Plans for a large scale build-to-rent project spanning a 1.1 hectare site in Redfern have been supported by the City of Sydney.
After endorsement by city councillors at Monday’s meeting, the 600-660 Elizabeth Street proposal will progress to the state’s department of planning.
A council spokesperson said the proposal to increase the building heights and floor space in the Sydney LEP for the site had been backed by the city.
The revised scheme shows the project’s heights ranging from two to 4-storeys on Elizabeth Street, 4-storeys on Phillip Street, four to 8-storeys on Walker Street and a taller building on the corner of Kettle and Walker Streets of between nine and 16-storeys.
The state's Land and Housing Corporation are behind the project, which signals Australia's first government-backed build-to-rent residential development.
LAHC lodged its proposal with council to redevelop the state-owned land in late February after the state had pegged the Redfern site as a pilot for the Communities Plus build-to-rent program in mid-2018.
“LAHC has worked closely with the City of Sydney and other stakeholders to optimise the final design of this groundbreaking built-to-rent project,” a LAHC spokesperson told The Urban Developer.
LAHC confirmed that 100 per cent of the apartments in the final design will now be part of a build-to-rent model. This means that the building’s apartments will be for rent and not for sale.
The current proposal comprises 351 dwellings, down from the initial 400-to-500 unit concept proposal.
New South Wales had previously announced that 70 per cent of the property would be build-to-rent dwellings, while the remaining would be affordable and social housing— different from build-to-rent units in that the dwellings are provided for those on low incomes.
LAHC added that the project provides an opportunity for the private sector to financially back, develop and manage the Redfern site as a rental property under a long-term lease.
The build-to-rent concept has been thrown around in recent years in Australia by developers, but often deterred due to inefficient tax structures.
City planning identified a need for an additional 14,000 affordable and social housing dwellings by 2036, with the current waitlist for social housing in New South Wales at almost 60,000 people.
Fresh from finishing up its own build-to-rent project at Sydney Olympic Park, Mirvac has plans for a 470 built-to-rent apartment project in Melbourne.
The proposed development is planned on the former Melbourne Convention Centre site, which Mirvac scooped up for $200 million in 2019.
Mirvac’s LIV Indigo project was one of the first major build-to-rent developments in Australia.
LAHC confirmed that “no appointment had yet been made” on the Redfern site, after three consortia —a John Laing-led consortium which includes Compass Housing Services; a Frasers Property, Hume Community Housing Association and Capella Capital consortium, and Lendlease Building and Evolve Housing— were shortlisted in 2019.
A tender is expected to be issued later this year.
From here, following planning’s assessment of 600-660 Elizabeth Street project, an updated scheme will be returned to the City of Sydney, with the Redfern proposal to then be placed on public exhibition.