hundreds of apartments to transform empty block opposite Redfern Oval

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Bridge Housing chief executive Rebecca Pinkstone said the Elizabeth Street project would be “a blueprint for how the community housing sector, working in partnership with government, institutional investors, commercial lenders and the private sector, can deliver social and affordable housing at scale”.

Newtown Greens MP Jenny Leong and housing advocacy groups, including Shelter NSW and Action for Public Housing, have been campaigning for the government to retain the Redfern block entirely for public housing.

The mostly vacant 1.1 hectare block has been the subject of multiple plans for residential development since 2013.

The mostly vacant 1.1 hectare block has been the subject of multiple plans for residential development since 2013.Credit:NSW government

Leong said: “Back in 2013, it was 100 per cent public housing on that site. This is public land, in the inner city, in the middle of a housing crisis. This should remain 100 per cent public land, and 100 per cent public housing.”

Leong said the plans for a so-called “diverse mix” of housing appeared to be “even murkier” than the combinations of housing types contained in earlier proposals.

In 2017, the state government said it would redevelop the site with a mix of private, social and affordable housing, under its policy of building private dwellings on public land to fund new or upgraded social housing.

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The following year it announced the development would instead comprise a mix of social housing and a pilot program of build-to-rent apartments to help ease a shortage of rental properties.

However, the government scrapped the plans for a build-to-rent component in 2021, arguing the City of Sydney council’s proposed changes to planning controls for the site meant fewer apartments could be built, and the project was unviable.

At the time, the Planning Department said “revising the delivery model to build-to-sell (BTS) meets the original objectives of maximising social housing on the site at no cost to government”.

Social housing includes public housing and community housing run by non-government providers.

Construction on the Elizabeth Street site is expected to begin in 2025.

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