Student housing developer Wee Hur’s $64 million construction project in the inner Sydney suburb of Redfern has received fast-track approval under the state’s planning system acceleration program.
The approval will see the construction of an 18-storey mixed-use student accommodation development, at 13-23 Gibbons Street comprising 488 student accommodation rooms and ground-level retail.
The Redfern development is one of the 11 projects in the sixth tranche of “shovel ready projects” green-lit by the New South Wales government under the fast-track program.
Singapore’s Wee Hur paid $52 million for the Gibbons Street address in 2018, and has further plans for Redfern-based projects.
In June, Wee Hur purchased an amalgamated 1,287sq m site at 90 to 102 Regent Street for $46 million, also with plans to develop a student accommodation tower.
The recently-approved Gibbons street tower, designed by Allen Jack and Cottier Architects, will cater to the University of Sydney.
“We welcome with open arms any increase of affordable student accommodation within the Redfern area,” University of Sydney vice-chancellor and principal Dr Michael Spence said.
“To help relieve pressure for our students and make it easier to find beds they can afford that are close to our Camperdown campus.”
Related: Redfern Build-to-Rent Ramps Up
International education was worth $37 billion to Australia’s economy last year, but continued border closures have put pressure on the sector.
Tuesday’s federal budget injected $1 billion into research as the university sector struggles to recover from economic losses due to the pandemic.
Planning minister Spaces Rob Stokes said the tower would create 240 construction jobs and housing for both domestic and international students.
“Now is the time to support construction jobs so that new accommodation will be online when students return as our borders reopen.
“The building will include Aboriginal artwork, creative open public spaces, and it’s a just a short hop to Redfern station and many public transport options.”
Redfern, the land of the Gadigal people, is the heart of where the Aboriginal civil rights movement began, including the 1938 Day of Mourning, the 1965 Freedom Ride, and the ongoing struggle for land rights.
Locally, community groups are calling for more social and affordable housing for Aboriginal people.
The Redfern Waterloo Alliance of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations this month launched a campaign advocating for 10 per cent of homes in new government developments to be affordable housing in a bid to see more homes for Indigenous Australians in the inner-city area.
Also located on Gibbons Street, community housing provider SGCH is working on a flagship 160-apartment development in partnership with the City of Sydney.
SGCH purchased the 11 Gibbons Street site, which was previously a council depot, from the City for $15.2 million in 2019.