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    Medium density development near train line a game changer for mixed-tenure infill

    VIC

    From the architect:

    Ashwood Chadstone Gateway Project (ACGP) is a major Melbourne housing and urban renewal development project designed by FMSA Architecture. Across six sites, the development provides high quality housing in the Ashwood and Chadstone area which is 15 kilometres outside of Melbourne CBD. The $140 million leveraged development delivered a mixture of affordable rental properties for singles, couples, families and older people on low to moderate incomes, as well as privately owned dwellings. In total, the development provides 210 social housing apartments and townhouses, plus a further 72 privately owned dwellings.

    The six sites which form ACGP included the cluster of neighbouring sites on Power Avenue and Elliot Street originally occupied by DHS dwellings in poor condition and the Huntington Disease Institute; and four vacant suburban lots. A key intention within the redevelopment through all phases was to maximise community housing yields throughout the six sites whilst maintaining a degree of housing diversity and relevant use in specified areas.

    The architectural response respected the existing scale and character of the surrounding neighbourhood using massing, medium rise building height and staggered step back from the street to ensure that the buildings contributed positively at a pedestrian scale. By situating the buildings closer to the train line, there was an opportunity to blur the transition from the footpath through soft landscaping creating for community interaction.

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    Across six sites, ACGP offers a mixture of affordable rental properties for singles, couples, families and older people on low to moderate incomes, as well as privately owned dwellings. Photography by Peter Clarke

    The $140 million project was leveraged with the Victorian Government and PPHA who contributed $70 million each to the development. The 72 private units were sold off the plan prior to construction with funds used by PPHA to leverage and deliver approximately 200 additional affordable housing dwellings within Metropolitan Melbourne without further Government support. The project is considered a game changer as a mixed tenure infill development that delivers triple bottom line returns on investment and breaks the cycle of reliance on Government funding for affordable housing.

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    Significant consultation with the community throughout the project ensured an urban design solution that was responsive, appropriate and community focused. Photography by Peter Clarke

    The development was a carefully considered and well-designed response, undertaken with significant public consultation; addressing issues of height, density, neighbourhood character and building scale, to create a mix of housing to ensure the project was socially sustainable and commercially viable. It successfully demonstrates how to increase density in well-serviced locations, enhance amenity, while minimising impacts on the surrounding neighbourhood.

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    Careful consideration was given to creating consistency in the architectural design, sustainable principles, building forms, dwelling sizes, unit types and street presentation. Photography by Peter Clarke 

    The Ashwood Chadstone Gateway project was a finalist in the 2014 Property Development Australia awards for Best Development, and has been presented as a case study at several conferences.

    BRIEF

    The six sites which form ACGP included the cluster of neighbouring sites on Power Avenue and Elliot Street originally occupied by DHS dwellings in poor condition and the Huntington Disease Institute; and four vacant suburban lots. A key intention within the redevelopment through all phases was to maximise community housing yields throughout the six sites whilst maintaining a degree of housing diversity and relevant use in specified areas.

    FMSA was the Lead Consultant throughout all phases of development taking responsibility for the initial yield and feasibility study, the development plan, and subsequently engaged as Principal Consultant providing architectural services for the development.

    The 2007 Feasibility Study presented redevelopment options for the six sites focusing on two procurement options, a developer driven option, and a novated option working with a housing association. With the latter procurement option adopted, the study presented the possibilities for increasing the yield on the sites from 72 dwellings to 215.

    In 2009, not for profit community housing provider Port Phillip Housing Association (PPHA) was awarded the project, working with FMSA, Urbis and a suite of consultants to further refine the urban renewal plan which was presented the Development Plan to City of Monash Council and Planning Minister. The Development Plan was prepared in accordance with the Monash Planning Scheme and subject DP overlays ensuring that the renewal project delivered an integrated mixed tenure development that enhanced the community.

    SOLUTION

    Prior to the redevelopment, the subject sites were not adding value to the local character or community. The Power Avenue Precinct was occupied by existing social housing dwellings in poor condition, and the Huntington’s Disease Association in a single storey brick veneer building. The four ‘suburban’ sites located in established residential neighbourhoods were vacant prior to redevelopment. When completed, ACGP had a positive impact on the urban fabric with improved pedestrian linkages, new green spaces, spaces for the community to gather in and a sense of scale that created a sense of transition from the commercial precinct to the established residential fabric.

    The urban design solution identified opportunities to improve connections between the residential zone and surrounding commercial zone delineated by the train line and Warragul Road. The corner treatment of the Power Avenue Precinct at Warragul Road became an important transition point creating a buffer between the zones reflected by a sweeping fa├žade to lessen the impact of traffic noise for the residents. Linkages including a bike path and improved pedestrian experience from Power Avenue across the existing train line path were fostered by creating activity on the street via resident access, the introduction of new green spaces and the pocket park.

    Key Info

    Architect: FMSA Architecture
    Project size: 9000sqm
    Completion date: 2013
    Photography: Andrew Latreille and Peter Clarke

    Professionals

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