The words “vibrant” and “diverse” are commonly used when describing Footscray. This western suburb is home to battlers, the Western Bulldogs, Franco Cozzo, and some of the best Vietnamese eateries in Melbourne.
Though it still hangs on to its blue-collar roots, in recent times it has welcomed a new kind of resident. The young and hip are starting to flock to Footscray as they search for a spot close to the city.
Apartment projects such as Cowper Residences are a sure sign of the suburb’s steady march to gentrification.
This development has something for everyone – apartments, two-storey loft apartments and three-storey townhouses. The entire project could have easily been apartments only, but architect Toby Lauchlan, partner at ClarkeHopkinsClarke says variety was always a priority.
“We could have built it all out as apartments, but we wanted to create a connection, a new street and a diversity of product – larger terraces over three storeys, larger apartments, larger lofts, so there’s that real mix through the site and a broader offering for the purchasers,” he says.
Communal areas include a cafe, gym, rooftop terrace and a large internal courtyard. But the location is the real drawcard, Lauchlan says.
“It’s just four kilometres to the city, but it’s also in the heart of Footscray,” he says.
Footscray train station is a 200-metre walk, while Hopkins and Barkly streets are a bit further, at 500 metres away. Walking tracks and bike paths can be found along the nearby Maribyrnong River. Related: Is Footscray the Fitzroy of the west?Related: Footscray’s new era of apartment towersRelated: A look at Melbourne’s next big suburbs
Proximity to the city was a plus for first home buyer Dominic Soh, who bought a two-bedroom apartment at Cowper Residences. Soh works in the CBD finding work placements for international students.
“What got me to go for this was that it’s really centrally located and it’s really just less than five minutes to the train station, and it’s in a nice part of Footscray,” he says.
Soh had considered buying an apartment for the past two years, but didn’t want to rush his decision. When a friend gave him the brochure for Cowper Residences, he knew it was for him.
“The developer really wanted to make this whole development something that was liveable, that’s why there are a lot of spaces for communal areas, a lot of breathing pockets, a sky deck with a shared space for barbies and tables and chairs,” he explains.
“[That’s] compared to other developments, where the developer tries to squeeze in as many apartments as possible, which is why a lot of apartments are shoeboxes.
“So it is a good value; a good balance between affordability, proximity to the city and liveable space.”