A property with “a special place in Stanwell Park’s history” is now on the market.
The site of the original ‘Stanwell House’, it contains multiple commercial premises plus a three-bedroom home over a 2025sqm footprint.
The property at 111-117 Lawrence Hargrave Drive is now open for Expressions of Interest, with the selling agent saying they had already received interest exceeding $4.3 million.
Since John and Frances Vander bought the complex in 1980, Articles Fine Art Gallery has become recognised as one of the most well-established privately owned art galleries in Australia.
Selling agent, Wendy Lepre from Belle Property Thirroul said the property welcomes flexible usage with a variety of internal configurations and vast alfresco courtyard areas.
She said it represented “a special place in Stanwell Park’s history”.
“It’s on the market for the first time in a long time,” she said. “Since they built it, the owners have put their heart and soul into this property.
“It's got a big residence, lots of storage underneath and your commercial is already there.”
Features include three tenanted shops/businesses and gas cooking facilities in the restaurant; a full-brick family home offering three living/dining areas plus study; and master quarters with walk-in robe, marble ensuite and private balcony.
Mrs Lepre said it presented the option to utilise and expand the existing set-up or develop the complex (subject to council approval).
“It’s got the opportunity to do rooftop or shop-top housing, so you could do maybe another seven units. "
The building that houses the gallery has a colourful and culturally important history of its own.
Stanwell House, a 22-room boarding house erected on the block in 1908, accommodated up to 50 visitors at a time, among them painters seeking to capture the Illawarra region.
Another interesting chapter in the building's life occurred when part of the building was destroyed by fire.
That was followed by what was arguably Australia's first motel being established on the site. But by the time the Vanders purchased the property in 1980, it was run as a supermarket, takeaway food outlet and bottle shop.
They closed the business to start their dream and Articles was born.
Sections of the old home the Vanders have rebuilt retain their original character.
Mrs Lepre said “the face of Stanwell Park is changing, and you can feel there's a buzz up there”.
“After the road closed everything died for a long time,” she said.
“I had one of the businesses when the road did close, and I know we thought when the road opened it would all come back, and it just didn’t.
“Nine businesses closed their doors... People just drove past Stanwell Park.
“But now you can feel with the walkway and pathway (the Grand Pacific Walk) they're doing, there's a buzz there again which has not been there for a long time.
“People have ‘discovered’ us and know that we’re not far from the city.”