Innovative Dunedin social housing project well underway | The Salvation Army

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Innovative Dunedin social housing project well underway

Dunedin city
Posted June 29, 2023

Work on an innovative Salvation Army Social Housing project in Dunedin is well underway, with 30 apartments being constructed for low-income tenants. 

The social housing is located on a floor of a mixed-use heritage building that will also house market-rate apartments on the upper floors and commercial users on the ground floor.  

The 30 apartments will consist of 28 one-bedroom units, along with one two-bedroom and one three-bedroom unit, along with a generous community space, an area for craft-type activities and a tenancy manager office. Tenants will come from the government’s Housing Register. 

Salvation Army Social Housing National Director Greg Foster says that the development will help to meet the high demand for affordable housing in Dunedin and has been made possible with the support of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

“It is an innovative social housing project and the first time The Salvation Army and HUD have been involved in accommodation of this nature in a heritage building,” says Greg. 

“It’s a major conversion with a world-class architect developing the plans and layout. The tenants will have a great living space, with an expected move-in date at the end of 2024.”     

The building is in the heart of Dunedin’s inner waterfront area and close to the city centre, railway station and local supermarkets. Construction of the Social Housing apartments commenced last year, while the local council granted final building consent in May.    

Originally built in 1873 by Henry Bell, with the imposing R A Lawson designed building at the southern end of the site built in 1883 for the subsequent owner, the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company. An additional floor with the distinctive sawtooth roof was added in 1929. At the time of its original construction, the local Otago Witness newspaper described it as ‘Probably the finest building of its kind in New Zealand’. 

A private developer, Russell Lund is renovating the entire building, with the Social Housing units to be leased to The Salvation Army for an initial period of 15 years. Renowned Australian architect Robert Morris Nunn, whose firm has won more than 60 design awards both in Australia and internationally, is advising on the development of the social housing space, and his firm Circa Morris Nunn Chua are the architects. This is their only project in New Zealand.   

The overall design concept celebrates the original building materials, such as the internal wood structure, perimeter stone walls, high ceilings, and high, wooden-framed windows. The apartments also have a full sprinkler system. The building has been earthquake strengthened and will achieve an earthquake rating of 100 percent of new build standard. 

The Salvation Army Territorial Media Officer, 021 945 337, email: (The Media Officer responds to enquiries from media outlets and journalists. If you would like to donate, are in need of help, or have some other non-media-related enquiry, please call 0800 53 00 00.)