I posted a short article last September setting out a vision of more apartment development in Adelaide done in a way that would bring the sort of amenity and quality of life you can see in many European cities such as Munich and Berlin. Well the State here has just announced a temporary respite on the duty or tax on new apartments in the Central Business District and one nearby premium suburb – North Adelaide. Should this help?
The problem is, as I see it, that initiative is unilateral and not coupled to any quality criteria so we could actually end up with a glut of buildings that buyers do not really want or can not on-sell later. That sort of thing can lead to residual values becoming less than the mortgage and foreclosures even when payments are up to date! This happened in Spain recently.
Can I suggest that the City Council urgently consider an upgraded building code to apply when the duty is foregone. Think minimum room dimensions, higher ceilings, balcony areas, floor noise isolation, double glazing, basement storage, and interconnected buildings via sky bridges for evacuation and pedestrian alternatives. Enclosed courtyard parks, roof gardens, bike racks, nice foyers with broad staircases and silent boutique lifts (for the infirm or those with a load) might qualify for further incentives or a more generous threshold in buildings of a height that encourages use of the stairs.
The stakeholders – Council, State, Banks, Builders and Architects – need to talk more and set out a path to achieve this in full consultation with the public and private providers of transport and infrastructure like utilities.
Who will take the lead? Who will develop the modeling? Who will cost the options, quantify and remediate the risks, reconcile competing interests, make the money? Why not ask who made this work in key cities like Basel, Munich and Berlin?