Tag Archives: park

Contract deal a community win for marrickville library

Media Release 13 October 2015

Following a campaign stretching over many years, the Greens on Marrickville Council have welcomed the signing of a historic contract to re-develop the old Marrickville hospital site, the key final step in committing Council to build the long promised new library, park and affordable housing on the site.

Greens Councillor Max Phillips said, “We fought the last election on a platform of investing in our community. We promised to build a new library, to invest in affordable housing and in quality open space. Today we are so proud to see that vision turning into a reality.

“Marrickville Council has signed a detailed contract which ensures this project will be built in line with the concept designs picked by the community last Council term. The new library site will have a park opening onto Marrickville Rd, a library and multi-purpose community hub, and a mix of community and retail uses. I am confident it will become a thriving new heart for our community,” Clr Phillips said.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore, Co-Chair of Council’s Affordable Housing Committee, said, “This decision is a huge win for our community. We will have over $60 million of benefits delivered for the community. It is the largest single investment ever undertaken by Marrickville Council.

“The development of site will come at no cost to Council and will protect the significant heritage buildings – the Old Marrickville Hospital site and Nurses Quarters – which will be retrofitted as the new library and community hub. And importantly, those community facilities, the park and the affordable housing will stay in public ownership,” she said.

The project has a long and tumultuous history. Marrickville Council has owned the site, earmarked to build a new library, for 20 years. Council had invested more than $1 million undertaking a design competition and preparatory works for the new library and park last Council term.

However following the 2012 Local Government elections a number of different options were canvased for the site by the newly elected Council, including building residential development at the front of the site (Marrickville Rd) where the library and park was planned, and residential rather than public uses for the heritage buildings. A numbers of unsolicited bids to sell the whole site to a private developer were received, but were rejected following a community outcry.

Clr Phillips said, “This final decision, which received unanimous support from all Councillors, returns Council to the original vision for the site. This is what we have been fighting for and we have now, finally, engaged a developer to get on and build the project. It is a huge win for our local residents and the future of our community,” said Clr Phillips.

More information:   Clr Sylvie Ellsmore 0403 977 213 and Clr Max Phillips 0419 444 916

What the final decision means:

At its Council meeting on Tuesday 6th October Marrickville Council approved the terms of a contract with developer Mirvac to develop the entire site, including the public aspects and private residential and commercial development at the back of the site. The contracts were formally signed by Council and Mirvac today.

One of the concept images for the library opening up to a sunken park/ public square, corner of Livingstone Rd and Marrickville Rd, by BVN Architects, 2012

One of the concept images for the library opening up to a sunken park/ public square, corner of Livingstone Rd and Marrickville Rd, by BVN Architects, 2012

As a result of the arrangement Council will retain over $64m in value from the redevelopment of the site made up of:

  1. the construction of a new library, community hub, open space and associated car-parking opening onto Marrickville Road;
  2. the provision of 4% affordable housing (currently estimated at 9 apartments (3x1bedroom, 5×2 bedroom and 1×3 bedroom);
  3. a cash payment;
  4. land retained by Council as part of the redevelopment; and
  5. residential development at the back of the site.

The historic main hospital building and the old nurse’s quarters will be fully conserved and reused as part of the redevelopment and the old hospital lane will be retained as a central access spine through the development site. Entry and exit of vehicles is expected to be from Livingstone Road.

The developer was selected following a competitive tender process which assessed applicants against their ability to deliver key aspects of the project which included the concept for the new library selected by the community (known as the ‘BVN design’), new open space and affordable housing.

View of winning design from Lilydale Street, showing the historic Marrickville Hospital main building and Nurses Quarters, with additions. St Brigid's Church across Marrickville Rd is shown on the left.

View of winning design from Lilydale Street, showing the historic Marrickville Hospital main building and Nurses Quarters, with additions. St Brigid’s Church across Marrickville Rd is shown on the left.

Following the competitive process Council resolved to work with the most suitable applicant – Mirvac – on a non-complying tender which will see the project delivered quickly and at no cost to the community.

For details of the Greens campaign for the project see https://marrickvillegreens.wordpress.com/issue/library-and-community-hub/.

For details of the history of the project, including the stages and key milestones to get to this point, and images of the plans see the Marrickville Council website at http://www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au/en/development/major-projects/new-library-and-community-hub/

The full concept model of the project by Mirvac which indicates the scale of residential development on the back of the site and how it interacts with the community design for the library has been on public display and will be available again at the Marrickville Library later in the week.

Marrickville Councillors and staff inspect preparation works at the Old Marrickville Hospital Site, 2012

Marrickville Councillors and staff inspect preparation works at the Old Marrickville Hospital Site, 2012

Vision for new library one step closer

Marrickville Council has moved a step closer to delivering on the commitment to build a new library and community hub on the Old Marrickville Hospital vote, with a key vote at the 19 May 2015 Council meeting.

The vote means that the project will move to “Stage 2” of the Tender, where four shortlisted developers will be invited to provide detailed concept plans for the whole site. The plans must reflect the community endorsed design for the library and community hub on the site, as well as the developers’ proposals for residential and commercial development at the back of the site, which will fund the project.

The four developers’ concepts plans and models will be presented to Council and the community, with a final decision to be made by Council in November 2015, and the contracts signed. Importantly, one of the terms of the tender is that the successful developer will be required to build the new library and park before beginning on the residential (private) development. The library, park and proposed affordable housing will be publicly owned.

Over the many years that this project has been under development, the Greens have successfully campaigned for:

  • a new library and community hub built in the winning design selected by the community;
  • a new park adjoining the community hub and fronting Illawarra Rd which can also be used as a space for public events;
  • protection and appropriate adaptive re-use of the key heritage buildings on the site;
  • residential housing at the back of the site – which will fund the community investment; and
  • at least 4% of affordable housing in the new residential development, which will be targeted on supporting key, low income workers, to be owned by Council and managed by one of our local Community Housing Providers.

The decisions at the 19 May 2015 meeting move one step closer to making this vision a reality.

For more information about the project, including images of the winning design for the site, see our Library and Community Hub campaign page. See also our Affordable Housing campaign page, for more info on the work we have been doing to ensure that affordable housing is to be built as part of the project.d

Marrickville library saved from sale to property developer

17 March 2015

The Marrickville Greens have welcomed the vote by Marrickville Council tonight to reject the proposed sale of the planned Marrickville library site to a foreign property developer for $52 million dollars.

Maxma Developments Pty Ltd owned and controlled by sole shareholder and Director Xianhon Ma approached Marrickville Council to buy the site of the old Marrickville Hospital, which is currently undergoing an expression of interest process for construction of a new library, community hub and park.

The offer to buy the site was an unsolicited offer outside the current process.

In a letter to council Xianhon Ma’s lawyer Jeffrey Wong  said “Director and sole shareholder Xianhong Ma had been actively engaging in property development in Foshan, China for years”. The letter also claims that Xianhon Ma had constructed museums for movie stars Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.

“But councils own due diligence revealed that Maxma Developments Pty Ltd was incorporated on 5 May 2014 and has only $100 in paid up capital. No security for the proposed transaction was offered by this entity apart from a 10% deposit” revealed Clr Leary.

The developer’s offer shows the developer planned to construct a 4 star hotel with 110 rooms, 400 residential units, an exhibition centre and commercial premises totalling 2000 square metres.

Up until this offer was received Marrickville council was involved in an expression of interest process for the construction of a library and community hub, 1200  square metres of park and residential and commercial development on the balance of the site including a minimum of 4% affordable housing.

“Council has never considered flogging off the entire site until this developer came along and if the developers offer had been accepted it would have derailed the process for the new library” commented Greens Councillor David Leary who succesffuly moved that confidential information relating to the project be released to the public at last nights meeting.

“The Old Marrickville hospital site has always been earmarked for use by the community for construction of a new library, community hub and a park. This was why Marrickville Council bought the site from the State government. Now that this deal has been rejected Council should get on with building these important community facilities without delay” said Councillor Leary.

Contact: Cr David Leary 0409 421 323

For more background and comments from Greens candidate for Summer Hill, Clr Max Phillips, see Greens Media Release from 15 March ‘Council should reject developer’s offer and stick with building a new library and new park’

Council could triple affordable housing

A report commissioned by Marrickville Council has found that the Council could triple affordable housing on the Marrickville Hospital Site, at no cost to Council, by encouraging development by not-for-profit housing providers and using innovative models such as Community Land Trusts. The next step for the site will be an Expressions of Interest process.

The Old Marrickville Hospital Site is a Council owned property with multimillion dollar potential, which is set to be developed by the Council this term. It is the largest project ever to be developed by Council.

Marrickville Councillors and staff inspect preparation works at the Old Marrickville Hospital Site, 2012

Marrickville Councillors and staff inspect preparation works at the Old Marrickville Hospital Site, 2012

Affordable housing is a key priority for the Greens on Marrickville Council. The Greens moved to form the bi-partisan Affordable Housing Committee earlier this year, and the first priority of the committee was to commission research on the smartest and most cost effective ways to build affordable housing on the Hospital Site.

More information about the report received at the July meeting, and the latest Council decisions on the future of the Old Marrickville Hospital Site overall, is below. Also check out:

1 August 2013

Media Release: “Report finds Marrickville Council could  triple affordable housing at no extra cost”

A report commissioned by Marrickville Council has found that the Council could triple affordable housing on the Marrickville Hospital Site. The report was one of the items debated at the July 2013 Council meeting, the same meeting at which Marrickville Councillors approved the Expressions of Interest (EIO) for the site.

Greens Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore and Co-chair of Marrickville Council’s Affordable Housing Committee said, “One of the Greens first actions this Council term was to commission research about the most cost effective way Council could deliver affordable housing at the Old Marrickville Hospital Site.”

A report entitled “Affordable Housing and the Old Marrickville Hospital Site Report” by Dr Stewart Lawler and Dr Peter Phibbs was received at the July 2013 Council meeting. Drawing on evidence from other local housing projects and previous modelling commissioned by Council the report found that if Community Housing Providers were encouraged to develop part of the site this could deliver significantly more affordable housing, compared to using a private developer.

Clr Ellsmore said, “The Council has set a basic target of 4% affordable housing for the Old Marrickville Hospital Site. Given the scale of the affordable housing crisis in the inner west this is a very minimal standard.

“This latest report has confirmed that there are ways for Council to get more bang for our buck, if we’re smart about it. The report finds that by encouraging not-for-profits organisations to be involved as developers we may be able to deliver as much as three times the affordable housing, with no extra cost to Council.

Clr Ellsmore said, “By adopting the recommendations of the affordable housing report and making changes to the EOI we are encouraging a wide range of Community Housing Providers to put their hand up to be involved in the development of the Old Marrickville Hospital site.

“Council is also sending a message to the Community Housing sector that we are open to innovative projects, including home ownership models such as the Community Land Trust model, which is also discussed in the report,” she said.

Community consultation: Council voted to make affordable housing a key aspect of the consultation about the development of the Hospital Site.

Clr Ellsmore said, “The community has consistently identified affordable housing as a key priority. However affordable housing is a diverse and complex term.

“If Council is going to build housing for high needs families we also need to look at related issues such as what local services are available. I look forward to consulting with local community services and residents about these important issues.”

Next steps: The EOI for the Old Marrickville Hospital Site will now be considered by the Department of Planning, before being finalised and publicly advertised in the next 1-3 months. Council will use the EOI to test the interest of the market in developing the site, before making further decisions about what final development plans it will support, including for the proposed library and community hub.

The affordable housing recommendations were passed by the Greens and ALP Councillors, and opposed by Conservative Mayor Macri and the Liberals.

Clr Ellsmore said, “The Greens remain committed to the delivery of the community hub based on the preferred design and features identified through extensive community consultations, held in previous years, and a public park at the site, alongside residential and commercial development.

“While the Greens have concerns about overdevelopment at the Old Marrickville Hospital Site, we have also been working actively with fellow Councillors to ensure that whatever outcome it includes meaningful new affordable housing stock,” she said.

Other affordable housing projects: The Old Marrickville Hospital Site was one of several affordable housing issues debated at the July Council meeting. Also passed at the July meeting was an ALP motion for “in principle” higher densities for new developments by Community Housing Providers, subject to “acceptable planning impacts”

Clr Ellsmore said, “Current planning regulations include concessions for Community Housing Providers looking to build new community housing near public transport. The Greens support these concessions, and are concerned that proposed changes to planning laws threaten to remove them.

“The Greens do not support simplistic policies of land release or higher density development, under the guise of creating more affordable housing.

“This has been a failed strategy of both the current and past State and Federal Governments and it has done little or nothing to reduce the affordable housing crisis in Marrickville.

“However we strongly support sustainable infill development, where this properly balances the needs of current and future residents. We will continue to work with and support Community Housing Providers to build and maintain affordable housing in our local areas in a sustainable way,” Clr Ellsmore said.

A copy of the “Affordable Housing and the Old Marrickville Hospital Site: A Report to Marrickville Council – June 2013” report by Dr Lawler and Dr Phibbs can be found in the Council papers on www.marrickville.nsw.gov.au.

Also check out:

Media Contact: Councillor Sylvie Ellsmore, North Ward (Wali) 0403 977 213

Marrickville Council Meeting 16 July 2013 – Item 4 AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMMITTEE


1. receive and note the report prepared by Dr Stewart Lawler and Dr Peter Phibbs titled

Affordable Housing and the Old Marrickville Hospital Site: A Report to Marrickville Council – June 2013”;

2. note the conclusion to the above report that a greater percentage of affordable housing could be achieved on the Marrickville Hospital site, without reducing the return to Council from its sale, through use of alternative development mechanisms and arrangements that include:

  • development of one of the precincts C, D or E by a community housing provider that would fund the construction through sale of some of the units;
  • use of shared equity, co-ownership or a Community Land Trust model, that would generate income to contribute to capital and maintenance costs of the project;

3. consider increasing the minimum affordable housing on the site to 10% of total dwelling yield;

4. maximise the provision of affordable housing by Community Housing Providers on the Marrickville Hospital site through allowing submissions in relation to one of, or any combination of, precincts C, D and E;

5. consider giving concessions to Community Housing Providers where appropriate;

6. encourage Expressions of Interest from Community Housing Providers interested in a shared equity, co-ownership or a Community Land Trust Model;

7. consider including the following criteria in the EOI:

a. more weight be given to proposals that maximise affordable housing on the site without reducing the return to Council;

b. affordable Housing is defined as housing provided at a cost geared to income and the household’s ability to pay and that is available to low, very low and moderate income households;

Very low income household Less than 50% of median household income

Low income household 50 or more but less than 80%

Moderate 80 – 120%

c. units to be self-contained, flexible and diverse in size. Design to be durable and

sustainable – with low maintenance and running costs, energy efficient features and low embodied energy materials and construction;

d. a range of unit types (including 3 plus bedroom) with ground floor units for families and those that need easy access;

e. affordable Housing tenants to have connection with Marrickville – employment, familial or educational link;

f. affordable housing can be for rent or purchase through a shared equity scheme.

g. affordability to be maintained in perpetuity – either the same number of units on the site or on other land within the Marrickville LGA;

h. community Housing Providers must have a demonstrated ability to deliver and maintain affordable housing;

8. reaffirm its commitment to public consultation in relation to affordable housing on the Marrickville Hospital Site, including as part of the proposed consultation strategy which will be developed for the Site’s Redevelopment EOI; and

9. commit to ongoing engagement with the community regarding Council’s Affordable Housing Strategy. As previously recommended by the Committee this includes the immediate development of enhanced information and feedback tools through the Council’s website.