JCB is designing the first apartment complex to be delivered under an innovative build to rent development model between Housing Choices Australia and Assemble Communities.

Popular overseas, build to rent involves a collaborative and scalable approach to building and managing properties or housing communities. It mitigates some of the challenges that come with short term rentals while benefiting the economy and enriching local neighbourhoods.

Located in south-east Melbourne, the proposed Carinish Road, Clayton development represents a high quality, mixed-use project with three key components: an office building with retail offerings, multiple residential buildings and a landscaped, public realm throughout.

The large site will provide an engaging neighbourhood experience while a generous public square will form a gateway to the precinct. The aim is to create an inner suburban hub with thriving commercial, retail and community activity.

This project aims to make a positive contribution to and engage with the emerging character of Clayton, particularly along the elevated rail corridor. “We believe this proposal demonstrates a clarity in its architectural expression and composition which considers the urban context and user experience at the ground level,” explains Director Graham Burrows.

Crafting a socially and environmentally sustainable response, the building forms are predominantly north-south facing, allowing northern light to shine in, while full-width covered balconies protect west-facing apartments from the hot summer sun.

“Taking design cues from the local suburban vernacular, the buildings exhibit shades of local terracotta, olives and cream, while corrugated concretes echo the iron sheet roofs beyond,” says Associate Director Christopher Botterill.

This development incorporates a commitment by Assemble to community housing of no less than 20%. The low-income housing will be delivered through a long-term lease arrangement by not-for-profit housing provider Housing Choices Australia. It’s the first of six build to rent developments planned in the $1.5 billion collaboration.

“At a time that has been socially and economically devastating for Victoria, fuelled by uncertainty in housing tenure and barriers to home ownership, our communities need support now more than ever to ensure we do not reach crisis point,” said Assemble Managing Director Kris Daff. “We see mixed-income communities as a blueprint for the future of Australian housing.”

Third-party funding is likely to come from Australian super funds. “This is the first large-scale build-to-rent in the affordable housing space that has no government cash outlays,” Housing Choices Managing Director Michael Lennon told The Australian Financial Review recently.