12 months.
In 1914, Hawaii native and swimming champion, Duke Kahanamoku, toured Australia and introduced surfing to Australia at Freshwater Beach using a timber long board.
The board has been kept on display in the Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club since 1952, and there is a statue of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku on the Freshwater headland.
– with additional reporting from Vanessa Mitchell