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Elizabeth Street Redfern “Build to Rent”

On 2 August 2018 REDWatch held a forum on the Elizabeth Street Build to Rent model. As we explained in our email update LAHC got itself a bit tangled up and organising the meeting was a bit like an episode of Utopia. In spite if this we had a useful session unpacking this model which has some major attractions as part of the Communities Plus program - mainly that it does not sell off public housing lands.

Setting up Thursday night’s REDWatch meeting on “Build to Rent” was a bit like an episode of the TV program Utopia. LAHC had confirmed it would attend and tell people about the “Build to Rent” model, but a couple of days before the meeting Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for “Build to Rent” options on Elizabeth Street went up on the NSW Tender website. LAHC then advised it was unable to talk publically about the model. With ‘Straight Talk’ due to start consultation on the Redfern site this month it also threw into question how its staff could talk to the community about the Elizabeth Street site. Thursday afternoon LAHC posted a presentation about “Build to Rent” on Elizabeth Street - Communities Plus Build-to-Rent Redfern Presentation on the Redfern Communities Plus website. The presentation has some new information but not all the information on the public record. For the REDWatch meeting we also had to use the Channel 9 report on the Redfern Build to Rent announcement to cover off the main elements. Together these allowed REDWatch rather than FACS, to present what was in the public domain about the model. Chris Martin from UNSW City Futures, who is researching the Build to Rent model, and Ned Cutcher, from Shelter, then talked about the Build to Rent model.

LAHC is planning to start Visioning for the Redfern site later in August and hopefully by then will be able to produce a comprehensive Q&A sheet which will meant that Straight Talk can have a conversation with the community within the limits of the tender. We have suggested to LAHC that the information about the model that LAHC has released to potential bidders should be released also to the community.

You should raise any questions you have with the model with the consultants who we understand will provide written responses that can also be provided to tenders. Such problems can be avoided by doing community consultation before going out formally to the market! UrbanGrowth will not be involved in the planning for Elizabeth Street. It will be handled by different consultants and different LAHC project staff to those in Waterloo. There is a lot of interest in “Build to Rent” as a possibility in Waterloo as it could deliver new social housing while retaining public land for future social housing use as the land reverts to government after 40 years.

Source: REDWatch Email Update 5 August 2018.