Following the acquisition of a third site in Kensington, Melbourne by Make Ventures (MAKE), affordable housing development has received a major boost, with the planned mixed-income build to rent community by Assemble contributing to the inner city suburb’s transformation.

Build to rent developer Assemble plans to build a new community featuring over 400 affordable rental dwellings at 402 Macaulay Rd, Kensington, with the 7,415sqm former confectionary site recently acquired by its parent company, MAKE for $30 million.

Up to 20 per cent of the apartments will be dedicated to social housing, delivered in partnership with a community housing provider.

The Macaulay Rd site will add to Assemble’s growing build to rent portfolio, which targets low- to moderate-income households, and has already delivered over 650 dwellings in the Kensington area alone, collectively valued in excess of $500 million. The latest acquisition takes Assemble’s overall development pipeline past 5,000 dwellings nationally.

Ongoing developments by Assemble in the Kensington area include 393 Macaulay Rd, which is currently under construction, and 15 Thompson St, which is being demolished in preparation for construction. While both of these projects are being delivered under the developer’s innovative Assemble Futures housing model, also known as ‘rent-with-the-option-to-buy’, the latest acquisition will offer apartments that are exclusively available for rent.

MAKE will continue to privately acquire well located development properties, says managing director Kris Daff, with these sites to be made available to its institutional investment partners under its housing mandates, once those acquisitions are appropriately out of risk.

“We have been executing our strategy over the past five years of a growth-centric approach. As a result of such a large, committed pipeline of projects, we continue to attract the attention of key institutional players and construction partners that value our commitment to build to rent, particularly focused on households with essential worker incomes and below.”

Assemble’s third residential apartment development in the Kensington community will also support the local economy with some 2,200 construction jobs created across the three Kensington developments.

“This latest acquisition in Kensington meets key criteria for institutional investors with a focus on assets that offer scale and access to inner-city locations within key employment areas, heavy rail access and high-quality existing high streets,” Daff said.

Kerstin Thompson Architects and Hayball are preparing the planning application for the Macaulay Rd property. Four buildings will be constructed on the site with one of the buildings to be built with cross laminated timber (CLT), underlining Assemble’s focus on reducing embodied carbon across its projects.

Assemble has a significant $3 billion privately funded mixed-income rental housing portfolio – the largest of its kind in Australia – with its existing pipeline of over 5,000 dwellings helping inject $1 billion of construction activity into Victoria’s economy alone and creating 8,000 construction jobs.

Construction of the new Macaulay Rd project is expected to commence in 2022.

Image: Kris Daff, Managing Director, Make Ventures