04/07/2018 - 13:49

Fini adds to Freo sustainability

04/07/2018 - 13:49

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Several alternative approaches to tackling housing affordability are taking shape across Fremantle, with social enterprise Nightingale Housing one step closer to actualising its Wood Street project with its recent launch of presales.

The project on Wood Street in Fremantle is Nightingale Housing’s first project outside of Victoria. Image: EHDO Architecture

Several alternative approaches to tackling housing affordability are taking shape across Fremantle, with social enterprise Nightingale Housing one step closer to actualising its Wood Street project with its recent launch of presales.

Nightingale Fremantle, at 29 Wood Street, is the not-for-profit organisation’s first development outside of Victoria and is being driven by local design firm EHDO Architecture and property consultancy Fini Sustainability. 

The 15-apartment Fremantle project, which will include car bay electric charge points, 250 square metres of commercial space and a communal area on the roof, received planning approval earlier this year and finalised prices last month.

Nightingale was founded by a group of Melbourne-based architects in 2014 with an aim to deliver more affordable housing via the application of sustainable design principles, materials, and financial models to multi-residential developments.

Targeting the owner-occupier market, Nightingale has since completed its pilot project in Brunswick, with two more Melbourne-based apartment developments under construction and another two in the planning phase.

In Fremantle, the project will follow Nightingale’s sustainability principles, implementing passive solar design, the use of double-glazed windows, rainwater harvesting and water-wise gardens as a means to reduce running costs, with apartments expected to have an average 9.5 NatHERS (Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme) score.

Fini Sustainability partner Don Fini, the son of property developer Fini Group founder Tony Fini, said there were plans to install a 20-kilowatt (minimum) solar photovoltaic system, which could result in electricity savings of about $11,000 per year across the building, with the potential to use this to offset body corporate costs.

“People are starting to understand the benefits of having a more sustainable environment, in a holistic sense,” Mr Fini told Business News.

“It’s not just one element of sustainability, there’s financial, social and ecological sustainability. 

“And that’s the triple bottom line of housing affordability, I suppose; it goes beyond the purchasing price to ‘what’s the cost of living here going to be’?”

Under the Nightingale model, sites are sought close to public transport to minimise reliance on private cars, investor return is capped at 15 per cent per annum, and there are no sales or marketing fees, with sales made via word of mouth and community engagement through the life of the project.

Deliberative design is another key feature of the Nightingale model, with prospective purchasers given ‘real cost’ information during the design process, tailored to their needs, such as the added cost of a car bay. 

Mr Fini said conditions were put in place to underpin buyer affordability, with a covenant on resale to ensure affordability was passed on.

He said one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments were typically priced below the location’s average market value.

Mr Fini said about 250 people had already registered interest in the project, with Nightingale managing the sales process and a portion of apartments allocated to central service workers, such as nurses.

Construction is anticipated to start in the coming months.  

“Nightingale is not (here) to replace the development process that exists currently in Australia, it’s for certain people,” Mr Fini said.

“We’re not here to change the world; we’re here to change the thinking.

“There are changes afoot and we’re already starting to see it here in WA.”

Nightingale Fremantle neighbours LandCorp’s White Gum Valley Estate, which has embraced similar sustainability and co-living principles via the completion of David Barr Architect’s Gen Y Demonstration Project and Access Housing’s Sustainable Housing for Artists and Creatives.

Builtform Projects and architecture firm Spaceagency have been engaged for another site within the estate to implement the German-founded ‘Baugruppen model’ across a small apartment project, which removes developers’ profits and marketing costs and embraces sustainable design.

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