Perched on the banks of the Nepean River in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, Penrith traces its colonial history back to 1789 when Captain Watkin Tench explored the area. Penrith soon became the starting point for west bound travellers. The name Penrith was first recorded in 1818.

Charles Darwin paid a visit in 1836 and Australia’s first titled and richest resident, Sir John Jamison lived in the area and built Regentville (destroyed by fire in 1869). The cricket legend Richie Benaud was born here in 1930 and the now Penrith Panthers owe their origins to Penrith back in 1912.

Like so many other colonial towns, Penrith’s growth took off when the railway arrived 1863. Penrith grew rapidly during the 1970’s to the present day with a population near 205,000 people.

Penrith has a rich and varied history and is now the major CBD for the Hawkesbury Valley and Blue Mountains areas. The area is set for rapid growth partly thanks to the new Badgerys Creek airport, but also as a result of Sydney’s focus on the west as an area of growth and economic opportunity.

The area has a young population concentrated in the age bracket 25-34, it has a high number of singles at 40% and this benefits a highly mobile workforce.

The area’s housing stock is currently dominated by traditional detached 3-bedroom homes, with only 23% of residents living in apartments and 53% live in rental accommodation.

The combination of strong growth, a young population and rising demand for apartments is leading to some exciting developments focused around an axis running between the recently upgraded Penrith railway station, the CBD and the massively popular Penrith Panthers club facilities.

One key development that demonstrates the emerging demand and the shift to well designed, quality mixed-use projects is East Side Quarter on Retreat Drive, Penrith.

Clear evidence of the demand for new apartments was shown recently when the project launched with day long back to back sales appointments and strong buyer support.

The launch of ESQ saw buyers keen to secure mainly 2 and 3-bedroom apartments. These have been highly sought by downsizing owner occupiers and first home buyers opting for this style of larger apartments.

Until the release of ESQ older established buyers moving from traditional homes had few options in the area, these buyers are demanding in the quest for quality and amenity, which ESQ uniquely promises.

As might be expected, with such a large rental market and attracted by the strong rental yields at ESQ, investors were also active in the first release, purchasing mainly 1-bedroom apartments.

ESQ also delivers a combination of quality and driven design apartments with attractive prices. As Penrith establishes its credentials as a strong regional growth centre, prices at ESQ are competitive with 1-bedroom from $410,000, 2-bedrooms from $560,000 and 3-bedrooms from $760,000.

The demand for larger apartments at ESQ was partly demonstrated by the record price achieved, off-the-plan, for a 3-bedroom apartment at $950,000.

Central to the success of ESQ has been strong demand from the local buyers, partly driven by the projects immediate connection within the Penrith Panthers precinct, these facilities offer residents immediate access to a wide range of lifestyle options right on their door-step.

Penrith’s positive outlook is reinforced by outstanding facilities which cover well-regarded retail, medical, education, sporting and cultural. Unlike some other areas in Sydney here buyers are motivated to secure apartment underscored by the fact these services are already fully established.

While the strong growth potential of the Western Suburbs economy with the development of Badgerys Creek helps deliver a potential upside for the region, some aspects of the impact of the new airport were covered in last week’s content, the airport aims at unlocking global markets, improved liveability, boosting business activity and jobs.

This potential is further amplified by sales evidence at ESQ where more than 60% of apartments in stage 1 were sold prior to the main project launch, stage 1 will deliver 152 apartments.

The wider master plan for ESQ totals 850 apartments across 11 buildings ranging in height from 4 – 15 levels and will be spread across a very generous meticulously landscaped 6.5-hectare site.

In addition to the already popular Penrith Panthers facilities ESQ will also have 3,500sqm of mixed retail, cafes and services with lakeside frontage. Lakeside and wider regional access will be enhanced with shared pathways and cycle ways connecting to the Nepean River Walk.

ESQ will also feature rooftop lounges and pools with views to the Blue Mountains, such rooftop facilities and now highly valued by apartment buyers.

The projects feeling of open space, lakeside and river side position will be further enhanced by a family pool, BBQ areas, playgrounds and landscaped gardens.

The ESQ development is being undertaken by CABE property development group, formed in 1999 the group have completed a wide range of projects in New South Wales and Queensland. Turner are the architects for ESQ and Oculus the landscape architects.