Designs of a bold 27-apartment development planned for central Ballarat have been unveiled as the project comes closer to reality.
A planning application for 11 Davey Street was submitted to council on June 27 ahead of a final community information session scheduled for July 31.
The proposal, which includes a rooftop garden, communal laundry and retail shopfront, is the first regional attempt to replicate the success of a carbon-neutral, community focused housing model launched by Nightingale Housing in 2014.
There's an acknowledgement from residents in Ballarat that there's a movement towards multi-residential housingNightingale Housing business development manager and project lead Jennifer Kulas
Nightingale Housing business development manager and project lead Jennifer Kulas said the development aimed to address issues facing the local community.
"Oftentimes there's a sense that regional Victoria is overlooked but in reality it faces a lot of similar issues to Melbourne in terms of urban sprawl and potential social isolation," Ms Kulas said.
The building design was finalised following community consultation and several meetings with council.
"It's really aligned with [council's] ideas of an active, central Ballarat and a walkable city," Ms Kulas said.
"There's an acknowledgement from residents in Ballarat that there's a movement towards multi-residential housing."
The council passed an amendment in October last year to 'encourage 50 per cent of future housing development to occur in established neighbourhoods' as part of the compact city plan.
From inner-city Melbourne to Ballarat: push for a car-free lifestyle
The Nightingale housing model was launched in Brunswick with Nightingale One, which drew controversy following the decision to build the apartment block with no car parking, instead encouraging residents to opt for cycling and public transport.
The Nightingale Ballarat proposal includes 14 car spaces and 54 bicycle parking spots for the 27-apartment development, a balance reached following a community information session in May.
"The feedback that came from the first information session was that about 50 per cent of residents were happy to live without cars," Ms Kulas said.
If approved, the 14 car spaces would be sold to residents separately to apartments.
Local residents have expressed hesitant support for the proposal, although some are concerned about traffic congestion and the size of the development.
Emily Kuik, whose Lyons Street North property is metres from the Davey Street site, said a large development might be "out of place" in the low-rise area.
"The streets are already pretty crowded," Ms Kuik said.
The site, which currently houses a disused warehouse, is part of a Residential Growth Zone designed to encourage medium-density housing growth close to activity centres.
Priority for "key community contributors"
The Nightingale model proposes 20 per cent of the apartments be allocated to a community housing provider who will own and operate the apartments as community housing.
"We are currently in conversation with Housing Choices Australia, a [community housing provider] who we have worked with on other Nightingale projects and who has expressed support for Nightingale Ballarat," Ms Kulas said.
A third and final community information session is planned for July 31 at Ballarat Trades Hall, after which interested buyers will be invited to enter a ballot for the apartments.
Five apartments will be allocated to a priority ballot for people living with a disability and their carers as well as "key community contributors", such as people working in the arts, those supporting minority groups and providing vital community services.
Ms Kulas said she hoped to succeed where other infill developments have struggled, as the Nightingale development will be dependent on community support.
"We're in a bit of a different position because we have an option on the site, that means if we don't have sufficient interest we don't have to execute the option to purchase the site," Ms Kulas said.
"Nightingale Housing is coming to Ballarat on a fact finding mission: to understand if there is sufficient community interest to live in a carbon neutral community-focused apartment building.
"We're listening and won't go ahead with the project without local community support."
The proposal is currently under initial assessment with council and is expected to be advertised for public comment later this month.
For more information on the Nightingale Ballarat, head to nightingalehousing.org/nightingale-ballarat.