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AHC Pemulwuy Project Student Housing Proposed Changes

The Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) has submitted revised plans to the Department of Planning and received the Department’s requirements for changes to the Student Housing element of the already approved Pemulwuy Project. Below is an outline by REDWatch of the AHC proposal from their submission and the Departments requirements.

You can see the outline submitted to the Department at Modification to Pemulwuy Mixed Use Development, Redfern.

Care should be taken with the visuals submitted for the new building as the department has placed some design excellence requirements on the application and the AHC will use a new architect and a design panel so the building appearance will not be as shown in this initial application.

The AHC is proposing to significantly increase the size of the student housing development alongside the railway line (to the east of Eveleigh Street) to “provide the critical mass of development required to enable the AHC to complete the entire Project, i.e. all of the development in Precincts P1, P2 and P3, without having to rely on outside funding sources”.

No changes are 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 have been developed to meet the specifications of The Pad Student Living a Brisbane based student-housing provider, who will lease and operate the site to accommodate both indigenous and non-indigenous students attending nearby tertiary educational institutions. [Pad Student living was taken over by Altira and subsequently by Scape]

The approved development next the railway line (Precinct 3) was for a 3 and 6 storey mixed-use building with a floor space ratio of 2.9:1 containing: 1,100m2 of retail/commercial space; a 475m2 gallery; and student housing accommodating a total of 154 bed spaces in 42 units and a manager’s flat.

Under the new proposal the gallery and commercial space is lost and the building becomes a dedicated student housing building ranging in height from 3 to 16 storeys, having a gross floor area of 17,080m2 and a floor space ratio of 7.16:1. While at its maximum height it would be lower than the 18 storey towers allowed just to the east of Redfern Station it would have roughly the same floor space ratio (FSR) which is 7:1 to the east of the station.

It has long been argued that in the fight over achieving Aboriginal housing on the Block between the AHC and Minister Frank Sartor, that the AHC received much lower development controls than the Minister allowed for sites to the East of the station. The new AHC application may see this finally addressed. Those that 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 in mid-year.

Currently the AHC must start work on the Pemulwuy project before the current approval expires towards the end of this year.

The details of the AHC's application for the modification can be downloaded from: SEARs Request_ Pemulwuy s75W and SSD.pdf

The link to the approved 2012 plans for the Pemulwuy Project can be found here: