Young professionals, families and downsizers are finding Coburg offers more space and better value, with a multitude of choices for eating out, exercise and entertainment. And, just like Brunswick East, the Merri Creek trail is on the doorstep.
Best known for its drive-in cinema, and the development of the monumental bluestone Pentridge Prison, the suburb is building a new buzz. Where once residents travelled next door to Brunswick to hang out in hipster cafes and trail around funky stores, Coburg is now coming into its own.
There are brews and tunes at the Post Office Hotel, burgers at the Woodlands Hotel and a United Nations of eateries along Sydney and Bell Streets. Traditional stores now rub shoulders with on-trend cafes, and every Saturday locals gather at Coburg Farmers’ Market.
Freelance theatre director Prue Clark moved to Coburg from Brunswick in search of a larger garden and now lives in a Californian bungalow with fruit trees and a veggie patch.
She visited the Coburg Farmer’s Market after moving in and loved it so much she volunteered. Clark now manages the weekly event held at Coburg Primary School.
“It’s the place where locals meet their neighbours; there’s a real sense of community,” she says.
Clark says Coburg is where Brunswick people come to start a family: “people who were in Brunswick five years ago are now pushing prams in Coburg.”
She also appreciates the rising quality and quantity of local cafes, with newcomer cafe cum indoor plant nursery Selvatica one of her favourites.
Coburg local Katherine moved to the suburb 10 years ago after studying at the University of Melbourne and living in Parkville, Brunswick and North Carlton.
“Coburg was more affordable but still within the same area with great proximity to the city,” she says. “We can walk everywhere; we have a great quality of life and love the community feeling here. There are a lot of young families with preschool children.”
Katherine and her partner take their two young children to swimming lessons at the local pool and are also regulars at the Farmer’s Market, Joe’s Market on Merri Creek, Wild Timor Coffee and Zaatar bakery.
“There’s definitely been some gentrification, but I still get cooking tips from the nonnas when I’m out shopping,” she says.
Andrew Leoncelli, managing director of residential projects at CBRE, says the demand for high quality, architect-designed residences in Coburg has been growing since he worked on the Pentridge development 10 years ago.
Leoncelli is currently marketing the Coburg Collective, a high-quality offering of 156 apartments and 10 townhouses, with the Sydney Road tram passing the front door.
The project will include a landscaped pedestrian laneway connecting Cash Street to Sydney Road, as well as a pocket park, communal courtyard and garden, rooftop cinema, pool, spa, gym, sauna, library, lounge, bar, wine cellar and concierge. The addition of retail and dining options on street level means residents won’t have to go far for their morning coffee or grocery shop.
Leoncelli says locals are falling in love with the Coburg Collective as it is located 6.5 kilometres from the city and close to two train stations and primary schools. He’s convinced it’s the best project Coburg has seen yet.
It not only offers sophisticated architecture, city views and high quality finishes, he says, but there Is also a strong sense of community in its shared amenities, which locals really value.
“There’s huge amenity without much cost, and a wide range of residences from efficient one-bedroom plans for first-home buyers to expansive four-bedroom homes with spectacular city views and terraces.
“When you offer quality in this area it sells very quickly.”