Freo's View

DEVELOPERS SIDELINED IN INNOVATIVE FREO HOUSING MODEL

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, development, local government by freoview on October 6, 2016

An innovative residential development concept by Fremantle Council for 7 Quarry Street, which will by-pass developers, will no doubt be considered another socialist, lefty brain snap by Council critics.

The City wants to sell the former youth centre and toy library site that is worth around $ 2.7 million to a co-operative of people who will reside in the building, and who will ultimately themselves decide on the design and the need for green and communal spaces, etc. This model of residential development has been successful as the so-called Baugruppen model in Germany.

The zoning would allow for approximately 20 apartments on the block that is just east of Parry Street and an easy ten-minute walk to Kings Square.

Only people who intend to live in the building can be part of the co-operative, not investors.

It is interesting to note in that context that the sale of ‘other-development’ – apartments in the Perth metro area dropped 41.9 per cent in August compared to Juli this year, which indicates an over supply of the residential unit market.

Co-operative living has been suggested for many years and was also discussed during the Freo 2020 visioning sessions, with the idea that like-minded people could use shared communal spaces. This was also considered to be a good model for aged people to help improve their social life and contact with other people, but also for artists who could have a studio space to share in the building.

Now hoping we don’t get another proposal for an ugly cheap building in inner city Freo, but finally something outstanding.

Roel Loopers

4 Responses

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  1. Lionel said, on October 7, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Property developers don’t make 20% margins. They are lucky to get over 10%. You might think it is simple to save this cost but don’t forget developers bring experience and relationships that allow them to build at a cost that a co-op may not be able to.

  2. freoishome said, on October 7, 2016 at 9:21 am

    I attended an information evening last night by a cooperative group who are involved in this. Due to the interest they are going to repeat that on 3/11/16, 6.30pm contact co-operationhousing.org.au to attend, numbers are limited.
    As a co-op, there are many things the current group driving this and subsequently the actual group themselves will need to work as a bunch of co-op volunteers. Just one of those regards the concept of affordability. Is it just about the upfront capital cost, the operational costs, retaining the concept of affordability in perpetuity, are just a sample of some aspects of that. The easiest aspect is is reducing the upfront capital cost by 15-20%, ie, the developers margin. But there are many other considerations, eg, instead of each apartment having a laundry would having a single shared laundry be desirable/acceptable, 20 laundries might amount to a 21st apartment or some addition shared space, etc.
    The land sale at market rates is a given, ie, no gifting!
    Paul

  3. Paula Amaral said, on October 6, 2016 at 9:34 am

    This is an opportunity for developing affordable housing in central Fremantle. The private sector will never provide affordable housing to anyone, and that leaves only the Housing Authority or Local Government.
    It’s about time the City put its money where its mouth is. Well done City of Fremantle!

  4. Lionel said, on October 6, 2016 at 8:09 am

    You are right in that it is a lefty brain snap.

    “Fremantle councillor Rachel Pemberton, who recently returned from a trip to Germany to study similar developments, said she thought “about 20 dwellings” would be appropriate.”

    So 20 units need to be built and land needs to be purchased for $2.7m. Even if the coop could build 20 apartments for $2.3m (they can’t), that puts each co-op investment stake at $250k. For basically the same price you can buy from a developer.

    The only way this could ever be an affordable development is if the land was gifted, and if that were the case then this would be just another great waste of ratepayer money.


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