An Adelaide City Councillor is calling for a review of council-owned land and buildings in a bid to find suitable sites for affordable housing development.

Councillor Natasha Malani is on the look-out for suitable buildings—including council-owned car parks—that could be redeveloped into affordable apartment housing that would cost prospective buyers $350,000 or less.  

“I think it is really important to know exactly what is possible with council assets like buildings and air space (the area above buildings),” she told News Corp.

“We need to be innovating and really try and think about the best ways to get more people living in the city.”

One such way would be to build new apartments on top of existing council-owned UPark buildings, an idea not without precedent.

“There has previously been some work done on (plans to build) on top of the Topham Mall UPark,” explained Malani.

“But the materials were deemed to be too heavy for the structure.

“The technology keeps evolving so quickly that those sorts of projects may now be viable.”

Melbourne’s Breathe Architecture proved the merit of repurposing disused car parks just this year when they converted a seldom-used car park in the QV1 Residential Tower in Melbourne’s CBD into eight luxury apartments.

Breathe used the existing shear walls of the seldom used car park to divide the space into eight apartments that have since been sold.

Before and After: QV Eight apartments by Breathe Architecture. Photography: Bonnie Herring and Peter Clarke

In America students at the School of Building Arts at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) recently completed an experimental encampment that explored ways to create micro-apartments that could fit into parking decks. Titled ‘SCADpad’, the project saw students design and build three modular dwellings at a cost of US$40,000-$60,000 and within the dimensions of a typical American car park.  

The exterior of SCADpad Europe. Photograph: Chia Chong

Back in Adelaide Councillor Malani says she will put the review proposal before the council next month and believes the project has the potential to lower the entry point for home buyers in the city, and have financial benefits for the Adelaide businesses.  

“Most city workers earn about $75,000 so that would make an affordable apartment $350,000 or less,” she said.

“The more people we get living in the city will increase our rate base and provide a lot of financial benefits to council and city businesses.”