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The first residents of the unique Nightingale Bowden development are due to move into their affordable and sustainable homes within weeks, heralding the success of a special not-for-profit partnership between the private and public sectors.

All 36 carbon-neutral apartments on the corner of Second and Drayton streets at Bowden were offered to the market as affordable housing options to give purchasers and renters an avenue to secure a home close to the city at an achievable price. Several of the affordable apartments were promoted to purchasers via the state government’s HomeSeeker SA program.

This unique combination of sustainability and affordability was made possible through an innovative partnership between not-for-profit housing provider Housing Choices South Australia, Renewal SA, SA Housing Authority and not-for-profit, Melbourne-based innovator Nightingale Housing.

The first stage of the development – comprising 14 apartments – hit the market via ballot in March 2021 and sold out in less than 24-hours. The subsequent release of an extra four apartments sold just as quickly.

Nightingale Bowden, constructed by locally established builder Hindmarsh, is punctuated by a raft of quality amenities including shared communal facilities (rooftop recreational space with barbecue, veggie patch, garden beds and beehive), solar power, rainwater harvesting, extensive bicycle storage and proximity to shared vehicles.

Premier Peter Malinauskas said this industry-leading project was a model for the future, not only to help alleviate the state’s housing shortage but bolster its sustainability credentials. The state government backed the project by underwriting 14 of the apartments within the not-for-profit development.

“Affordable homes to rent and buy are critical levers to help relieve the pressure right across the housing market,” Premier Malinauskas said.

“We need to deliver alternative pathways to home ownership. This project allows everyday South Australians to bypass current market conditions that are making homeownership unachievable for many, and by offering below-market-rent options that don’t put them under severe economic stress.”

The one-and-two-bedroom apartments had an average sale price of $366,450 – more than 12 per cent lower than the affordable housing benchmark rate of $422,050 – and a maximum price tag of $400,000. Housing Choices South Australia will own and manage the rental portion of the development, with income-based rent capped at 75% of market rent.

Housing Choices South Australia Managing Director Michael Lennon said: “Housing is a basic need for all South Australians. But we are in critical short supply, particularly for homes for people on lower incomes.

“Affordable homes to rent and buy ensure people in need have access to housing in the right locations, and assist people to find stability, and create a foundation for a good quality of life.

Nightingale Bowden is a model for how urban housing can and should be delivered – great design, sustainability, designed to fit place, with a mix of tenures, and most importantly affordable. We wanted to demonstrate here through working together in partnership, we can deliver what people need.”

Nightingale Housing has already delivered this model with success in Melbourne and regional Victoria, with projects underway in Sydney and Perth. The Bowden development is scheduled for practical completion in September this year.

More than 500 construction jobs were supported during the development of Nightingale Bowden – with up to 125 workers on site per day – and six work placements were created for secondary school students.

Renewal SA Chief Executive Chris Menz said the partnership between government and the private and not-for-profit sectors had driven the success of the $13.2 million, six-storey project.

“When we put this opportunity out to market, Renewal SA was specifically looking for this particular type of cutting-edge development,” Mr Menz said.

“We wanted to deliver an exemplar project within Bowden, and right from the beginning there was an alignment of principles between the Bowden project as a whole and Nightingale and Housing Choices South Australia. We all shared the same vision of bringing real ingenuity to the sector.”

Nightingale Chief Executive Dan McKenna said as an advocate for projects that promote people and not profits, Nightingale Housing was thrilled to have delivered the first South Australian development of its kind with such enviable green credentials, including a 5 Star Green Star and 7.5 Nationwide House Energy (NatHERS) rating.

“Our goal has always been to prioritise people,” Mr McKenna said. “We don’t just want residents to be able to buy a home, we want them to be able to live comfortably there and that means delivering an energy-efficient design that will provide cost savings and a better quality of life, as well as connectivity to the surrounding community.

“Like Bowden’s tagline suggests, we want resident to have a ‘life more interesting’ and we hope to deliver more of these types of projects in South Australia in the years ahead.”

Bowden is ideally located just 2.5km from Adelaide’s CBD, close to the Bowden Train Station, tram line, Outer Harbor Greenway, and the Adelaide Parklands. At its heart is the thriving entertainment district of Plant 3 and Plant 4.

The green credentials and the sustainable ethos of Renewal SA’s entire Bowden precinct, combined with the meticulous masterplanning of its community has been a key catalyst for bringing the Nightingale Bowden concept to life. This includes the project’s delivery as a zero-car development, which is in line with one of Bowden’s founding principles to be a walkable community.

The state government has pledged $398 million towards the construction of 1,000 affordable homes across Adelaide and regional South Australia by June 2025 through its Affordable Housing initiative.

For more information about this project visit: nightingalehousing.org

For more information about living at Bowden visit: lifemoreinteresting.com.au

For more information about HomeSeeker SA visit: homeseeker.sa.gov.au

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