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Melbourne families embrace city living

Dentist Lina Okada and financial planner Anthony Lee moved into their Collins Street apartment four years ago. Photo: Patrick Scala Ivan Constable and his partner, Lisa Bakes, with their daughter, Hope Constable, in their CBD apartment. Photo: Luis Ascui
Nanjing Night Net

Ivan Constable and his partner, Lisa Bakes, with their daughter, Hope Constable, in their CBD apartment. Photo: Luis Ascui

Ivan Constable and his partner, Lisa Bakes, with their daughter, Hope Constable, in their CBD apartment. Photo: Luis Ascui

Ivan Constable and his partner, Lisa Bakes, with their daughter, Hope Constable, in their CBD apartment. Photo: Luis Ascui

The suburban life with big backyards and trees is not for everybody.

Ivan Constable, 52, and partner Lisa Bakes are among a growing number of families feeling the pull of the CBD.

They moved into their two-bedroom apartment in Presgrave Place 18 years ago to be closer to work, and have no plans to leave the home where they have raised their 13-year-old daughter, Hope.

“People are realising that as a family, you can grow up in the city just as well as you can in the suburbs and there’s no reason why you can’t,” said Mr Constable, who co-owns a hair salon in nearby Russell Place.

“In some ways it’s even easier.”

Families have long preferred to raise their children in the suburbs as there is a shortage of quality schools and amenities in the heart of the city. But Mr Constable believes families don’t have to look far for everything they need.

Over the years, his daughter has attended childcare centres in A’Beckett Street and East Melbourne, Carlton North Primary School and University High School.

“We can go to ACMI and the museum … it’s a regular occurrence,” he added. “We don’t have to make big trips of it.”

While proximity to work and amenities continue to be a major attraction for professional couples, empty-nesters and students living in the CBD, statistics reveal the number of families with children moving into the city is growing.

Census data shows families with children made up 21.4 per cent of households in the CBD in the 2011 compared with 17.4 per cent in the 2006.

Lina Okada and her husband, Anthony Lee, moved into their four-bedroom apartment at 192 Little Collins Street four years ago and have seen more amenities – such as supermarkets – pop up in the area.

She said she had also discovered existing ones since becoming a mother.

“I think a lot of people don’t realise there are actually a lot of facilities in the CBD,” said the 29-year-old dentist, who leaves her 14-month-old daughter in QV Children’s Centre one day a week.

Ms Okada and her family, like many living in the CBD, shopped at the Queen Victoria Market and has the Royal Botanic Gardens as their backyard.

With another baby due in March, the couple are now looking to upsize in the suburbs and pass on their home with hopes of more than $1.75 million.

Dingles Partners managing director Anton Wongtrakun said there had been a trend of families moving into the city over the past decade rather than moving out, and there had been a greater diversity of accommodation designed with families in mind.

“There have been a number of large apartments developed in the city as opposed to some of the smaller ones, and that allows for people to have a bit more space,” he said.

Yet BIS Shrapnel senior manager Angie Zigomanis said many of the new developments in the CBD continue to target investors.

“If you look at any of the high-rise towers, they’re concentrated towards one and two-bedroom homes,” he said.

“It might accommodate a young family who have a small child or a baby, but once that child starts to crawl around and eventually walk, the majority of that new product that is being offered isn’t family friendly.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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