66 Evans St, Rozelle, today (above) and pre-renovation in 2000 (below)
The rise, fall, and revitalisation of the corner shop - or milk bar, if you’re from Victoria - should surprise few inner suburban residents of Australian capital cities. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, it was not uncommon for once well-patronized corner shops to close their doors in the face of competition from more cost-effective grocery stores in shopping centres (the proliferation of two-car households further enabled families to shop beyond that which was walking distance). Small scale commercial real estate faced a similar fate - the local solicitor that once maintained an office “just off the tram line” was soon found in a mid-rise in St Leonards, Bondi Junction, or Strathfield. Many of these corner shops morphed into use as art galleries, architecture firms, cafes, and even residences. (Fun aside: perhaps the most concentrated examples of commercial buildings turned into residences can be found along the former North Bondi (via Paddington and Bellevue Hill) tram line, roughly now the 389 bus route.) The Balmain Peninsula, due to its irregular topography, maintained more than its fair share of these corner shops since accessing the “main drag” of Darling Street was an inconvenient uphill walk for many residents in the densely populated suburb. That’s why today, in addition to residential conversions, one can find many pubs on quiet residential streets several blocks removed from Darling Street. Today, we focus our attention on two commercial conversions.
Listed this week, 66 Evans St in Rozelle (all pictures above) is found on the more desirable side of the suburb (north of Victoria Rd, adjacent to Balmain). The double-wide transformation took place sometime in the past 12 years (the Radical Terrace found the above circa-2000 picture of 66 Evans in the Leichhardt Council’s heritage archives). The architect’s behind the renovation maintained the visual aesthetic of its former commercial life on the exterior, while adding a level to enable a 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom abode suitable for large-scale family living. The business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back renovation earns it “mullet house” honours. Monique Dower and Olivia Wilson of Belle Property Balmain are expecting over $2.2m for the home. The closest comp for 66 Evans is likely the also-listed 122 Beattie St, seen below. That said, single-fronted next door neighbour 64 Evans sold for $1.145 in Nov 2009.
The listing: 66 Evans Street, Rozelle
Moving a few blocks north (but crossing the valuable Rozelle-Balmain boundary line), we find 122 Beattie Street. Originally the Sydney City Mission built in 1909, the 453sqm home sits on a large 570sqm block of land with a sizeable 126sqm workshop at the rear of the lot. The interiors have been transformed to resemble a contemporary warehouse conversion. Since the property’s original listing last year, Monique Dower and Olivia Wilson of Belle Property Balmain (the same two agents for the home above) have been dropped, as has the price, from $3.2m+ expectations to “$2.3m+ expectations”. Quite the price cut! Back in December, Monica Kovacic at The House Hunter took a tour and wrote a description that’s worth having a quick read. Now the home is listed through McGrath agents Chris Chung and Cindy Kennedy.
The biggest downside of the home is the lack of parking in a notoriously car parking-unfriendly neigbhourhood. A $200k car lift addition was proposed by the owners and submitted to the Leichhardt Council in 2009 and fully rejected in early 2010. The owners are likely further disappointed, as the revised expectations are over $600k lower than the $2.95m they spent in April 2007 for the property. OUCH!
The listing: 122 Beattie St, Balmain