THE site of the former derelict public housing estate Narkindie Park is set to be redeveloped in a major new project for Naracoorte.
Rod and Meg Dohse have bought the 3.33ha of land that until late last year was populated by 44 units - disused since Housing SA tenants started being moved out and redirected to new homes in 2010.
The properties at Narkindie Park had been falling further into disrepair in recent years, to the point that Naracoorte Lucindale Council's Cr Craig McGuire called it "Naracoorte's ghetto" last year, and news that it will be redeveloped with new housing is sure to be welcomed by the community.
The Dohses - who own GJ Gardner Homes franchises in Naracoorte and Mount Gambier - said they had worked with Adelaide's Jensen Planning and Naracoorte Lucindale Council to reach a solution on what to do with the land.
"We worked to come up with a plan that brings something new and fresh with a variety of choices and options with affordable housing," Mr Dohse told the Herald. "Like a village-type feel about it."
At this stage Mr Dohse said the push was for a Torrens-title development, with a mixture of different allotment sizes with frontages to Cedar, Atkinson and Grieve Aves.
Blocks are for larger houses along with cottage-style houses for retirees or singles and two-storey town houses.
There will be a green focus for the new estate with pocket parks and interconnecting green walkways.
Rainwater tanks for all properties and solar hot water heaters are planned at this stage along with potential water retention on-site to recharge back into the aquifer.
Mr Dohse said a full survey had been done on the blocks so where possible a lot of the existing timber could also be retained.
The developer said there had been a struggle to find suitable allotments for building in Naracoorte.
Planning started last year in November after the Dohses' tender was successful.
"Meg and I saw it as an opportunity for something fresh and new," Mr Dohse said. "Rather than the standard housing development."
Naracoorte Lucindale mayor Erika Vickery said the people of Naracoorte would be happy with the progress made.
"It will change it from an eyesore to a progressive development," she said.
"In such a prime residential location, right in town near the hospital and a school.
"It gives a chance for a variety of demographics to live in one area."
Mr Dohse said the development would provide a boost for local contractors involved in the development.
The community itself is likely to have a chance to be involved with the possibility of a competition to name the new estate.
The proposed development is still in the planning stage with some of the finer details to be worked out.
"It will take some time before allotments become available," Mr Dohse said.
"Possibly October this year. We need to get all the detail in order and the right approvals."
- Housing SA started to move tenants out of Narkindie Park in August 2010, after it described the dwellings there as "obsolete, high-maintenance, not access-friendly and too highly concentrated".
It was fenced off in early 2012 and sat virtually untouched - apart from several vandalism attacks - until all the remaining dwellings were levelled by Royal Park Salvage in September last year.
This new development is bound to be an exciting new chapter in the history of the site.