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"The MP Report", Developer launches 'rare' affordable apartments in blue-chip Sydney suburb, 27 June 2017
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With housing affordability a key focus for all levels of government and the property industry, one Sydney developer has proven that it is possible to deliver affordable rental housing within the context of a luxury development and a desirable suburb.
Hyecorp Property Group’s new boutique, luxury development, Sienna, was officially opened today in the upmarket suburb of Willoughby in Sydney’s north.
It will provide 42 affordable housing units out of the 74 units available, which equates to 57 per cent of the building.
Hyecorp Managing Director Stephen Abolakian says it was fortunate the company was able to discover and take advantage of the *State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPP) (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009. Essentially, SEPP works by giving the developer a floor space ratio bonus as an incentive for including affordable housing in the development.
“The site we purchased had an element of existing low-cost housing in the form of a retirement village with tenants,” says Mr Abolakian. “This encouraged us to consider alternate uses on the site, and especially after the experience we’d had of re-housing the tenants and seeing how limited their options were, we thought integrating affordable housing was a really worthy thing to pursue.”
“We’d really love to develop another project like Sienna in the future and would like to be at the forefront of the industry in this area and see more developers follow our lead,” he says.
Apart from well-appointed apartments, Sienna features a private garden, barbecues and a play area for residents’ use, as well as an incredible rooftop oasis featuring a pool and views back to the city.
The 42 affordable housing units at Sienna will be managed by community housing provider, Link Housing, and the organisation’s Chief Executive Andrew McAnulty says the development is a great example of what can be achieved.
“Working with Council and Hyecorp demonstrates that affordable housing can be delivered in high value areas such as Willoughby,” he says. “These are 42 great homes close to transport and amenities that are targeted at local, key workers on moderate incomes.”
Mr Abolakian says the task of offering the affordable housing component of Sienna was aided by the support of Willoughby Council.
“Council has shown great leadership by supporting a 74-unit development on a site that had planning controls designed for a significantly smaller number of units. We are thankful that council saw the value in what we were trying to provide.
“We also see the State Government is taking on the issue of housing affordability and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Affordable Housing SEPP come up for review at some point to make it a more workable tool to achieve what it’s meant to,” he says.
Hyecorp’s approach has been supported by industry bodies, including Urban Taskforce.
“Sienna is an excellent example of a developer doing the right thing socially by incorporating a mixture of market and affordable homes,” says Urban Taskforce Executive Director Chris Johnson. “I think the quality of the building is outstanding and it will be a very comfortable place for all residents to live in and sets an example of how the industry can contribute to the housing affordability issue in metropolitan Sydney,” he says.
Hyecorp has retained 16 of the affordable one-bedroom apartments and the remaining 26 have been sold off the plan for an average price of approximately $700,000. Hyecorp estimates this is probably around a 10-15 per cent discount to the full market value. All 42 affordable housing apartments will be managed through Link Housing.