Melbourne car parks earmarked for affordable housing

The Victoria Street, West Melbourne, car park.

The City of Melbourne is considering leasing two car parks to a community housing provider which will secure funding and deliver affordable apartment projects.

The ex-Ekmans Importers and Drapery was set for demolition before being burnt in the 1970s. Source: North Melbourne Library.

Identified are 325-331 Victoria Street, West Melbourne – formerly accommodating historic buildings occupied by Ekman & Sons Importers and Drapery Warehouse and a coffee palace – and 44-60 Curzon St, North Melbourne.

Given zonings, construction on both blocks is limited to 10.5 metres – three levels – however this could be exceeded if certain design criteria are met, for example, a public space which might be of some benefit to the wider community.

A community engagement process regarding the proposed long-term leases is underway.

Affordable housing delivers quality housing priced at a level affordable to the income of its occupants; in the Victorian planning act, these are defined as people on “very low, low and moderate income households”.

Said to enhance liveability and diversity in the community, it can also create productivity in the economy, council added.

More than 4200 unoccupied parking spaces are in the broader North Melbourne and West Melbourne area, according to the local government (story continues below).

The Curzon Street, North Melbourne, car park.

By comparison there is a shortfall of at least 6000 rental homes, set to grow to 23,000 by 2036 if no new product is built, it said.

Affordable, public, subsidised and social housing

Affordable housing differs from social housing, which includes public housing (long term rental housing owned and managed by state governments) and community housing (rental housing owned and managed by community groups).

Subsidised market housing, provided through the private market often through grants like assisted rent or ownership models, is another CoM supported housing model.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of