Townhouse plan a first for city
Thursday, 26th August, 2010
An ambitious plan to build 38 new townhouses on Murton Street would be a welcome addition to the market, according to a local real estate agent.
Queensland developer PC Items wants to build the two story, three and four bedroom, eco-friendly townhouses to plug a hole in the up-market housing rental market.
LJ Hooker's Jim Hickey said while the plan was ambitious it was much needed to combat an increasing rental demand.
"I'm very excited," Mr Hickey said.
"We have a shortage of quality houses in Broken Hill that have the inclusions this development offers.
"(Demand) is always strong for good rentals. It's been like that for a long time. You can never get enough good stuff."
Mr Hickey has been liaising with PC Items for about eight months on the plan, which would see the block between Buck and Murton streets and Wolfram Street and Wolfram Lane redeveloped.
The site was the former Saints Peter and Paul infants school grounds in Murton Street.
The former school building, which is now privately owned, will not be knocked down but will be incorporated into the new development named Murton Springs.
Built to six star energy specifications, the townhouses will have outdoor areas, fully landscaped low maintenance gardens and access to a heated communal pool.
PC Items has yet to lodge a development application to City Council but director Geoff Millward said that would happen this week.
Mr Millward said he wanted to begin actual construction in February.
"We're looking to kick off ... physical construction at the beginning of February," Mr Millward said.
"There's work to do on the sewage (and other things) that can happen in between time."
The townhouses are expected to sell for $300,000 to $350,000 for a three bedroom, while the four bedroom would be in excess of $350,000, Mr Hickey said.
He said the rental return would be around $400 per week.
Despite the high prices Mr Hickey said he was confident the concept would work.
"(Sales of high priced houses) have been slow. It's been very slow," he said.
"We have studied the planned development and believe in its current form it will be well received by the community.
"I think it's a great new development. It's something we've never seen.
"Rental prices are going up everywhere and we haven't caught up with that yet."
PC Items was one of a group of developers who came to Broken Hill on a City Council hosted regional tour back in 2008.
While a predicted increase in the city's population was set back by the Global Financial Crisis, Mr Hickey said the company has completed a further strategic plan and feels confident there will be a resurgence in the predicted growth.
"Providing their research proves to be correct then it will be a real winner," he said.
"I think it's very positive. I think it's a start in the right direction."