From garden suburb to commercial hub: Burnley's next phase of transformation

From garden suburb to commercial hub: Burnley's next phase of transformation
Joel Robinson April 7, 2024LOCATION

Melbourne's inner-east suburb of Burnley has long been played second fiddle to its more prominent neighbours of Cremorne, Richmond and Hawthorn.

Since the 1850s, Burnley has been considered as one of Melbourne's premier garden suburbs, with over half of its 112-hectares dedicated to parks and gardens. Where adjoining suburbs have seen an influx of investment in both commercial and residential development, Burnley has flown under the radar and retained a nature-first feel.

But now the small suburb on the Yarra is set for a transformation of its own.

Some 3,600 new workers will be flooding into Burnley daily later this year when Australia Post shifts if HQ to a new $450 million purpose-built office building on Swan Street which is being developed by ASX-listed commercial property giant Charter Hall. Next door Bamfa is also readying a $350 million, Cox Architecture-designed glass office building which will trigger a further 2,500 workers daily. Both offices are located next to the Burnley Station, which sees arrivals from four of Melbourne’s busiest train lines and trams.

The two major commercial office buildings have opened the door to the possibilities of Burnley. What Burnley doesn't have going for it, in terms of those wanting to move into the suburb, is an abundance of housing. Property data analytics firm CoreLogic says there are less than 500 houses and apartments in Burnley, and only five of those have sold so far in 2024. 

Between the most recent census collections, Burnley's population has only grown from 769 people to 794, just over 20 people in five years. 

Comparatively Cremorne, which is around 40 hectares smaller than Burnley, has a population of well over 2,000. 

Contributing to it is the fact that nearly half of the whole suburb is occupied by parks, while the Burnley Golf Course, which is temporarily closed as the 18-hole course undergoes a major redesign, contributes to over 10 per cent of Burnley's entirety.

On the other side of Swan Street is the six-hectare Burnley Park, home to Burnley Oval, Burnley Park Playground, and The Burnley Circus, the largest designated event site within the City of Yarra.

There's even more greenery surrounding The University of Melbourne Burnley Campus, where it's no surprise the horticulture classes are taught. The campus is surrounded by the heritage-listed Burnley Gardens, a nine-hectare open green space that features over 1,000 different species of plants as well as some of the oldest trees in Melbourne.

Burnley Gardens is also home to several sporting fields and clubs including Richmond Junior Football Club, Richmond City Cricket Club, Collingwood City Soccer Club and FC Melbourne Srbija who play in the NPL.

Opportunities to develop both residential and commercial property in the suburb have always been few and far between. While Burnley is known for its gardens, it has a significant industrial heritage too. Many of the old industrial buildings still line the streets.

Melbourne developer Developed by Urban, who specializes in restorations of old and heritage-listed buildings, have looked to Burnley for its latest adaptive reuse project. In a joint venture with JAK Investments, Urban will be redeveloping the heritage-protected landmark Barrett & Burston Maltings, a historic malting factory that started life in the late 1800s as Terry's Burnley Brewery.

"Burnley has been on our radar for some time” explains Urban Director Bart O’Callaghan.

”It is closer to the amenities of the Yarra River, better serviced by public transport and employment opportunities and has better access to both primary and secondary schools than neighbouring suburbs of Richmond and Cremorne.

"One train stop from Burnley Station on the Glen Waverly line puts you at Heyington Station St.Kevins College and St Catherines School Toorak. Two stops on the Belgrave and Lilydale line puts you at Glenferrie Station a short walk to MLC, Xavier College and Trinity Grammar.  Richmond Primary School, Melbourne Girls College and Richmond High School are all a short walk. There is direct access to the Yarra, the Monash Freeway and Melbourne’s sporting Precinct is a walk away.  "

O’Callaghan says for years Burnley's main detraction had been the operating heritage maltings which finished operations in 2018.

"We have put a tonne of work into the heritage restoration and reimagining of the c.1885 space to now incorporate 1,000 sqm of gardens and beautifully designed new homes, perfect for Families and downsizers alike.

“So often Melbourne families living in the inner suburbs are forced further away from the CBD in pursuit of space and a larger family home close to Schools. Burnley Maltings townhomes include lock-up garages, oversized bedrooms rooftop terraces and oodles of family living space.”

The new development, Burnley Maltings, incorporates much of the industrial building into the 37 two and three-bedroom townhouses which will surround the heritage silos and over 1,000 sqm of lush, green space landscaped by the renowned Jack Merlo. All but one townhouse has a private rooftop terrace with views over the Yarra River and out to the city skyline.

The 3,568 sqm site is located toward the northwest corner of Burnley at 45 Gibdon Street, 400 metres from the golf course and next to Twickenham Crescent Reserve and Golden Square Bicentennial Park. The Yarra River Parklands-Loys Paddock and the Main Yarra Trail are just 400 metres south of Burnley Maltings.

Serotonin Café (200m), Friends of Mine (300m) and over 1,000 sqm of new hospitality offerings are soon to be opened at 480 Swan Street, only a 400 sqm walk from the project. An unlimited offering of food, hospitality and shopping options along Swan Street is only a short ride away.

Burnley Maltings is now under construction and slated for completion in late 2025.

New Townhouses for sale in Burnley Maltings

Access the latest brochure, pricing and floorplan details for Burnley Maltings.
+9
Spacious dual aspect three-bedroom, three-bathroom, two car garage townhome with home office
3 bedroom townhouses from $2,460,000
Bedrooms:
3
Study:
1
Bathrooms:
2
Carparks:
2
Total area:
246m²
Internal area:
176m²
+7
Contemporary 3 Bedroom Townhome with North and Yarra River views
3 bedroom townhouses from $2,080,000
Bedrooms:
3
Study:
1
Bathrooms:
2
Carparks:
1
Total area:
216m²
Internal area:
165m²
+11
Rare Heritage 3 Bedroom Townhome with three outdoor spaces
3 bedroom townhouses from $2,450,000
Bedrooms:
3
Study:
1
Bathrooms:
2
Carparks:
2
Total area:
249m²
Internal area:
173m²
+9
Rare Heritage 3 Bedroom Townhome with City Views
3 bedroom townhouses from $1,890,000
Bedrooms:
3
Bathrooms:
2
Carparks:
1
Total area:
186m²
Internal area:
135m²
+12
Heritage Townhome with uninterrupted city views and private lift
3 bedroom townhouses from $2,560,000
Bedrooms:
3
Study:
1
Bathrooms:
2
Carparks:
2
Total area:
247m²
Internal area:
190m²
+8
Contemporary 2 Bedroom Townhome with River views
2 bedroom townhouses from $1,640,000
Bedrooms:
2
Bathrooms:
2.5
Carparks:
1

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is the Editor in Chief at Urban.com.au, managing Urban's editorial team and creating the largest news cycle for the off the plan property market in the country. Joel has been writing about residential real estate for nearly a decade, following a degree in Business Management with a major in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University in England. He specializes in off the plan apartments, and has a particular interest in the development application process for new projects.

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