11 Dec 23

Key worker housing part of new Crows Nest project designed by Woods Bagot

Hume Place features key worker housing, open space and apartments above Sydney Metro Crows Nest Station.

Affordable and key worker housing is integral to Hume Place, a new mixed-use precinct designed by Woods Bagot on Sydney’s lower north shore.

It’s the latest of three projects by the architecture studio above the Crows Nest Sydney Metro Station, which Woods Bagot has also designed and is scheduled to complete in 2024.

Hume Place is being developed by Third.i and Pheonix Property Investors. The concept design features a main building with more than 300 apartments plus a separate tower with 100 affordable homes for frontline workers from nearby Royal North Shore Hospital at St Leonards.

Principal Jason Fraser says the Woods Bagot concept designs for Hume Place also include retail, co-working, wellness facilities, and public spaces.

He says each of the Woods Bagot projects at Crows Nest (there’s also another apartment development plus a boutique commercial tower) will be unique but share core company design principles such as sustainability.

“Each of them tends to have unique attributes. For instance, with the affordable housing building one of the key aims is to create an environment conducive to frontline workers and shift workers who work around the clock,” says Fraser.

“As an example, the building has operable screens across the facade that enable people to close it down and create an environment in which they can sleep during the day.

“Natural ventilation is important and we’re also promoting accessibility to health, fitness and wellness facilities because we know those jobs can often be stressful.”

Third.i is gifting the affordable housing component to Evolve Housing, one of Australia’s largest Community Housing Providers, as an incentive for the NSW Government to accept their amendment to the concept State Significant Development, which restructures the Floor Space Ratio to permit residential, creating a mixed-use precinct.

Florian Caillon, head of acquisitions at Third.i, says the impact of COVID-19 on work habits means the original 40,000 square metre commercial development is no longer the best and highest use for the site.

“The reality is, post-COVID world, commercial office is not what it used to be. Quite frankly, delivering a mixed-use precinct will be a far better outcome for the community,” Caillon says.

“I still think there’s an opportunity in the market for commercial office, but it’s not to the scale of 40,000 square metres.

“Delivering a mixture of residential, commercial, retail and affordable housing will allow far better activation of the site and deliver more uses for larger groups to benefit from.”

Affordable and key worker housing is desperately needed to ensure frontline health workers can live near their workplace.

“There’s a housing crisis turning into a health crisis as a result of health workers no longer being able to afford to live in central Sydney,” says Caillon.

Woods Bagot’s overstation designs at Crows Nest encompass three sites: A, B and C.

Hume Place occupies Site A, where planning and approval is expected to take at least 12 months.

It’s next to Site C, on which construction of the boutique commercial tower, designed by Woods Bagot for Sydney Metro, is well advanced.   

On Site B, Woods Bagot is designing a 17-level apartment building for Third.i and Pheonix Property Investors, final plans for which will be lodged with the NSW Government within the next two months.

Woods Bagot has also designed the Waterloo Integrated Station Development in Sydney’s inner-south for a joint-venture between Mirvac and John Holland Group.

Over station and near station development is a big thing for the NSW Government, which is establishing priority development zones near new Metro Stations as part of a strategy to increase residential density and boost housing supply.

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Martin Kelly
Content and Communications Leader (Australia & New Zealand)

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