Community housing developer Unison has been rewarded for its Napier Street Footscray social housing project, winning two Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Awards.

Receiving the Affordable Development Award and the overall Judges’ Award Metropolitan Melbourne, the developer set about creating a thriving community centred around long-term affordable housing for low income and disadvantaged Victorians.

In 2018, Unison set about transforming a former block of 17 small units into 54 brand new self-contained studio and 1-bedroom apartments that are spread across six levels. Opened in 2020 weeks ahead of schedule, the complex offers safe, modern and long-term accommodation to those who need it most in Melbourne’s west. 

Unison CEO James King says the company is proud to be rewarded for its efforts in creating a high-quality, affordable multi-residential precinct.

“As a leading developer of social housing in Victoria, we are committed to building and managing housing that is well designed, affordable, accessible and secure,” he says. 

“It is a great honour to see our hard work and high standard of property development recognised in the industry with these Awards.”

“Residents' well-being and quality of life is always top of mind when designing a project like this. Together with our builders and design team we’ve created a place where people can feel safe, welcome and proud to live in.” 

A spokesperson for the UDIA awards says Unison’s design approach is what ultimately won the company the accolades.

"While the judges were deeply impressed by the manner in which Unison operate; providing services to people without other options, and not cherry-picking residents; it was the quality of what was produced and the efficiency of the project that made it stand above most other developments."

"Unison Housing were able to finish the project on an extremely tight budget and ahead of schedule. They have achieved a well-designed and attractive development with a focus on residents’ wellbeing and quality of life."

Built by Manresa Construction and funded in partnership with the Victoria Property Fund, the new development incorporated biophilic design elements with great natural light and airflow, a friendly large communal area and outdoor garden, high-standard energy efficiency, accessible facilities, and enhanced safety measures. 

The aim of the sustainable design features is to reduce the overall environmental impact, whilst also accommodation quality and reducing the resident’s utility costs. 

As part of Unison’s approach to tenancy management, the building is also home to a Place Management Office, which enables our team to provide timely and personalised support to assist people with their tenancies and connect them with their community, local services, and social and economic opportunities. 

Armindo De Olizeara, a tenant of the building, says he is stoked with his new residence.

"I feel like I’m in a five-star hotel. I’ve got lots of space. I’m very happy where I am."

To find out more about the Napier Street development or other Unison developments, head to