21 October 2009

New Northbridge developments to boost rental accommodation supply

  • New Northbridge

EPRA has approved two New Northbridge developments which would significantly improve the chronic shortage of long-term rental accommodation in the area.

The developments are at the former Auto Masters site on the corner of William and Newcastle Streets and 137 Newcastle Street and would add 115 rental apartments to the area for a minimum of ten years.

EPRA CEO Tony Morgan said the land had been sold to private developers in 2008 as part of EPRA’s housing affordability and diversity program.

“There is a lack of rental accommodation in the inner city which prevents people who can’t afford to purchase a property from living in the area,” Mr Morgan said.

“EPRA wants to make sure people on low to moderate incomes can access housing that is close to public transport, services, recreation and employment.

“Northbridge has always been home to people from a range of backgrounds and this is something we want to continue. Access to affordable housing would ensure the social and economic diversity of New Northbridge and help create a vibrant community that people want to be part of.

“New Northbridge has enjoyed record growth in recent years and it is important there are affordable accommodation options so Western Australians from all walks of life can live in the area.

“These two developments are an excellent example of how the State Government and private sector can work together to improve housing affordability.”

The 115 properties would be rented privately by the developer and give students and key inner city workers the opportunity to live in close access to colleges and workplaces where they may not otherwise be able to afford to purchase a home.

The approved developments are:

Lots 551-561 Newcastle Street (former Auto Masters site)

  • 4-6 storey development
  • 119 dwellings including 82  one and two bedroom long-term rental apartments and 37 apartments to be sold
  • Retail and office development
  • Adaption of 5 heritage buildings

Lot 450 (No 137) Newcastle Street

  • 4 storey development
  • 33 long-term rental dwellings including one, two and three bedroom apartments
  • Office and retail development

The developments are expected to be completed by 2011.

EPRA’s housing affordability and diversity program aims to create 10 to 15 per cent affordable housing in all new developments through a range of affordable housing products in partnership with private developers, not-for-profit organisations and other government agencies.  It comprises social housing, affordable housing and market housing, which includes long-term rental accommodation.

Under the long-term rental program the developer cannot sell the apartments individually and must be held by the developer for a minimum 10 years as rental accommodation. The accommodation must be rented under a residential lease for six months or longer and can not be used for short stay tourist accommodation.

EPRA’s New Northbridge project has been changing the face of Northbridge since it started redeveloping the 27hecatre area in 2000.

EPRA has spent almost $60million on new streetscapes, public open space, public art and upgrading roads and parks in New Northbridge.  Across the project, this is expected to attract private development of approximately $300million, resulting in 460 new residences for 1,250 people and 70,000sqm of new retail and commercial space for 3,500 workers.