22 March 2024

Canberra developer plans 250-unit project on Bunnings site in Ulladulla

| Ian Bushnell
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Ulladulla Precinct proposal

An artist’s impression of the Ulladulla development, which will include dedicated rental housing for essential workers. Image: Cox Architecture.

A Canberra developer has lodged plans for a 250-unit mixed-use project in Ulladulla pitched at boosting much-needed housing on that section of the South Coast.

The Fleming Group, known for a range of developments in the national capital, has partnered with Olivander Capital to propose an innovative development on the current Bunnings site at 131 St Vincents Street, which Bunnings will soon vacate to move to new premises nearby.

The mixed residential and commercial development comprises four buildings ranging from three to nine storeys (15 to 30 metres) high that would deliver 250 one-, two- and three-bedroom residential apartments, commercial floor space of 5750 square metres and a 120-place childcare centre.

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The concept master plan includes a significant number of affordable units and an allocation for key worker housing, designed around central green spaces with an activated ground floor. This will provide opportunities for hospitality and wellness amenity, as well as a 120-place early childhood centre to cater to the needs of local families.

About 60 apartments in a five-storey building would be dedicated to rental accommodation for essential workers such as nurses and emergency services staff, and affordable housing.

It would be taken on by a housing provider.

The other three buildings would be nine, eight and three storeys respectively. The first two would be residential with ground floor commercial spaces; the third, a solely commercial building facing St Vincents Street to house the childcare centre.

But first the 10,676 sqm site will require changes to the Shoalhaven Local Environment Plan including a rezoning of the site from E4 General Industrial to MU1 Mixed Use and an increase in maximum building height from 11 metres to 30 metres.

The Canberra/Ulladulla (Fleming Group) and Mollymook (Olivander Capital) families spearheading the project have deep roots in the community and say the aim is to address the housing crisis and the chronic worker shortage in the Milton-Ulladulla region.

Ulladulla Precinct proposal

Another street view of the Ulladulla Precinct proposal: more housing choice for the young and downsizers.

Alexandra Arnold from The Fleming Group said the success of tourism had had a perverse impact on the very people who worked in the industry.

“We understand the vibrant tourism industry in our region, but we also recognise the impact this has had on the community, with locals being priced out of the market,” she said.

“There is very little affordable housing or housing options, and our goal is to provide that so people can both work and live in the area where their family ties are.”

Ms Arnold said the relocation of Bunnings to new premises on the Princes Highway presented an opportunity to do something about the shortage of reasonably priced housing for workers and older people wanting to downzise.

“It opens doors to address critical community needs, such as downsizing, aging in place, and providing affordable housing options,” she said.

“If not something like this, what else would you do with it?”

The proponents say the development aligns with the community’s desire for density in strategic locations with minimal environmental effects, offering accessibility and scalability to make a meaningful impact on housing supply.

Urban renewal of a bulky goods site, away from the coastline and parks, ensures growth occurs in a manner that respects and preserves the region’s unique charm, according to the proponents.

Ms Arnold said building height would be a key interest for the Shoalhaven City Council and community but the project was set back from the beach and would not impede views.

She said the building heights would be staggered to mimimise impact and the greater density would provide more housing choice.

“The proposal is providing an option that doesn’t currently exist,” she said.

“A little bit higher, denser and we’re not impacting our trees and beaches.”

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Ms Fleming said settlement on the site was due in May but the project timeline depended on approvals, first for a rezoning, which has been summitted, then a development application.

She could not reveal the purchase price but in 2015 the site sold for $7.4 million.

The proposal and masterplan can be viewed at the Shoalhaven City Council website.

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