News & Media

Redevelopment plans unveiled for Kew Cottages site

Community Services Minister, Sherryl Garbutt, today announced the redevelopment of the Kew Residential Services (KRS) site would establish a new modern housing estate featuring a community leisure centre, parkland and purpose-built housing for people with disabilities.
Unveiling the redevelopment plans, Ms Garbutt said Walker Corporation had been selected as the developer for the KRS site.
“The Government is undertaking this landmark project to shut an archaic institution and deliver a better quality of life for KRS residents in the community,” Ms Garbutt said.
This major redevelopment will provide 20 houses for 100 residents with intellectual disabilities on the KRS site. Another 73 houses are being built for 380 people with intellectual disabilities in the wider community – with 36 homes already finished and occupied.
“The new housing development on the KRS site is low-density and will provide around 520 houses and apartments – with the majority of accommodation single or two storeys only,” she said.
“People with disabilities in particular will benefit from a new $3 million community leisure centre, which features a hydrotherapy pool and consulting rooms for visiting health practitioners.
“A new linear park will also be created in the heart of the new residential estate and will link into the Yarra Bend Park to provide a recreational space for the whole community to enjoy.”
It is estimated that the Government will receive around $80 million from the land sale and the residential redevelopment. The final commercial proposal will be independently-valued by the Valuer General.
“Every cent raised from the redevelopment will go towards providing high-quality housing and support services for KRS residents and other people with a disability in the community,” Ms Garbutt said.
“This project will provide a major boost to Victoria’s economy by delivering 1600 jobs in the areas of construction and disability services.”
Ms Garbutt said currently there was no public open space on the 27-hectare site, but this plan provided approximately 27 per cent of the site for new parkland.
“The KRS development provides ample public open space and preserves the character of the local neighbourhood whilst providing much better accommodation and support for people with disabilities in the community,” she said.
Key features of the KRS redevelopment are:
Ten hectares of the site will be used for housing up to three storeys. The majority of the housing will be single or double storey;
Around 2.7 hectares of the site will be used for apartments, with a maximum height limit of five storeys;
Approximately 27 per cent public open space including a linear park with a network of pedestrian and bike trails connecting to adjacent Yarra Bend Park;
Retention of significant vegetation, avenues of trees and memorials;
Retention of three heritage listed buildings, The Chapel, The ‘STAD’, and Unit 10; and
A $3 million community leisure centre featuring a 25 metre lap pool, a spa, hydrotherapy pool, gymnasium, consulting rooms for health practitioners, and community facilities.“The on-site homes for KRS residents will be single-storey with up to six people each having their own room and will be integrated into the general housing development,” Ms Garbutt said.
“Like all KRS residents moving into the community, people living on-site will receive 24-hour care and support from qualified carers.”
Around 170 KRS residents have already moved into community housing in metropolitan Melbourne and regional centres across Victoria.
“These people are thriving living in the community and are enjoying more community-based activities, greater family contact and learning more skills after years of institutional living,” Ms Garbutt said.
The Bracks Government is now proposing to preserve three buildings on the site following the heritage listing decision by Heritage Victoria earlier this year.
“It is anticipated that preserving an extra building will reduce State revenue from the redevelopment by up to $7 million,” Ms Garbutt said.
“The Government believes that the proposal to Heritage Victoria strikes the right balance between preserving the heritage values of the site and delivering better services for people with disability.”
The Department of Human Services (DHS) will apply to Heritage Victoria for a demolition permit for the other three buildings. The Department will meet with families of Kew residents who will remain living on-site about the redevelopment plans over the next week.
“Families have been consulted extensively about their relative’s care needs and their future, and this will continue,” Ms Garbutt said.
Work is expected to begin on the KRS site over coming months and continue progressively over the following seven years, with houses for KRS residents completed by the end of 2006.
The detailed redevelopment plans will be referred to Boroondara Council in the near future for comment.