Source: P Precinct
Source: P Precinct
By 2017 more than half of all new homes built in Auckland will be part of apartment blocks or terraced homes.
According to architecture and research company RCG’s latest publication, Constructive Thinking, this shows Aucklanders may be warming up to the idea of attached housing.
“Based on building consent data and our own forecasts, 53 per cent of the new homes built in Auckland will be attached by 2017. This is a considerable shift from the average of the last 20 years, which has been closer to 35 per cent.”
The increase in attached homes fits with trends in comparable Australian cities, RCG said.
“Demand for medium density living is booming here. In Australia’s three largest
cities at least 60 per cent of new homes are attached.”
Rising house prices, an aging population, shrinking household sizes and record migration levels are citied as key drivers behind the trend.
RCG economist and associate director John Polkinghorne said attached housing is an attractive option for many people.
“Auckland’s population continues to grow rapidly, and for many people, a well
located and affordable apartment or terraced home is becoming a really attractive
option, compared to a standalone house on the city fringe,” Polkinghorne said.
RCG associate director of research John Polkinghorne.
In findings released this month, Barfoot & Thompson surveyed 500 Aucklanders aged 18 to 34 who were yet to own property.
Around 70 per cent of would-be homeowners are still aiming for a standalone Auckland house, with just 9 per cent willing to consider an apartment, it found.
Auckland CBD, Stonefields, Albany, the Western CBD and the Southern CBD are the most effected areas by increased density.
Prime Minister John Key says a million Chinese tourists will soon be visiting here annually.
Making his prediction at a ground-breaking ceremony for Auckland’s new $200 million Park Hyatt, Key told more than 100 dignitaries in a waterfront marquee how he expected massive growth.
Quipping how he expected to be at the new five-star hotel regularly because he is often at events in hotels, Key said China was New Zealand’s second biggest market for tourists after Australia.
About 371,000 Chinese tourists now visit New Zealand annually.
“The question is ‘how long will it take before there’s one million?” he asked of annual Chinese visitor arrivals. “I would have thought within about three to four years there will be one million tourists from China alone,” he said.
Tourism New Zealand says China is New Zealand’s second largest visitor market.
“Its growing middle-class has seen sustained growth in Chinese visitor arrivals to New Zealand over the last five years. Increased air capacity from the two direct carriers, China Southern Airlines and Air New Zealand – with new players Air China and China Eastern also establishing year-round services in 2015 – has helped this trend,” Tourism NZ says.
Key was with a businesswoman said to be China’s wealthiest to turn the first sod at the site of the new hotel.
Madam Chan Laiwa, founder of Chinese real estate business Fu Wah, visited the Halsey St site in the Wynyard Quarter/Viaduct Harbour area, opposite ASB North Wharf.
She accompanied Key into the marquee to the call of a kaikaranga.
New Zealand’s largest private property developer is planning projects worth more than $1 billion.
Culum Manson, a director of Parnell-headquartered Mansons TCLM, said the business was the busiest it had been in its 40 year history.
“We’ve got over $1 billion of work planned and not yet announced, including a $120 million asset and a $210 million asset, both in the CBD,” Manson said.
The $1 billion-plus of new work was the result of the need for tenants to upgrade their office space.
“We’re thinking about who might need upgrading in the next few years,” he said of the new projects.
The family firm’s biggest scheme is the $675 million 30-level office tower and 125-room hotel tower at 46 Albert St on the site where the Herald has been published for 152 years.
“The biggest project we have on is Albert St,” he said of the site spanning Mills Lane, Albert St, Wyndham St and Swanson St. Buildings there are now being progressively vacated by about 850 staff for NZME Central, Mansons’ 151 Victoria St premises.
No naming rights have been announced for that new five-star block but that is expected soon when the top floor tenancy lease is announced.
Law firm Meredith Connell has also leased space in the building.
Early last month, Prime Minister John Key officially opened NZME Central, acknowledging the rapidly changing nature of media and the importance of the shift into the new premises.
Manson said planning work for the new buildings on the Herald site was under way.
“We could start demolition of 46 Albert St [at the] end of the first quarter next year, although I’ve got to say it’s not a priority at the moment because we’re still focused on finishing off 151 [Victoria St West] and getting started with all these other jobs,” he said.
“Also, we’re still working with Auckland Transport and Auckland Council on finalising the resource consent for the old Herald site and that’s taken longer than we anticipated, mainly around transport implications of the City Rail Link and a whole lot of moving parts that need to be considered.
“It’s frustrating but we’re all living in the same city and we’re all got to deal with it.”
A Colliers International’s Auckland office vacancy survey showed strong demand and the lowest overall vacancy rate recorded since the studies started. Colliers said it was not just the CBD and fringes which displayed strong demand, but office vacancies had also dropped on the North Shore, Mt Wellington, Penrose and throughout east Auckland.
Christchurch’s tallest post-quake apartment complex is about to take shape opposite Cranmer Square. To be called West Kilmore Precinct, a $40 million plus complex will be erected 11 storeys tall with apartments priced between $450,000 and at least $1.2 million. The site is the corner of Kilmore St and Cranmer Square where Ernst and Young House stood before the quakes.
Christchurch property developer Grant MacKinnon is behind the project. His previous projects include the now-demolished Gallery Apartments in Gloucester St. MacKinnon has an investor he does not wish to name, but confirmed it was a local now living overseas. Although building height restrictions in the area were lowered to 11 metres in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, MacKinnon has existing use rights to build more than twice as high.
West Kilmore Precinct will consist of four buildings with different heights. Stage one will have 15 one and two bedroom apartments priced from $450,000 to $950,000, and is due to be finished in winter. Stage two will be two-connected buildings finished in mid-2017. They will be 11-storeys high with 35 apartments of up to three bedrooms and priced from $500,000 to $1.2 million. The third stage had not been finalised but would have six ‘‘higher end’’ apartments.
The complex will be full height facing north, with roof heights stepped down towards the south. MacKinnon bought the property in 2012 with the apartment plan in mind. He believes it is one of the best sites in the city, with views over both Cranmer Square and Hagley Park. About 20 of the apartments are pre-sold or under option. However he described the highend apartment market in the central city as difficult. ‘‘It’s a hard market to work in. Lots of people are looking and some are buying, but they’re careful”. ‘‘But we are appealing to some people. It’s a small number and there is still some nervousness about coming back into the central city but that’s rapidly falling away.’’
MacKinnon said he was pleased to see other apartment developments in the area. These include developer New-Urban Group’s Chinese-backed low-rise 30-apartment plan for the old Cranmer Courts site across the road, and the eight-storey Verve Precinct apartments going up to replace The Est@blishment on Peterborough St. ‘‘It’s encouraging that other people are doing it as well, as long as they do it right,’’ MacKinnon said.
Other apartment developments have failed to get traction, including the Miro complex planned for Colombo St and the Crown-run Breathe urban village project opposite Latimer Square. Real estate agent Mark O’Loughlin of Harcourts, who is marketing West Kilmore and specialises in central city apartment developments, said demand was coming from younger owners or investors wanting ‘‘affordable’’ apartments, and ‘‘younger baby boomers’’ looking for a lifestyle.
There was very little demand for family apartments in the central city, he said. O’Loughlin said there seemed to be a recent groundswell of buyers looking at inner city apartments, and he had sold more in the past six months than at any time since the quakes.
This week contractors began the lengthy process of jet grouting the quakedamaged building’s foundations. They are using three grout machines that have been imported from Germany for the work, during which more than 1000 large concrete piles will be injected eight metres into the ground.
In the February 2011 earthquake the land beneath and around the Town Hall was severely damaged. Although the building itself fared relatively well, significant strengthening of its foundations is needed. Jet grouting has been identified as the most effective repair solution to address the land issues underneath the building.
‘‘Grout and water is injected into the ground at high velocity to create columns of soilcrete, which is soil cemented with grout. The columns will overlap and interlock to create an earthquake resistant underground wall of columns that will protect the building from soil movements,’’ said Project Manager Paul Youngman.
A total of 27,000 cubic metres of jet-grout concrete – which would fill 270 average family swimming pools, 37,500 bath tubs or 200 buses – will be used during the process.
A thick concrete slab will be laid over the concrete columns once the jet-grout work is complete, which will help to bring the Town Hall up to 100 per cent of New Building Standard.
Contractors have spent five months preparing the site for the jet-grouting work, which is expected to be completed in June next year. It is the first stage in the $127.5 million repair of the Town Hall.
Christchurch City Council anchor projects unit manager Liam Nolan said the restoration work would ensure the Town Hall could continue to be enjoyed by Christchurch residents for the next 50 years and beyond.
‘‘The Town Hall is one of the city’s most treasured civic and heritage buildings and this restoration work will ensure it is better and stronger than it was pre-earthquake. Starting on the Town Hall foundations marks the culmination of four years of work. This has included engineering assessments, going through a tender process and appointing a contractor to undertake the restoration work,’’ Nolan said.
‘‘By the time we’ve finished work on foundations, the ground underneath the building will be significantly stabilised, ensuring we can get on with the rest of the work needed to restore this building to a world-class facility that can be used for many years to come.’’ .
The restoration of the Town Hall, which also includes a significant upgrade and refurbishment of the facility, is due to be completed in 2018.
It’s considered the star performer of Christchurch’s anchor projects. And it has taken the gravity effect – of larger bodies attracting smaller ones around them – to make it work. The Innovation Precinct has several buildings taking shape around the corner of Tuam and High streets. While anchor tenants gear up to shift in, smaller operators are rushing to book space alongside them. As a result, an estimated 1500 office workers will be in the precinct by next year.
Broadly designed as part of the city’s 2012 blueprint, the precinct is intended to be a cluster of knowledge, software, electronics and other tech-type businesses. Mixed-use zoning rules mean cultural and educational groups and restaurants and bars can join them. Public spaces and laneways created by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) will intersect the precinct, making space for work and play.
The precinct got off the drawing board when Auckland developers Studio D4 spotted land around the old Lichfield Lanes complex, signed up Kathmandu and Vodafone as tenants, and got approval for two new buildings. It then handed the project onto southern-based developer Calder Stewart. Others have followed. Christchurch developer Peebles Group took on the wrecked McKenzie and Willis building opposite and is putting up two new buildings behind its heritage facade, and renovating another on the site.
The old ANZ Chambers site on the High-Lichfield corner has just been sold for development, and a new project is understood to be proposed for the Excelsior site opposite. Hospitality businesses have also taken the leap of faith. Tenants including Brick Farm and Dux Central have joined existing operator C1 in taking space in repaired buildings, while others such as Joe’s Garage have leased space in those still under construction. CBRE leasing agent Bonnie Stone said the precinct was filling a gap in the market. Rents and operating costs were lower there than in other parts of the rebuild.
Stone said the culture was attracting ‘‘smaller less-corporate businesses, and tech businesses who want to be near the likes of Vodafone and Wynyard’’. ‘‘It’s a slightly different model to what’s being built in other parts of the city centre. With the new and refurbished old buildings and cool spaces, it’s not like where the big accountants and law firms are going. ‘‘We want everyone to come back in, not just the big tenants, to create the lively city everyone wants.’’
Fellow agent Ryan Geddes, of Savills, said the precinct had ‘‘really good legs’’. ‘‘It just took off with the commitment with the bigger firms.’’ First finished will be the Kathmandu headquarters and the carpark building, complete with art display screens, next door. Both have March completion dates. The Vodafone building and the Cera courtyard alongside it will be ready in April, and the Wynyard precinct opposite will be finished about September.
Meanwhile, the Government and Canterbury Development Corporation’s GreenHouse incubator for fledgling information tech businesses has opened, alongside hospitality places. Studio D4 has one last development planned in the block – a new office building three or four storeys high. Also going in are the Information and Communications Technology Graduate School, and government agency Callaghan Innovation.
The opening of the precinct is likely to trigger occupation of upper High St, which has stayed fenced off since the quakes. Paul Naylor, co-owner of Studio D4, said it just took a few bold businesses to encourage others to commit to space in the precinct. ‘‘I don’t think any one wanted to be there all alone in a desert. But now there’s a lot happening and it’s looking great – by next year we are going to have a prime area. ‘‘People have rushed to it, it’s fantastic.’’