Being home to the world-famous Gabba stadium, officially known as the Brisbane Cricket Ground, the suburb of Woolloongabba in Brisbane’s inner south is well known around the world.
“I can tell people in Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide we’re in Woolloongabba and they all know where it is because of the cricket ground,” says Damon Amos, owner of Detour, a restaurant located on Logan Road, one of area’s main streets.
The Gabba brings an excitement to the suburb, he adds.
“I love the energy we have in the dining room when the lights are on at the Gabba and the Brisbane Lions are flying – we can hear that. You can’t buy that kind of atmosphere.”
While the stadium has ensured Woolloongabba’s reputation as a haven for sports fans, the ever-evolving suburb has widened its appeal, drawing in those looking for a great location with plenty of amenity and character.
Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) chairman Peter Koulizos, who has identified Woolloongabba as a property hotspot, describes it as “one of those classic inner-city suburbs going through a gentrification process”, which has seen it transform from its industrial roots into a great place to live.
Its proximity to the city – just two kilometres – and old historical character buildings are the suburb’s big attractions, he says.
Residents are also drawn to Woolloongabba’s growing cafe, dining and bar scene, as well as its proximity to employment nodes, including the Princess Alexandra Hospital and the CBD.
It’s well connected, with main roads heading in virtually every direction, and to public transport, which will only improve when Brisbane’s $5.4 billion Cross River Rail comes to fruition in 2024. A new underground station at Woolloongabba will be just one stop (three minutes) from Albert Street in the CBD.
An associated station precinct plan for Woolloongabba put together by the state government will further transform the area into a vibrant mixed-use hub, linking commercial, residential and retail development to public transport and the Gabba. The stadium, which opened in 1896, is also set to undergo a multimillion-dollar upgrade.
These projects are propelling Woolloongabba, once known as One Mile Swamp due to its boggy waterholes, into a new era of regeneration.
The Melbourne-raised Amos decided to open his restaurant in Woolloongabba three years ago largely because it felt like home. Over that short time he has witnessed plenty of change in the “beautiful suburb”, but he expects a lot more to come.
“I think this is a boom area,” he says. “If you look at somewhere as close to the CBD in Sydney or Melbourne, the rent is a lot higher and it would be a more developed.”
Amos points to newly opened Logan Road bars and a new retro amusement arcade as examples of the suburb’s growing popularity.
“There is a little more excitement around here, and it’s attracting more people,” he says.
Darren Dougan, managing director of Sarazin, the developer behind Silk One – a three-tower apartment development in Woolloongabba – says the new projects are a “game-changer” for the suburb.
“The reason we targeted Woolloongabba was because it had a feel like Surry Hills in Sydney – it was grungy industrial, but with lots of potential,” he says.
“There is more change to come – it’s just starting. What will happen in the future around the train station and the Gabba’s redevelopment will be amazing.”
Silk One gives buyers in Woolloongabba the opportunity to make the most of the upgraded infrastructure, being situated adjacent to the Gabba and just 300 metres from the Cross River Rail station.
With the projects taking shape, interest in Woolloongabba is growing, adds Dougan, with Silk One having hit $35 million in sales.
Aside from location, a big selling point for the development is that it will feature Australia’s only rooftop skystand overlooking a major sports stadium. At 20 storeys high, it will provide residents with a birds-eye view of the Gabba’s marquee events – AFL games, first-class cricket and top-rating concerts.