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18 August 2023
In a resounding show of support, Nightingale and Fresh Hope’s groundbreaking build-to-rent project in Marrickville has been infused with a significant $1.2 million investment after the Inner West Council unanimously decided to waive the discretionary developer contribution. This bold move comes as a crucial vote of confidence for the Victorian affordable housing developer, marking a pivotal turning point in their challenging journey.
The project, situated on the site of a former church at 389 Illawarra Road, embarked on a complex path towards realisation. Clash over the historical significance of the site and a looming discretionary contribution levy of over $1 million cast shadows of uncertainty on the endeavour.
Last year, the project faced its share of hurdles as Jeremy McLeod, the former CEO of the developer, highlighted the potential financial strain. Estimated legal fees, time investments, and the looming developer levy were poised to collectively amplify the cost of each proposed build-to-rent apartment by approximately $32,000.
The partnership between Nightingale and FreshHope Housing Incorporated has been a driving force behind the development. This partnership, however, encountered initial setbacks when the council rejected the development application in 2019. Persistence paid off, as the project found success through an appeal in the NSW Land and Environment Court by the close of 2020.
For Nightingale, this project signifies a debut venture in Sydney and also serves as a testing ground for its innovative “teilhaus” design in the context of build-to-rent housing. The development encompasses a collection of 54 apartments, each thoughtfully designed to make efficient use of space and resources. In a recent LinkedIn post, the developer expressed profound gratitude towards the Inner West Council and Mayor Darcy Byrne, recognising their decision to waive the $1.2 million discretionary developer contribution fee.
The statement read, “Acknowledging that forgoing revenue isn’t an easy step for councils, we consider this decision to be a beacon of encouragement. Beyond the immediate impact on our current project, we firmly believe this will reverberate through future endeavours, inspiring a new wave of innovative housing projects.”
Nightingale envisions this Marrickville venture, which has been made possible through Inner West Council’s unwavering support, as a trailblazing example for progressive housing initiatives nationwide. In a landscape marred by housing market challenges, this project reimagines underutilised urban spaces as a means to bolster accessibility to high-quality, affordable housing.
With completion anticipated at the culmination of this year, the 54 thoughtfully designed, small-footprint apartments will soon become available for rent at rates below the market standard. The allocation will be facilitated through a balloting process later this year, heralding the realisation of a project that not only addresses housing needs but also fosters a sense of community and innovation.