North Melbourne social housing build reaches “topping out” milestone

Brendan Rees

A $40 million housing complex build in North Melbourne is gathering pace with Premier Daniel Andrews visiting the site to speak about the importance of providing more social and affordable housing.

The development at Shiel St, which is part of the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build, will feature 70 new social housing homes and be managed by Housing Choices Australia when it’s completed in mid-2024.

The Premier and the Minister for Housing Colin Brooks visited the site on August 8 after the nine-storey building passed its “topping out” milestone, a celebration that signifies the successful completion of the structural phase of a project. 

Once finished it will accommodate new one-, two- and three-bedroom homes that are modern and energy efficient, allowing renters to save more on their power bills.

The site will include safe and publicly accessible open and green spaces, as well as being located with easy access to public transport, shops, schools, and medical facilities.

Premier Andrews said the topping out of the building, which is being delivered by Buxton Construction, marked an important part of the project, and brought hope to many in need of a place to call home.

Amid a backdrop of construction at the site, as well as another project under way a few blocks away that was also part of the Big Build, the Premier said, “we know that more housing choices, and more affordable housing has perhaps never been more important that it is right now”.

“There’s a lot of stress, there’s a lot of anxiety about not having options, not having choices, not having that power and we want to do something about that.”


It’s very hard to build a successful life, a stable life, a life of dignity and purpose if you don’t have somewhere to live.


“All over Victoria work is happening right now to build more housing for Victorians through our Big Housing Build – the largest single investment in social and affordable housing by any state or territory government.”

Member for Northern Metropolitan Region Sheena Watt said she was delighted to visit the Shiel St development and the progress “being made on these beautiful new social and affordable homes”.

“We’re very much looking forward to welcoming their new tenants to the local community,” she said.

The state government is delivering more than 12,000 new homes and creating more than 40,000 jobs through the Big Housing Build – with the Shiel St development supporting more than 350 jobs since construction began in June last year.



However, there was a mixed reaction from the community over the development during the consultation phase in 2021, with some residents expressing concern over its bulk and scale, setbacks, brick façade, safety around vehicle access, soil contamination and lack of consultation, among other concerns.

The North and West Melbourne Association’s secretary Kevin Chamberlin applauded the development, saying “it’s great to see a substantial amount of family accommodation now being incorporated into apartment developments in the City of Melbourne”.

“There’s been a long history, mainly driven by banks and financiers who essentially demanded that development of this nature be one-bedroom and maybe a small number of two-bedroom apartments,” he said.

“This is a second development to be approved for this site. The previous one was much higher, so this is a significant improvement as it is much lower.” •

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