Aboriginal IssuesDevelopmentHousingNews

AHC seeks student housing change to fund Pemulwuy

REDFERN: The Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) is seeking to revise its plans for student housing along the railway line, going from six to 16 storeys to pay for the Pemulwuy Project, according to its application to the Department of Planning.

Because the department has placed some design excellence requirements on the development, the AHC will use a new architect and a design panel for the final building, which will differ from that in the initial application. No change is proposed for the already approved affordable housing on The Block or for the childcare and office development where the AHC offices were located.

In its application, the AHC says:

“The underlying purpose of the modified development is to facilitate the economic use and development of the land by the AHC.

“The currently approved development was designed to make the Project economically viable and deliverable using: grants provided by the state and federal governments, including the National Rental Affordability Scheme; philanthropic grants; commercial borrowings; and the limited financial resources available to the AHC. However, insufficient funds could be made available by the various levels of government and philanthropists and the AHC will be required to fund the Project using commercial borrowings.

“To do so will require additional student housing to be established in Precinct P3. It has been determined that 522 accommodation rooms would be required to provide the critical mass of development to enable the AHC to complete the entire Project, without having to rely on funding from government or philanthropic grants.”

The AHC changes meet the requirements of The Pad Student Living, a Brisbane based student-housing provider, which will lease and operate the site to accommodate both Indigenous and non-Indigenous tertiary education students.

Under the new proposal, the gallery and commercial space in this building is lost. It becomes a dedicated student housing building ranging in height from three to 16 storeys, having a gross floor area of 17,080 square metres and a floor space ratio (FSR) of 7.16:1.

At its maximum height it would be lower than the 18-storey towers just to the east of Redfern station and would have roughly the same FSR. The AHC received more stringent development controls than those allowed to the east of the station and many believe this was because of its fight with Minister Sartor and the Redfern-Waterloo Authority. The new AHC application may see this finally addressed.

Those who have recently moved into the area around The Block are likely to be concerned about the substantial increase proposed.

The AHC will hold a pre-submission consultation in early March at the Redfern Community Centre with a formal exhibition by the department mid-year. Currently the AHC must start work on the Pemulwuy Project before their approval expires towards the end of this year.

The Redfern Community and Stakeholders are invited by the Aboriginal Housing Company to an information event on Thursday 9th March, 7.00 – 8.00 pm (doors open 6.30pm) at Redfern Community Centre, Hugo St Redfern. rsvp: hello@scottcarver.com.au

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