Savvy renovators are transforming unassuming inner city warehouses into luxury homes, breathing life into Sydney’s proud heritage.
From outside, these properties look just like every other industrial warehouse, with a modest facade and plain entrance or roller door.
But hiding behind that is another world of exposed beams, open-plan layouts and high-end inclusions that make them some of the most desirable homes in Sydney.
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One of the finest in Sydney is about to hit the market is 22 Nelson St in Annandale, with its exposed brick walls, recycled timber beams and raw steel.
Owner Joe Sidoti of SQ Projects and his wife Natalie purchased the former workshop as an empty warehouse, and with help from Sam Crawford Architects converted it over a two-year period into a five-bedroom family home that has been used in TV shows and photo shoots.
“It is 100 per cent getting more popular,” Mr Sidoti said.
“We liked the whole open approach to the warehouse. You can put up as many or as few walls as you like.”
To personally undertake a full conversion, Mr Sidoti said the cost would vary greatly depending on the size, scale and condition of the building.
While the house itself is one of the most impressive in the region, Mr Sidoti said it was the surprise guests get from walking in off the street that he loved the most.
“From the outside it hasn’t changed in 100 years but it makes quite an impact when they come in and see how impressive it is.”
There are plenty up for grabs for savvy buyers right now, including 26 Mackenzie St in Leichhardt, which still has the warehouse shell with concrete floors.
There is a converted unit at 3/38 William St for sale inside the iconic Cyclops Toys complex, and another in Leichhardt at 55A Albert St for sale at $2.39 million, which barely resembles its past life as a winery and then upholstery workshop.
A former jam factory at 41 Hutchinson St in St Peters, which goes to auction Saturday with a guide of $2.1 million, now looks more like an art gallery.
Listing agent for 22 Nelson St Chris Nunn of BresicWhitney said many of the interested buyers are looking for something more than a conventional home that is “one-of-a-kind”.
“They want a more unique product that can’t be replicated, but also for other factors like the higher ceilings and bigger scale that allows for larger living areas and bedrooms,” he said.
“You often find that a warehouse buyer might be waiting for years for the perfect site to come along. Warehouses tend to hold their value better than most due to their uniqueness.”
Mr Nunn currently has three converted warehouse listings, with two more about to hit the market.
Buyers come from all around the city, especially from regions like the eastern suburbs, other parts of the inner west and Hunters Hill, according to the agent.
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“One of the allures of the warehouse is it often has an unassuming facade and behind it you walk through into this creation or wonderland that was someone’s architectural vision,” Mr Nunn added.
“People do tend to hold them for much longer than average. What we commonly hear is owners are happy for us to look but have no plans to sell.”
It is clear house hunters are willing to pay a premium though, with plenty of quality conversions selling for top dollar.
Just last year, The Block co-creator Julian Cress sold his own incredible warehouse conversion in Annandale for $4.275 million, having personally overseen the renovation with fellow The Block architect Julian Brenchley.
Another quirky conversion in Alexandria configured as one large open-plan home with a parachute hanging from the ceiling and trees throughout also sold in May last year for $2.35 million, CoreLogic records show.