Mini-cities set to spring up on Super City’s fringes

Auckland is preparing for a new housing boom on the rural fringes of the city that will result in small towns like Warkworth, Pukekohe and Kumeu becoming mini cities. The city’s new Unitary Plan has prompted Auckland Council to lay out a new timetable for greenfield development costing $20 billion and, for the first time, a breakdown of infrastructure problems holding housing back. Today, the council’s planning committee will consider a report to allow for 120,000 new homes at six main locations in the north, north-west and south of the city. It is expected to be approved for public consultation between March 29 and April 18.

“It would be prohibitively expensive to invest in all future urban areas concurrently,” says an officers’ report about the need to provide transport, water, wastewater, stormwater, parks and community facilities over the 30-year-plan. Auckland needs about 400,000 new homes by 2041, many of which will be smaller townhouses and apartments built within the current urban footprint, close to public transport and existing amenities.

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The Unitary Plan has increased rural land for housing from 11,000ha to 15,000ha, including “live zoning” some land earmarked for urban development in the future. This has led Auckland Council to rethink the sequencing of land for housing. Factors, like the completion of the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway in 2021, have brought forward housing plans in Warkworth, and soil testing at Takanini has pushed back 5000 new homes.

Planning committee chairman Chris Darby said the plan made it feasible to build 120,000 new homes but to make it real it has to be funded, which is a challenge for council, central government and Aucklanders. Darby said the council had to grapple with huge infrastructure costs – some of which was budgeted for, but not all. One idea in Mayor Phil Goff’s first budget is to target new residential developments with higher rates to cover the council’s heavy infrastructure burden.

Borrowing more money is not an option because the council is already up against debt levels which could cost it its AA credit rating and higher repayments. The Government, a critic of Auckland Council’s land supply pipeline for new housing, last month announced plans for locally controlled urban development authorities(UDAs) with compulsory land acquisition powers and fast-tracked resource consent processes.

Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith said the goal was to ensure enough urban land is available for housing, saying the UDAs need the powers to assemble parcels of land, develop plans, reconfigure infrastructure and build housing.
Darby said there had never been a plan for new housing in “greenfield” areas like the latest council plan. It made the timing of new developments clearer to owners of rural land and infrastructure providers and “probably put a lid on quick buck land speculation”, he said.

The six main rural areas identified for new housing are Warkworth and Silverdale/Wainui/Dairy Flat in the north, Kumeu/Huapai/Riverhead in the north-west and Takanini/Puhinui, Drury/Opaheke/Hingaia and Pukekohe/Paerata in the south. About two-thirds of the new houses are planned in the north and north-west and one-third in the south. The council is also sequencing new housing at a number of rural and community settlements from Wellsford in the north to Glenbrook Beach in the south. Other settlements include Albany Village, Hatfields Beach, Helensville, Maraetai and Clarks Beach. Water and wastewater are the main constraints holding back more housing.

In Kumeu/Haupai where the council already has plans in place for 1400 new homes – but plans for a further 6600 homes have been pushed back until after 2028 – Rodney councillor Greg Sayers is calling for an immediate start to a structure plan to cope with the changes occurring. Otherwise, he said, developers could introduce private plan changes and override where schools and other key infrastructure should be located for the community. Sayers supports the idea of running diesel trains to Huapai, saying the community desperately want a train service as an alternative to “horrific” traffic on State Highway 16.

Auckland’s latest plan to turn rural land into housing

  • Auckland needs about 400,000 new homes by 2041
  • About 70 per cent will be in existing urban areas
  • About 30 per cent will be “greenfields”, essentially turning rural land into housing
  • The Unitary Plan has increased rural land for housing from 11,000ha to 15,000ha
  • This has led to a rethink about the sequencing of land for housing
  • Some areas have been brought forward, others put back
  • Council needs to spend $6.7b on transport, water, parks and other infrastructure in the first decade alone to fund this growth and another $13b over the next two decades
  • Capacity for 32,000 houses are currently in the pipeline, mostly in the north-west and south
  • This will be followed by capacity for 21,500 houses over the next decade and 70,000 more houses between 2028 and 2047
  • In addition to major development council is sequencing new housing in many small communities, from Hatfields Beach to Maraetai

Areas brought forward

Warkworth North
Wainui East
Silverdale(business)
Red Hills
Puhinui(business)
Wesley(Paerata)
Opaheke Drury
Drury South

Areas put back

Kumeu/Huapai/Riverhead
Whenuapai (stage 2)
Drury West (stage 2)
Puhinui (business)
Red Hills North
Warkworth North East
Takanini

What’s planned and needed in the way of infrastructure

  • Warkworth

2012-2017 – Warkworth North (business)
2018-2022 – Warkworth North( 2300 houses)
2028-2032 – Warkworth South (3700 houses)
2033-2037 – Warkworth Northeast (1500 houses)

A new wastewater plant needs to be built at Snells Beach to service development in Warkworth North. Expected to take five-to-six years. Later sequencing of Warkworth South provides for the efficient staging of wastewater infrastructure. The Puhoi to Warkworth motorway is due for completion in 2021 and associated upgrades of local roads align with the sequencing of Warkworth North. Warkworth North-East occurs later to allow connections to the town centre.

  • Wainui East/Silverdale/Dairy Flat

2012-2017 – Wainui East (4500 houses)
2018-2022 – Silverdale West/Dairy Flat (business)
2033-2037 – Silverdale/Dairy Flat (20,400 houses), Wainui East (7400 houses)

Interim water and wastewater solutions can provide capacity in the short-term to service the live zoned area at Wainui East where there is a cap of 2000 dwellings at the Special Housing Area. Sequencing of remaining areas reflects the need for significant water and wastewater infrastructure, including a new water main from Albany and additional wastewater capacity at Army Bay. The proposed business area in Silverdale-Dairy Flat has been brought forward to provide local jobs, address transport issues and structure planning for this area is likely occur in 2017-2018 to live zone some business land in the short-term.

  • Kumeu/Huapai/Riverhead/Whenuapai/Red Hills/Scott Point

2012-2017 – Kumeu/Huapai (1400 houses), Whenuapai (1150 houses), Scott Points (2600 houses), Red hills (10,650 houses)
2018-2022 – Whenuapai Stage 1 (6000 houses)
2028-2032 – Kumeu/Huapai/Riverhead (6600 houses), Whenuapai Stage 2 (11,600 houses), Red Hills North (1400 houses)

The sequencing of work in the north-west is dependent on completion of a new $538 million ‘Northern Interceptor’ wastewater pipe to handle growth in this area. Interim solutions can meet the wastewater needs for the live zoned area of Red hills and the first stage of Whenuapai until the Northern Interceptor is completed in about 2026. Kumeu, Huapai and Riverhead have been put back to align with safety and capacity issues on State Highway 16, and completion of the Northern Interceptor.

  • Takanini and Puhinui

2012-2017 – Walters Rd, Takanini (300 houses), Puhinui (business)
2028-2032 – Puhinui (business)
2038-2042 – Takanini (5000 houses)

The future urban zone is subject to significant flooding hazards and geotechnical constraints due to peat soils. Stormwater costs are high and further work is required to understand the viability of development in this area in the medium to long-term. It is proposed to put back development from 2027-2031 to 2038-2042.

  • Hingaia/Opaheke-Drury/Drury West

2012-2017 – Hingaia (3070 houses), Drury South (1000 houses), Bremner Rd, Drury West (1350 houses), Bellfield Rd, Opaheke (300 houses)
2018-2022 – Drury West Stage 1 (4200 houses)
2028-2032 – Drury West Stage 2 (5700 houses), Opaheke Drury (7900 houses)

Proposed interim solutions provide wastewater capacity for initial development in Hingaia, Drury West special housing area(now live zoned), Drury West Stage 1 and Drury South. In the longer term, augmentation of the South and Southwestern interceptors is required to provide wastewater capacity for the full build-out of these areas, including Drury West Stage 2 and Opaheke-Drury. The later sequencing of Drury West Stage 2 allows for a new expressway between Drury, Paerata and Pukekohe, needed to alleviate capacity and safety issues on State Highway 22. Opaheke-Drury has been brought forward slightly as a result of developer interest, but a solution is needed to flooding constraints in combination with the completion of wastewater infrastructure before comprehensive development can occur.

  • Paerata/Pukekohe

2012-2017 – Wesley, Paerata (4550 houses), Belmont, Pukekohe (720 houses)
2018-2022- Paerata (1800 houses), Pukekohe (7200 houses)

No infrastructure or sequencing considerations given in council report.

Smaller rural and community settlements

North

  • Wellsford

Further geotech testing required due to instability in some areas. A new water source will be required to service the Future Urban Zone areas. These areas will also require an upgrade to the wastewater plan, which is likely to take until the early 2020s.

  • Algies Bay

Upgrade to the wastewater outfall pipe is necessary to service new connections outside the existing service area.

  • Albany Village

Full build out of the Future Urban area will require new water services capacity and road upgrading.

  • Hatfields Beach

Wastewater upgrades are necessary to service new developments and likely to take until the early 2020s. With limited water supply, large scale development will require new transmission lines from Albany, which is likely to take 10 years following commencement of design.

North-West

  • Helensville

Further geotech investigation needed to manage slope stability issues and ensure effective drainage to overland flow paths and streams. The wastewater plant has recently been upgraded and can accommodate about 6000 people. This is sufficient for existing urban zoned areas and part of the Future Urban zone area. The Helensville State 1 areas is the closest Future Urban area to the wastewater plant. Watercare will monitor growth and review additional upgrade options when population nears the plant’s capacity.

South

  • Maraetai

The wastewater treatment plant will be upgraded as required in order to maintain discharge compliance and to accommodate growth.

  • Oruarangi

The area has sufficient water and wastewater capacity. Structure planning will need to take cultural heritage and landscape values into account, consistent with the Mangere Gateway Project.

  • Puhinui

The remaining Future Urban zone is not anticipated to be development ready until 2030 due to transport constraints and market readiness.

  • Clarks Beach

A new wastewater outfall at Clarks Beach will be required to service new development, subject to a sub-regional wastewater discharge consent which has been applied for.

  • Glenbrook Beach

New development will depend on the new Clarks Beach wastewater outfall, and structure planning for the new area to be developed as a gateway to the village.

Costs

2018-2028 – $6.7b(North $2b, North-West $2.2b, South $2.5b)
2029-2038 – $9.7b(North $3.5b, North-West $2.8b, South $3.4b)
2039-2048 – $3.3b(North $1.3b, North-West $700m, South $1.3b)

Source:

  • NZ Herald
  • Photo: Ted Baghurst
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Victoria Street Office Development

Take eight central Christchurch sites and about $100 million of investment and you will soon have enough new office space to cover three rugby fields.

It is no wonder local property developer Richard Diver has not had a chance for a summer holiday. He and Auckland company Clearwater Construction have joined forces to buy and develop Victoria St sites as part of the earthquake rebuild.

Six multi-storey office buildings are planned and another two have been saved from demolition and refurbished. The partners are negotiating to buy a ninth property on the street and were yesterday offered a 10th.

Construction is under way on a five-storey office and retail building on the corner of Victoria and Peterborough streets, with the others due to start over the next few months. Piles are going in 24 metres deep – the height of a seven or eight-storey building – on most of the sites.

The six new structures should be completed or under way by the end of the year, and in total the eight buildings will provide two hectares of office space.

‘‘We’ve got a city to rebuild. I couldn’t afford to take time off,’’ said Diver of his lack of a holiday.

‘‘I’ve got to keep going to get these buildings up.’’

The buy-up began after Diver replaced the Daily Bagel building he lost in the September 2010 quake with the new Carlton Butchery building. He decided to do more in Victoria St, attracted by the street’s culture of cafes, bars and shops, and the advantage of being outside the red-zone cordon.

‘‘We realised we wanted to be involved in the rebuild sooner rather than later,’’ he said. ‘‘We are gaining some really good traction. It’s good to have things moving and be creating so much employment.’’

He believed the tower crane on the Victoria St-Peterborough St site was the only one in the city putting something up, rather than taking something down.

The Diver-Clearwater partnership, known as Countrywide Property, uses mostly local workers. They have just bought an old Edgeware retirement home to house the out-oftown workers it will soon need.

  • The Press
  • Liz Mcdonald liz.mcdonald@press.co.nz

Investors plan retail centre

Three of Christchurch’s wealthiest and most influential business families have joined forces to have a leading role in shaping the new inner city shopping precinct.

Yesterday, Ballantynes, Philip Carter and Peter Guthrey showed a small part of their hand announcing they had formed the BCG Alliance, a formidable retailing and investor group proposing predominantly a retail and commercial office development over 25,000 square metres.

That is about 43 per cent of the total retail precinct footprint set out in the Christchurch Central Development Unit’s blueprint.

It’s the third retail plan for the retail precinct to go public and considerably larger in scale than the $200 million proposal unveiled on Thursday for another block close by.

There may have been more proposals submitted to CCDU by the Tuesday deadline, but CCDU is not revealing who or how many.

The BCG Alliance proposal is short on detail which is still being worked through and is likely to be released in a few weeks.

They have yet to reveal the total cost of the development.

‘‘Here are three Christchurch families who are really wanting to show leadership for the city, want to ensure an end result that is stunning, but to do that we totally believe collaboration is the key amongst it all,’’ Ballantynes managing director Mary Devine said.

‘‘So we don’t want to be big brother coming in and saying this is what we are all about, but we do want to create a vision that is exciting.’’

This week another group, which included investor Miles Middleton and construction manager Apollo Projects, unveiled a $200m, 8000sqm proposal for shops, offices and cafes and other hospitality for the block between City Mall, Lichfield St, Oxford Tce and Plymouth Lane.

Two other rival proposals for that block near the AvonRiver are understood to have been submitted to CCDU, each vying for support of about 13 landowners who make up the block.

The BCG Alliance area spreads from about halfway up City Mall on the Ballantynes side and across Colombo St to the block that extends to High St and through to Lichfield St.

The three families own the majority of the land. There are other landowners they are talking to.

Asked about outside investment partners, Carter said they were working as a tight investment unit and their proposal was evolving.

‘‘You’ve got three pretty strong families financially,’’ Carter said.

‘‘We do want to work with other landowners. What the final entity is still to be worked through,’’ Devine said. Guthrey Holdings owns land next to Ballantynes while Carter Group owns properties on the other side of Colombo St.

Devine said fortunately they did not have competing development proposals on their block and they were confident they were the key players over the land they owned.

‘‘The land is effectively controlled by this group either through ownership or partners working together, so we won’t have that issue,’’ Peter Guthrey said referring to the three rival plans on the block near the river.

BCG had a good relationship with CCDU and the council, Devine said.

‘‘It’s not about individual gain, it’s about an end product that everyone will be proud of.’’

BCG wanted to ‘‘drive the development of the central city retail precinct’’.

‘‘We see the centre of retail sitting either side of Colombo St,’’ Devine said. The urban design panel assembled to guide the new look of central Christchurch may be left to pick winners as developers fight over sites.

Eager to avoid piecemeal development, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) says projects must cover at least 7500sqm in the core retail zone, meaning property owners will have to work together.

The Press revealed yesterday that three proposals have been lodged with Cera for one City Mall site – the prime riverside block bordered by Cashel and Lichfield Sts, Oxford Tce and Plymouth Lane. None has the support of all 13 landowners in the block.

Owners and developers with interests in the block have said there is widespread confusion over what will happen next, and concern that some owners will hold projects to ransom by hiking prices.

Only merchant bank Ocean Partners and construction managers Apollo Projects have publicly released their design for the block, a $200 million precinct of offices, shops and hospitality outlets around a public square. A second plan was submitted by Westpac bank and developer Goodman Group, and a third came from Leighs Construction and architects the Buchan Group.

Cera ruled out identifying or commenting publicly on plans lodged voluntarily by developers with its Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU). However, a spokesman said the CCDU would meet developers next week with ‘‘feedback and guidance’’ but would not choose between them.

‘‘The CCDU is of the view that the strong interest in the retail precinct should be seen as a positive, not as a problem,’’ a Cera spokesman said.

Plans will then go to the Christchurch City Council for resource consent. Post-earthquake fast-tracking means projects will get the council’s tick if they fit Cera’s blueprint vision for the rebuild, but applicants need not at that stage own the land or have owners’ approval.

The council confirmed yesterday that it would not have the job of picking between competing projects.

It is understood that any dispute over sites would likely be decided by the urban design panel, which comprises the CCDU, the city council, and Ngai Tahu.

The Cera spokesman did not wish to discuss the ‘‘commercially sensitive’’ possibility of having to buy some properties to complete blocks.

The urban design panel, consisting of design experts and Resource Management Act commissioners, was set up at the time of the blueprint to guide the aesthetics of the central city rebuild.

Source:

  • The Press
  • Marta Steeman Business editor
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