Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Redevelopment of Macquarie Park, 2016-2018

The NSW Government has announced an extensive redevelopment of the Sydney suburb of Macquarie Park.

Macquarie Park is situated in northwest Sydney. It is part of the City of Ryde, though borders the North Shore councils of Ku-ring-gai and Willoughby. It is home to the Ivanhoe Estate – a medium density public housing complex consisting of 259 townhouses and apartments, and approximately 460 residents. Ivanhoe was built approximately 25 years ago.  
NSW Government plans to build 2500 new apartments in Macquarie Park by 2018, with construction commencing next year. The number of new residences could rise as high as 5800 between 2019 and 2031, though the Government has not actually confirmed what, if any development will take place following the first stage of construction.

Irrespective of the final scope of the redevelopment, it will represent a substantial increase in the population density of Macquarie Park. According to City of Ryde data, current density is 9.10 persons per hectare over 676 hectares. At the 2011 census, its total population was 6149. Indeed, the suburb is presently comprised mostly of university grounds, commercial properties, parklands, and low-density housing.

Effect on public and affordable housing stock

The Ivanhoe Estate will be demolished as part of the redevelopment. However, the first stage of construction will include 556 new public housing dwellings (that is, 22.24% of total new dwellings).

This represents a better net result for the public housing stock than provided for in the Macquarie Park Task Force’s development fact sheet, published in May 2012. This provided that, “If the Ivanhoe estate is redeveloped, the same number of social housing homes will be built. There will be no loss of social housing in the area.”

The 2016-2018 developments will also include an affordable housing component. Media reporting conflicts on precisely how many affordable housing dwellings will be built. The Daily Telegraph’s report, available here, says there will be 128 affordable housing dwellings (5.12%). The Sydney Morning Herald says “about 25 per cent” of total dwellings will be either public or affordable housing. Given the public housing component is confirmed to be 556, this would mean about 69 affordable housing residences (2.76%) will be built.

Effect on current public housing tenants

NSW Family and Community Services Minister Brad Hazzard has said that, from 2016, FACS Housing will assist residents of the Ivanhoe Estate to relocate to available public housing properties in the vicinity of Macquarie Park. The Minister said that FACS Housing will also offer Ivanhoe residents the opportunity to move back into Macquarie Park once redevelopment is complete. 

This is largely consistent with what was provided in the Macquarie Park Task Force’s fact sheet; “Where tenants are moved out of the estate to allow redevelopment to take place, they will have the option of moving back to the estate provided that a new dwelling is available that is also suited to their needs.”

Macquarie Park and all surrounding suburbs are situated in FACS Housing’s Northern Sydney allocation zone. FACS Housing lists current wait times in Northern Sydney for those eligible for public housing as “10+ years” for all types of dwelling. This suggests that public housing availability in the vicinity of Macquarie Park is generally very low.

Nothing announced to date gives credence to the rumour, published in a Daily Telegraph story in 2014, that “Public housing tenants could be forced to pay full rent after five years under a “work for the dole”-type public housing trial in Macquarie Park”.

Land acquisition

It is not yet clear whether any privately owned residential properties or commercial land will be compulsorily acquired to facilitate the redevelopment.

However, the Macquarie Park Task Force fact sheet states that, collectively, the State Property Authority and NSW Land and Housing Corporation already own 12.2 hectares of land in Macquarie Park. The Ivanhoe Estate is built on approximately 7 hectares. 

Infrastructure Investment

The Sydney Morning Herald report linked above says the NSW Government will invest $5 million into new infrastructure to accompany the redevelopment. The Daily Telegraph says a new school “could be built” as part of first stage of construction.

It is unclear whether construction of the school would be paid for out of the $5 million infrastructure budget, or by private developers in return for permission to undertake for-profit construction – as occurred, for example, with construction of the Homebush Bay bridge.


According to the NSW Government’s Globe program, the land value of the Ivanhoe estate site is approximately $45,000,000. As the Government has not yet announced what, if any additional land will be utilised for construction, it is not possible to calculate additional land values.

Data reflecting projected sales figures for apartments and commercial land to be sold on the private market has not been made publicly available.

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