How Waterloo Has Changed Over The Past 20 Years

Waterloo has come a long way since its days as Sydney’s industrial heartland, and the past 20 years have been especially transformative.

We take a look at the ways in which Waterloo has changed over the past two decades.

Major redevelopment

Waterloo has undergone some serious redevelopment over the last 20 years, and it’s not over yet.

One of Australia’s largest urban renewal projects, the rejuvenation of Green Square, has had a huge impact on Waterloo since construction began in 2007. The project is expected to deliver 30,000 new homes by 2030, with many already completed. It has brought world-class community amenities to Waterloo, including the award-winning Green Square Library, the state-of-the-art Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre, a childcare facility, cultural precinct and new parkland, as well as crucial infrastructure such as roads and footpaths. Plans for a new primary school are in the works.

While Green Square has already had a significant impact, the redevelopment of Waterloo is just getting started. Work is well underway on Waterloo Station, part of the Metro, Australia’s biggest ever urban rail project. The Metro will provide a fast and reliable link between Waterloo and the CBD and North Sydney. Completion is expected in 2024.

Going hand-in-hand with the Metro station is Metro Quarter, set to deliver 700 new homes, shops, services and a public plaza in the area above the station. Next on the cards for redevelopment is the Waterloo Estate, the plans for which include 3000 new homes, a large park, a new main street, community amenities and retail and commercial spaces. Like Green Square, the Waterloo South project, as it’s known, is set to be one of the country’s biggest urban renewal projects.

Cycleway connections

One of the great things about living in Waterloo is its proximity to the city, universities, workplaces and entertainment destinations, and its growing network of cycleways is helping residents make the most of it.

The Bourke Street cycleway stretches for 3.4km from Waterloo to Woolloomooloo. It was the first large-scale cycling infrastructure project of its kind in Sydney when it was completed in 2011. The Bourke Street shared path was upgraded in 2018 to connect the Bourke Street and Bourke Road cycleways, and now forms part of a 7km north-south cycle corridor from Mascot to Woolloomooloo. As the development of Waterloo progresses, new cycleways continue to be planned and built.

Focus on food

Waterloo wasn’t always known for its dining scene, but in the last 20 years, it has cemented its reputation as a gastronomic destination.

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Art galleries began moving into old Waterloo factories and warehouses in the early 2000s, and in 2002 ‘slow food’ café and bar Danks Street Depot followed suit. Other eateries soon joined them, and the Danks Street dining precinct became the stuff of Sydney legend.

Plenty of delicious fare can still be found on Danks Street, from Middle Eastern eatery Kepos & Co to Vietnamese at Nem Kitchen. But now Waterloo has become a foodie destination in its own right, with people flocking to Crystal Street (Johnny Gios), Bourke Street (Dat Cafe) and Green Square (Social Society). Locals love Doytao Thai Restaurant which has been serving Thai for over 15 years, cafes like Baby Coffee Co. for a caffeine fix, while The Forgotten Cask atop the Cauliflower Hotel is a favourite place to kick back with a cocktail.

Growing green spaces

Before European settlement, Waterloo was a diverse wetland, with streams, swamps and low scrub. Over the course of the 19th-century industry moved in, and mills, factories and warehouses, along with terrace houses and worker’s cottages, soon built out the green spaces. Fast forward to the 21st century, and Waterloo’s parks and playgrounds are staging a comeback.

Green spaces are a defining feature of the redevelopment of Waterloo over the last two decades. The Green Square project includes no less than 40 new parks, and some of them are already being enjoyed by Waterloo locals. Waterloo Park appeals to sports lovers, with its basketball hoops and sports oval. The adjacent Fernside skate park, opened in 2006, was the first of its kind in the area. For the kids, there’s Wulaba Park’s adventure playground featuring a slide that’s almost three storeys high. Green Square’s 6,200 square metres central park, The Drying Green, is currently under construction and due for completion in 2022. Plans for the development of Waterloo South also include new parklands.

If you’re thinking about buying, selling, renting or investing in vibrant Waterloo, contact our team today.

Photo credits: Wikipedia

Article by Brendon Clark
‘The details matter - through every part of the process.’ With decades of runs on the board alongside a fresh outlook, Brendon is co-director of Clark - and one half of one of Sydney’s most dynamic and successful real estate duos. Having carved out a reputation for results in the… Read More
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