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Elizabeth St retail opportunity the ‘last piece in the jigsaw’ in gentrified Surry Hills


Mark Westfield

The transformation over the last 20 years of Sydney’s inner city Surry Hills from run-down garment district to smart precinct inhabited by boutique apartment blocks and hotels, small bars and bustling retail outlets is no better encapsulated than by the property Colliers International is marketing in the suburb’s main thoroughfare, Elizabeth Street.

The property at number 517 covering 400 sq metres in the six-storey East Central building houses an organic grocery and health food café under lease to Bondi Wholefoods for 10 years, plus an option for a further 10. The freehold covers the whole ground floor and earns a net income of about $265,000, according to Colliers.  The type of business and its popularity in this part of Surry Hills reflects the extent of the gentrification of the area and is a world away from the early openers and grungy corner caffs that Surry Hills was better known for in the 1980s and 90s.

East Central is between Central Station and Cleveland Street on the one-way section of Elizabeth Street heading south into Redfern. This strip has been one of the last parts of Surry Hills to attract the attention of developers and landlords as they pushed south in recent years redeveloping and renovating. The place is humming and the light rail under construction only 100 metres away has given the gentrification process a further boost.

“This is the last piece of the puzzle for Surry Hills, which is now totally gentrified,” says Colliers’ Miron Solomons, who is marketing the property with colleague Matt Pontey. “Sophisticated buyers are seeing this process will continue and, on top of this, Surry Hills is very tightly held. This is being reflected in rents, which are the fastest growing nationally at 30 per cent over the last 12 months.

The property goes to auction on 6 July. “There is strong interest,” says Solomons. The agents are giving a price guide of “over $5 million”.

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