John Brogden at a CEDA event

There’s good news for affordable accommodation in Sydney and Melbourne. In fact, it’s exciting if you consider the co-living, co-operative and shared equity housing that Landcom in Sydney has in mind, and the twin key apartments in Melbourne, thanks to a lovely collaboration.

Landcom boss John Brogden flagged the possibilities for radically different affordable housing models in a 2018 interview with The Fifth Estate. The government land developer was looking to the famed and much loved Nightingale model and to co-housing for possible solutions to the affordability crisis.

Now, at least part of that wish list looks like it could come to fruition. A 2500 square metre site in Macquarie Park in Sydney’s north for will be turned into around 100 affordable housing units for health, retail, childcare and other key workers.

Landcom has released the land as part of the Lachlan’s Line development to Community Housing Providers, which will bid for the work through a Request for Proposal process.

The state-owned land and property development organisation is developing the former industrial site into urban village development in partnership with the private sector.

And according to Mr Brogden, Landcom’s chief executive officer, his organisation is interested in exploring innovative models such as co-living, co-operative and shared equity housing.

“The release of this site for 100 per cent affordable housing, is a demonstration of Landcom’s commitment to providing affordable housing for those on low to moderate incomes, such as health, retail and childcare workers,” Mr Brogden said.

Located between North Ryde and Macquarie Park stations, the development will “demonstrates excellence in sustainability” by reducing reliance on cars for travel, which includes buildings a $40 million, 170 metre footbridge in an interesting “helix” design.

The site will also adopt sustainable stormwater management precinct–wide, retain half a hectare of bushland and rehabilitate more than 4300 square metres of previously contaminated land in Ryde’s Porters Creek catchment.

In Melbourne’s inner city suburb of Balaclava, a local car park will be turned into 46 affordable housing apartments for families, single people and people with a disability.

The development will be partially funded by the Victorian government’s $2.7 billion Building Works package through a partnership with the state government, the Port Phillip Housing Trust trustee HousingFirst and the City of Port Phillip Council.

Under the $22 million partnership, the council will provide the land under the proviso that it is developed as affordable housing.

HousingFirst will develop and manage the property, although the council will remain responsible for the basement car park and the expanded nearby Balaclava Walk.

The units will be available to a mix of eligible tenants. The project will also have several “twin key” apartments, which are two neighbouring apartments with an additional shared entrance that are designed for larger families or a second room if a tenant needs a carer.

Around $500 million of the state government’s Building Works package will flow to public and community housing, which will involve upgrading 23,000 dwellings and building 168 new homes across the state. It’s expected to create 3700 direct jobs.

“This development couldn’t have happened without the Victorian Government’s funding,” City of Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss said.

“This is a great example of what can be achieved when local government works with the state and housing associations to provide much needed housing in our backyard and we hope more partnerships will follow.”

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  1. This is a start, just a start.
    Let us see if the same strategy can be applied to regional areas, especially in WA.
    There is a big need and a shortage of available land AND the land needs to provided as a subsidy otherwise the numbers do not add up very well for continued expansion.

  2. They need to invert the ratio of affordable to market rate housing to make a real contribution to increasing the quality of life metric.

    And in order to incentivise this we need to de-commoditise housing in the first place.

    I note the background of fear by the major banks in the post job keeper future.

    Developers and Governments should take note that build to rent is the clear way forward and that housing is not just market or greenwash driven, but a real human right.

  3. It would be good if Landcom were to follow their Universal Housing Design guide for all their developments. Older people and people who have a disability today, plus those who will in the future, are in most need of affordable housing. The costings worked out to next to nothing. Compared with the cost on the community it’s a great trade-off.