Brookvale - What the future holds

 

Source: Robbie Patterson, Manly Daily

An aerial view of Brookvale. Picture: Supplied.

An aerial view of Brookvale. Picture: Supplied.

Masterplan for Brookvale to bring ‘grungy hipster’ vibe to former working class suburb

SIX-STOREY unit blocks would be built at Brookvale in a bid to revitalise the town centre around the incoming B-Line bus stop.

A draft masterplan for the area — set to go before Northern Beaches Council on Tuesday — would allow up to 700 units in shop-top developments along Pittwater Rd.

The 8ha town centre bordered by Dale St, Old Pittwater Rd, Pittwater Rd and Cross St will double in height to 21m. It would be tapered down to 15m, or four storeys on its outskirts.

An artists impression of the Brookvale Structure plan.

Council chief executive Mark Ferguson said the incoming transport corridor and the need for affordable accommodation — of which there would be 10 per cent — justified a height increase.

To the east of the town centre, the council hoped to ease restrictions on venues such as microbreweries and bars to allow a “grungy” eat street to emerge in a bid to attract young professionals, said Mr Ferguson.

The area could become another night-time entertainment alternative for people young or old.

“If you are a young person, this is an alternative that is a little bit bespoke to them, as opposed to going to one of the more quieter places, whether it be Mona Vale, Dee Why or Freshwater,” he said.

Mr Ferguson said a boost in affordable housing should provide opportunities for younger workers.

Northern Beaches Council candidate Michael Regan. Picture: Adam Ward

“Projected employment growth will be in the retail and wholesale sectors, and health care, social assistance, education and training,” he said. “Manufac­turing-related employment is expected to drop off.

“Having said that, it still makes a significant contribution to the economy on the northern beaches and we have got to make sure those lanes are protected.”

Wakehurst state Liberal MP Brad Hazzard said the plan was a good start.

“I think Brookvale is an Aladdin’s cave when it comes to potential,” he said.

“It is smack on a public transport route. It’s got lots more job potential and very substantial residential opportunities.

“If anything, I think it is erring on the side of caution, rather than reaching out for what could be achieved there.”

Wakehurst MP Brad Hazzard says more development could be put in Brookvale.

Former Warringah mayor Michael Regan said the town centre should be expanded and book-ended by the Lottoland stadium.

“I am surprised it does not include Brookvale Oval (Lottoland) and the leagues club,” Mr Regan said.

“To not include possible options around Brookvale Oval seems like a missed opportunity.”

He also argued that the amount of affordable housing needed to be increased to retain workers.

Mr Ferguson said without better transport, upgrades were confined.

“With respect to the Brookvale Oval, this wasn’t included for specific changes, as there is remaining ongoing negotiations between council and the State Government, and we didn’t want to limit or pre-empt the future options there,” he said.

“We focused around the area near the B-Line bus stop and the leagues club — it is outside that zone of influence.”

Daly Cherry-Evans of the Sea Eagles attempts a conversion kick at Lottoland. Picture: Paul Miller.

SPECIAL FEATURE: WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS:

A hipster’s paradise to rival the likes of Zetland or Alexandria is coming to a northern beaches suburb near you.

A new plan would gradually bolster the blossoming eat-street culture in Brookvale, making sure there is smashed avocado for all and a quinoa salad on every corner.

A masterplan for the area would attempt to create a vibrant cafe, bar and restaurant culture surrounding Pittwater Rd while maintaining the industrial vibe and employment opportunities synonymous with Brookvale.

A map of the Brookvale masterplan.

A much-needed facelift would be delivered to the historically blue collar area, creating a bustling night-time economy of small bars and microbreweries to complement a town centre doubling in height.

Between Pittwater and Harbord roads, just east of the proposed town centre — set to accommodate up to 700 units above commercial and office space — Northern Beaches Council plans to rezone, allowing for trendy cafes, bars and breweries.

Real estate agent Mark Novak said the plan was “fundamentally moving towards what the area needs”.

“We have found a really big shift with technology and with transport and with companies like eBay,” the Novak Properties principal said. He said it would speed up an already occurring shift in Brookvale to a more white-collar business model as industrial businesses went to western Sydney.

Mark Novak says more young professionals will come to Brookvale.

Novak said office and IT workers were likely to become even more frequent under the council’s plan.

“There is that necessity for nicer things. When I look at this sort of plan it is supporting those sorts of white collar workers, giving them what they want,” he said.

“They aren’t turning up in their utes any more, they’re turning up in their Audi or Lexus and they want nice things — that’s exactly what happened to Alexandria.

“During the day they’re doing their nine to five job but they want to train, they want to eat out. Twenty years ago the guys that worked in a factory at Brookvale came on a bus with a boxed lunch.”

Administrator of the Northern Beaches Council Dick Persson and chief executive officer Mark Ferguson. Picture: Adam Yip.

Council chief executive officer Mark Ferguson said the aim was to leverage off the area’s progression into a fashionable suburb.

“It is transforming. It is becoming that hipster-ish, cottage-type industry area and I think we will provide opportunity for that to continue by actually putting more people in the area to provide that night-time economy,” he said.

Planned changes would make it easier for bars and breweries to obtain licences to serve food.

“Those food and drink premises will allow existing microbreweries that are in that industrial area to have food offerings associated with their beer tasting.

“It is just creating opportunities for those businesses to leverage off what they are doing now and to flourish in that space.”

The area could also become another night-time alternative for people seeking entertainment, whether it be young or old.

A map of the Brookvale structure plan.

“If you are a young person, this is an alternative that is a little bit bespoke to them as opposed to going to one of the more quieter places, whether it be Mona Vale, Dee Why or Freshwater,” Mr Ferguson said.

Parks and open space would be meshed in with industrial. And affordable housing for key workers are also part of the plan.

Of the 700-odd units expected to be added to the new 8ha town centre at least 10 per cent would have to be affordable rental housing. The move is a bid to help Brookvale keep its identity as the peninsula’s business hub and remain somewhat grounded in its industrial roots.

“This is a plan designed to increase employment potential in the area and retain jobs, but we also want to retain the fabric of what Brookvale is,” Mr Ferguson said.

“It is transforming but at the moment it is also a key place to go and get materials for your home.

“It is a major hardware supplier, a major retailer of services, anything from getting your car fixed to spray painted.

Former Pittwater councillor Alex McTaggart expressed concerns about the height increase.

“Most of the manufacturing and that type of activity is undertaken in the Brookvale area, so it is a key employment area for us.”

The council intends to do that by zoning height increases in the town centre to ensure commercial and industrial areas are on the first floor and offices on the second floor of any new complexes.

“The land value (for commercial) isn’t as much as the residential value so if you open it up to residential that would just come in and wipe out all of the manufacturing and you would lose it forever,” Mr Ferguson said.

“We want to make sure that is protected because if you lose those manufacturing jobs and smash repairers, and you ding your car, you have to go to God knows where to get it fixed.”

He said it was about ensuring there was “no net loss of employment floor space”.

“(We are) dangling a bit of a carrot to the landowners and developers to say, ‘well, look, your money is mainly in residential and we realise that, but if you’re getting that benefit then you have got to help the wider community out by providing employment opportunities’.”

The council had planned to open up west of the proposed town centre to office space to create even more jobs in the area.

Manly state Liberal MP James Griffin. Picture: Troy Snook

Brookvale is the peninsula’s largest employment hub, with 14,000 jobs and just 2000 residents.

And Mr Ferguson said he expected more people to gain employment as part of the 20-year plan. It is anticipated that the changes would create 1700 jobs and increase the population of Brookvale by 1200.

Former Pittwater councillor and Northern Beaches Council independent candidate Alex McTaggart expressed concerns about the building heights and lack of infrastructure around Brookvale.

But Manly state Liberal MP James Griffin said the report “strikes an appropriate balance between residential and employment growth”.

“It is an exciting vision for the area,” he said


 

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