By ALLISON HORE
The City of Sydney has resolved to transform an unused council site in Alexandria into 21 affordable apartments, creating more inner-city housing for low-income households.
Council is currently undergoing negotiations with community housing provider Bridge Housing over the sale of an unoccupied site at 44-54 Bourke Road in Alexandria for the development of new affordable housing.
The move will help the City of Sydney’s meet the “Housing for a Diverse Population” goal which is outlined in the “Sustainable Sydney 2030” report. The council hopes to increase the number of private dwellings in the local area by about 37,000 by 2036.
Of all those inner-city dwellings, new and existing, council has laid out a target of 7.5 percent affordable rental housing and 7.5 percent social housing.
“In a housing crisis, the best and most financially responsible thing to do is build the projects that will deliver the most affordable homes first,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore explained.
“Increasing the amount of affordable rental housing available for lower income households is an urgent priority for the City. We need to act now, to support our community now and into the future.”
Following council investigation, the 803sqm property at Bourke Road in Alexandria was identified as a “surplus site” which would be suitable for redevelopment as affordable housing. The site was acquired by council during the construction of the Green Square to Ashmore connector road extending from Botany Road across O’Riordan Street to Bourke Road.
To make the project possible, council will sell the property to Bridge Housing, who currently manage 3,400 properties across Sydney, at a “significant discount.” In February, the council’s Corporate, Finance, Properties and Tenders Committee recommended the property be sold at 50 percent of the market value.
Aboriginal affordable housing
The Bourke Road project will also help the council deliver on their promise of more Aboriginal Affordable Housing.
In December last year council resolved that any affordable housing developed from city-owned land, or land acquired by affordable housing providers with in-kind support from the City of Sydney, must deliver at least 10 percent Aboriginal Affordable Housing. The City of Sydney says at least two of the 21 homes on the Bourke Road site will be earmarked for Indigenous families.
But this is just the beginning of the road for the delivery of more affordable inner-city housing. Lord Mayor Moore said the council is investigating more suitable sites.
“We will continue to investigate opportunities across the city for affordable and diverse housing for our residents,” she said.
“This proposal for Bourke Road in Alexandria is an exciting opportunity to provide affordable housing near great facilities including parks, jobs and services and transport.”
The property is a short walk from the Green Square train station as well as public amenities such as the Green Square library and the new multi-million dollar Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre.