Marlborough Street community housing

Council is committed to supporting the development of affordable housing in Port Phillip. We are pleased to be partnering with both HousingFirst and the Victorian Government to build this community housing complex, close to shops and public transport while retaining a public carpark.

Image credit: HousingFirst


46 to 58 Marlborough Street, Balaclava


This project has been funded under the Victorian Government’s $2.7 billion Building Works Package announced in July 2020 which includes nearly $500 million for public and community housing initiatives to boost the economy and create thousands of jobs across the state. Council has donated Council-owned land at 46-58 Marlborough Street (including a public carpark), to HousingFirst, a community housing organisation, to develop this project.


Why are we doing this?

Council has developed an Affordable Housing Strategy, In Our Backyard – Growing Affordable Housing in the City of Port Phillip 2015 – 2025 (PDF 1.8 MB) to respond to the growing issue of available housing to support residents with lower income who are experiencing housing stress. The Marlborough Street community housing project is a key initiative under Policy 1 of this strategy. Council has gifted the Council-owned land at 46-58 Marlborough Street to HousingFirst to develop this project.

Our Council Plan 2021-31 also outlines our strategic direction to continue to support an Inclusive Port Phillip. We want to foster a community with strong social connections, where people feel safer and welcome and have access to affordable housing and the information and services they need to support their health and wellbeing.

We plan to increase much-needed affordable housing for our diverse and inclusive community, including by continuing to:

  • Facilitate and advocate for affordable housing for low-income households in housing stress
  • Work with key partners to help prevent homelessness, or reduce time spent without a secure home, for older Port Phillip residents facing housing stress or loss.

The impact

Construction commencement

Construction began on 1 June and will run for approximately 18 months.

The project builder, Buxton Construction, shall minimise disruption to residents and businesses directly impacted throughout the construction period. This includes minimising noise and disturbance, maintaining safe access to residences, keeping the site clean and tidy, providing notices for any authority interruptions and temporary road closures.

Once Buxton Construction moves onto the construction site in June, they will send a letter to confirm their contact details and provide further details about the construction period.

Temporary carpark closure

The Marlborough Street carpark will be closed and operating as a construction site during the building construction period. This is a temporary loss of parking. Once the housing has been completed, a public carpark will again be available on this site, reinstated in the basement of the building. The carpark will incorporate environmental design factors, providing good lighting and access, and provide 39 spaces.

Other public carparks nearby will continue to be available, including a second carpark on Marlborough Street, one behind Coles and one behind Woolworths on the other side of Carlisle Street.


This project offers an important opportunity for Council to retain a redeveloped public carpark and further provide residents with much-needed community housing.

The site at 46-58 Marlborough Street includes an off-street carpark which has been earmarked for community housing for several years as identified in our Affordable Housing Policy and Council Plan 2021-31.

This project will deliver 46 affordable housing apartments, close to shops and public transport. Community housing generally caters for people capable of independent living, namely families with low income, older people and people with disability. Once complete, the site will be operated by HousingFirst who will be responsible for tenancy and property management.

Key Council Resolutions and contract milestones

The Heads of Agreement is available to review in the support documents below.

  • On 7 March 2018, Council unanimously resolved to progress this redevelopment and delegated authority to the CEO to negotiate and enter into a conditional Heads of Agreement with Port Phillip Housing Association Ltd as Trustee for the Port Phillip Housing Trust for the redevelopment and sale of 46-58 Marlborough Street.
  • At the Ordinary Meeting of Council held on 15 August 2018, Council resolved to proceed with the conditional transfer of land at the site for community housing, following formal notice of its intention to sell the land and considering the public submissions as required under the Local Government Act 1989.
  • On 6 May 2020, Council endorsed variations to the Heads of Agreement with HousingFirst Ltd. This involved an extension to the deadline for obtaining the development permit and construction funding and to also carry out an additional detailed contamination investigation at the site.

Community engagement

In 2018, Council gave advanced formal notice of its intention to sell the land and considered public submissions as required under the Local Government Act 1989.

In April 2018, Council issued a public notice in The Leader and provided correspondence to residents, owners and traders in the surrounding area. Two drop-in sessions were hosted for residents, traders and community members to find out more and have their questions answered. These were held onsite at 46-58 Marlborough Street in April 2018.

Submissions were received and reported at a Council Meeting in June 2018. Submissions were considered and responses provided in a Council Meeting in August 2018 when Council also resolved to proceed with the conditional transfer of land at the site for community housing to affordable housing provider HousingFirst, as trustee of the Port Phillip Housing Trust.

Architectural concept sketch

DOIG Architecture has prepared the community housing development architectural concept sketch (PDF 7.9 MB).

More information

If you have further queries, please contact Michelle Rysanek, Senior Property Project Manager via ASSIST on 03 9209 6777.