IRT are currently working on a new retirement living development at Henry Brooks Estate co-located alongside their existing homes at William Beach Gardens in Kanahooka (a suburb of Wollongong). They are proposing a cohousing development at the site. The proposal consists of replacing a space originally set aside for 5 villas with 8 one-bedroom dwellings, a common building with shared facilities, and garden spaces.
Category: Collaborative retirement
About the project
IRT are currently working with architects Edmiston Jones on a new retirement living development at Henry Brooks Estate co-located alongside their existing homes at William Beach Gardens in Kanahooka (a suburb of Wollongong). They are proposing a cohousing development at the site. The proposal consists of replacing a space originally set aside for 5 villas with 8 one-bedroom dwellings, a common building with shared facilities, and garden spaces.
As the cohousing is part of the larger IRT Kanahooka development, the residents will share other facilities of the retirement village such as the central club house. However, the cohousing common building is designed for use exclusively by cohousing residents and their invited guests.
IRT intends to have the cohousing precinct operational by October 2020. The intention is to offer a new style of retirement housing that IRT may be able to incorporate into other future developments. Their vision for cohousing is to give back to the community, reduce social isolation and loneliness, while providing safe and affordable options for seniors.
Residents will be over-55, as this is part of a development on land approved for seniors living only. IRT believes that this proposed form of cohousing may appeal to a demographic that is different from the traditional cohort entering retirement living, who are generally aged 75-80. They think they may attract a slightly younger cohort. IRT have a working hypothesis that it will speak to ‘single older women affected by a societal or financial challenge’.
Past experience with retirement living demographics suggest that the residents will come from within a ~10km radius of Kanahooka. However, IRT acknowledges this is a new type of development, and as with all new innovation the make-up of the residents who end up living in the development is part of a learning process.
In order to build a sense of community before the buildings are completed, as well as provide opportunity to input into aspects of design and social facets of the community, IRT intends to build upon a series of co-design workshops recruiting potential future residents, to work on a ‘bounded collaboration’. This process will start after development approval of a concept design.
What will be shared?
How will it happen?
How will they manage ownership rights?
How will they get along?
All dwellings will be self-contained, with private bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette and laundry facilities. Common facilities will be confirmed in the co-design process, but are anticipated to include: a common building with an oversized kitchen, group dining area, a living area with couches for TV/movies, shared storage space, and toilets, as well as shared gardens and tool shed.
The project was initiated by IRT in 2017 after they became interested in the potential of cohousing within the retirement living sector. A concept was developed through workshops with potential residents and funding was provided from the Federal Government’s Building Better Regions Fund to provision for a share of the infrastructure build. The remainder is being funded by IRT.
IRT will offer the homes under a lifetime lease. Commonly, retirement living offers long-term residence rights via either lease or licence purchase arrangements. This gives the resident the right to occupy the home for as long as they like, providing security of tenure without having to purchase the property and pay stamp duty. IRT plan to offer an innovative payment model that allows an affordable entry point for retirees or workers over-55.
IRT are exploring a hybrid model of governance which gives the cohousing residents greater autonomy and control within their particular precinct of the retirement village. IRT will use a series of collaborative workshops to determine the social rules of engagement or charter of rights for future residents, tabling and determining self-control of gardening, maintenance, cleaning and alike of their own precinct.