Colac’s bid to solve affordable housing problem in city

Colac wants to stay in Corangamite

Colac-Otway Shire is seeking a buyer for a residential development site. Picture: Mike Dugdale

COLAC’S council is seeking developers or housing providers to partner in a scheme to deliver new affordable housing to the city.

The Colac-Otway Shire is seeking to sell a 4.2ha Colac property to a suitable party to embark on a residential development, including 15 per cent of affordable housing.

It’s engaged Colliers, Geelong agents Jonathan Lumsden, Andrew Lewis and Edward Tansey to handle a two-stage expressions of interest campaign to reveal potential developers of the site.

The process is similar to campaigns run for City of Greater Geelong where it short-listed potential buyers before agreeing to terms for the sale of the old Geelong Gaol and the former post office.

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The 4.2ha site at 36-52 Bruce St is zoned general residential and is next to the former site of the municipal tip, which closed in 1997.

“There is a shortage of accommodation in the local market so they want to see it as a residential subdivision with a 15 per cent allocation for affordable housing,” Mr Lumsden said.

“That 15 per cent would be smoothed among the total subdivision.

“There is a lot of interest from residential developers and also housing providers,” he said.

Mr Lumsden said they are generally Victorian based developers, though a couple of national groups have made inquiries.

Colac-Otway Shire is selling land at 36-52 Bruce St, Colac, for a residential development.

“We’re not told a price and council won’t release a price to us. At the end of the day it’s about council being more comfortable with what the overall development will look like and what the end product will be.

“There is feedback coming out of the shire and the communities that they’re lacking workforce. They’ve got jobs there, but they can’t get people for them because they can’t get housing in Colac.”

Mr Lumsden said the council was seeking submissions from developers of land in partnership with a home builder, a registered housing association or provider or house and land developers in partnership with a registered housing association.

The Bruce St site is adjacent to residential dwellings, Lake Colac and is close to the CBD.

“Colac is located less than two hours, or 150km, west of Melbourne and is linked by rail and freeway dual highway,” Mr Lumsden said.

Colac-Otway Shire is selling land at 36-52 Bruce St, Colac, for a residential development.

“The current population of Colac is 13,000 and is predicted to grow to 20,000 by 2050.

“The trade area served by the city currently sits at about 21,000 people and includes communities such as Apollo Bay, Birregurra, Beeac and Forrest.”

Mr Lewis said the site was a significant listing for the region, as the end development would provide the area with affordable real estate compared to the blocks of land around Geelong and Armstrong Creek.

Colac’s median price for houses is $385,000, a rise of 16 per cent in 12 months, and $385,000 for units.

“The demand for affordable blocks will be attractive to local and potential future residents and the future development will also be seen as a boost for the local economy with the use of local contractors and suppliers.”