As the city continues to experience historically low availability of housing, the answer to the shortage could be above our heads.
An application for the construction of a dwelling on top of a heritage shop front on Fitzmaurice Street is on public exhibition this week, and one couple who have developed a similar apartment say the space-savvy housing could be the way forward for the city.
Jess Francis and Jake Stockton bought their property on Crampton Street in 2018 where Jess set up her salon Wish Hair & Beauty on the first floor.
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The duo decided to capitalise on the space and LEP allowances and built a small apartment dwelling on top of the shop, which instantly proved incredibly popular.
"It's been very popular," Mr Stockton said. "It was a brand new unit in a great location, we had no trouble renting it the first people who looked at it, took it."
He said lots of renters are looking for something cheap, central and modern that is easy to take care of.
"Our renters were looking to get central, they didn't want a yard and everything else in central was expensive and out of their range, they were looking for the position," Mr Stockton said.
The proposed development at 38 Fitzmaurice Street would see the second story of the historic former Arts School building converted into a studio-style apartment.
The floor plan includes the bedroom, living area and kitchen in the one space but each zone would be functionally separated.
Fitzpatricks' commercial real estate agent Geoff Seymour said currently there is not much in the way of usable shop top housing in the city, with their own rent roll including just a handful of properties in that vein.
He said in the current market however, there would be a huge appetite for the housing style which would offer location, and functionality at lower rents.
"There would 100 per cent be demand for it," he said. "It's desperate times for people at the moment, the demand is huge and supply is minimal. If you were going to bring something a bit different to the market, now is your chance."
"The demand is there for micro apartments and short term rentals."
One developer says there is a hiccup in the road to shop top housing however when it comes to renovating existing sites like 38 Fitzmaurice Street.
While mixed-use development including shop top housing is permitted in B3 commercial zones, developer Matt Jenkins said in his experience strict planning controls around size, access and fire controls in old buildings can be cost prohibitive and are likely to prevent many developments being done.
He said it should be easier to get these developments through because at the rate of the city's growth, he predicts slow land releases will lead to a shortage of new builds in coming years.
"I think it's great for the city and [council] should be very flexible with it," Mr Jenkins said. "Because there's going to be a shortage of land in two years, council needs to support developments like this."
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