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Few opportunities remain in Australia's largest city to create a new town centre, surrounded by stunning parklands, while connected by an onsite train station, from scratch. But this is what Frasers Property Australia is doing at Edmondson Park.Located 40 kilometres south-west of Sydney’s CBD, Edmondson Park is set amongst 150 hectares of regional parklands and is an area rich in history.
Formerly home to the Ingleburn Army Camp Site, the first purpose-built camp used to train Australian infantry for combat in World War II; today Edmondson Park has its own train station and will soon be home to a brand new town centre.
The new Edmondson Square community, to be known as Ed.Square, is set to be a game-changer for south-western Sydney.
Frasers Property has brought together three world-class architectural practices in master planning, retail and residential design to collaborate on the new 24-hectare community.
Nigel Edgar is general manager – residential NSW, Frasers Property, the developer behind Ed.Square. He says the site is designed to be a connected urban village of streets and laneways in a leafy neighbourhood that comes with an inner-city edge.
“Our vision for Ed.Square is to bring city amenity and innovation to South Western Sydney. To create a connected, engaged and entirely walkable community,” he says.
In addition to a choice of housing styles, Ed.Square will have a fresh food market place, a cinema complex, restaurants and cafes, parks and shops and a vibrant Town Centre. It will also have a community centre and health care facilities. Edgar says connectivity is key, with future residents being within walking distance of all amenities.
“The residential options include 893 terraces and townhomes and 920 apartments,” he says. “We expect our first residents to be able to move in by the second half of 2019.”
One of the key features of Ed.Square is its landscape character. David Tickle, principal with HASSELL, the architects responsible for Ed.Square’s masterplan and landscape design, says there are large areas of bushland surrounding the site to the east and the west.
“This is something that we have built into the master plan – that is, how people can get easy access to those bushland areas,” he says. “We’ve also planned to bring that landscape character right into the heart of the new community.”
This is achieved, he says, through the creation of an internal connectivity system that links streets, laneways and the pedestrian sections that run through the town centre with parks and green spaces.
“While it is important to link people to the train station and the transport interchange it is also important to link them to the bushland,” Tickle says.
Edgar agrees the landscape aligns with the character of the community. “We’ve designed the streets and roads to create strong green linear connections with various established trees,” he says.
“What we are very keen to make sure is that when our first residents move into their new homes, there are areas to exercise, places to sit and play, and to design these areas so they are all highly walkable.”
While having its own train station, which offers easy access to Sydney’s CBD, Liverpool, Parramatta and beyond, is a key benefit, the defining characteristic of Ed.Square is its walkability. Tickle says being a pedestrian friendly community means people can wander around and get to know their neighbours.
“There are spaces within Ed.Square for day and night use and also for the weekend so it gets round-the-clock use,” he says. “It won’t be a dormitory suburb where people basically come to sleep before getting up to catch the train into the city every day. There is the potential for people to be living, working and spending the entire day and whole weekend in Ed.Square.”
Edgar says Frasers Property is known for building connected communities. “Our aim is to connect people and enhance the way they live,” he says. “We think about how people get together and communicate,” he says.
The value of “community” is something Edgar says drives all Frasers Property designs. “Community is what excites people,” he says. “When you think about other Sydney suburbs such as Surry Hills, Balmain, Paddington or Crows Nest, what you see are communities that are highly connected and very urban, similar to what we have delivered at Central Park and that is our vision for Ed.Square.”