The cheapest freestanding house in Inner Sydney
Some things never change:
When Lynne Osborne bought this house it was the cheapest freestanding residence in Surry Hills. Now, 10 years later, potential buyers might earn that bragging right once more.
With a price guide of $1 million, it sits on 92sqm of land surrounded by apartments and urban laneways. It’s 200m to Prince Alfred Park and 600m to the Central Station’s Devonshire Street underpass.
The previous owners held firm through relentless waves of development until this was the last workers cottage left standing in Pembroke Street. Many heritage buildings at the time were sneaking through planning loopholes, slated for the wrecking ball. But council eventually decided this one deserves to stay.
Long-term locals might remember it for its nickname. With the veranda bars and facade painted vivid blue for many years, it was known as the ‘Bluebird Cage’.
Lynne’s plan was initially to live/work from the property, handy to the Surry Hills’ rag trade epicentre. There was a momentary fling with redevelopment ideas. Then came the decision to maintain the cottage facade and extend/develop the rear. Those additions never came to fruition.
“It’s time for me to hand it on,” she says.
It comes with unapproved concept plans with a 2-storey extension + rooftop garden at the rear. The idea is to preserve the cottage and its historical presence, while injecting the modern family edges it needs.
“The people who had this home obviously held on and didn’t sell, and here we are. Good on them,” Lynne says.
Price was a barrier of entry when buying back then. And the fact the entire street had been developed kept the bigger developers at bay. That history will now repeat itself.
“For someone with the time and resources it would be an amazing urban project and future space,” Lynne says.
“And we need people with a passion for maintaining these properties of historic interest for the next generation. Or, there will be nothing left to look back upon.”
See more: 2 Pembroke Street, Surry Hills