Not-for-Profit Files Redcliffe Affordable Tower Plan

The Brisbane Housing Company has filed plans for a seven-storey affordable housing project—the first in its mega-partnership with the Queensland government.

The 82 single-bedroom apartments, part of the $35-million build in Redcliffe, are specifically targeted at over 55-year-olds.

In an application to the Moreton Bay Regional Council, Brisbane Housing pointed to its 40-year agreement with the Queensland government, saying “all apartments will be provided as long-term social and affordable rental accommodation, there is no option to purchase an apartment”.

The application, lodged late last month, seeks amendments to already approved plans for a similar building on the site on Sutton Street, which Brisbane Housing scored with the acquisition of the site.

Brisbane Housing says the original approval—also for seven storeys—sought a standard multiple dwelling development for a different market and resident mix, which was unsuitable for its tenant base.

The amendment calls for more apartments—up six to 82—but half as many bedrooms. The potential resident population drops from to 164 persons, mostly because the new development will only provide single-bedroom dwellings.  Fifty-nine of the apartments will qualify as social housing, with 23 affordable housing units.

The building will be made up of three wings, allowing for internal separation, visual connectivity between floors and the community courtyard. There will also be multiple common recreation areas including a rooftop terrace, garden, workshop and community room.

At seven-storeys and about 21m high, the new proposal is the same as that previously approved.

Redcliffe Affordable Tower Project
▲ The development is one of two initial projects announced by the Queensland government as part the Housing Investment Fund.

Brisbane housing’s chief executive Rebecca Oelkers said its research showed older people, particularly older women, often rented out of necessity rather than by choice.

“Insecure private tenancies and an over-inflated rental market are leaving this group of older Australians very vulnerable and at an increased risk of homelessness,” Oelkers said.

Brisbane Housing has told the council it will consider a regional headquarters in proposed office space on the ground floor of the site, about 30km north of Brisbane.

In any case, Moreton Bay Council is likely to look favourably upon the application.   

In July, mayor Peter Flannery announced community housing providers who built social and affordable housing in the region would not pay development fees or charges.

“Specifically, we will waive application and infrastructure fees, as well as waive fees for council infrastructure charges for infill development that capitalises on existing infrastructure proximate to employment catchments,” Flannery said.

He said he would write to providers outlining the incentives on available in Moreton Bay and offering to help cut through red tape.

“We all know Australia is facing a housing affordability crisis and Moreton Bay is not immune.”

The Sutton Street development is one of two initial projects announced in June by the Queensland government as part the Housing Investment Fund—a partnership between Brisbane Housing and the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) which plans to deliver 1200 new social and affordable homes.

The application comes as the Australian Retirement Trust, one of the country’s biggest superannuation funds, announced it would also partner with QIC to finance social and affordable housing in Queensland.

The trust said it intended to invest up to $150 million for a subordinated debt tranche, with QIC as investment manager.

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