Government seeks North Shore build partner

4:52 PM Friday January 19, 2018 True Commercial

Home builder partners are being sought for five superlots of land in Northcote, on the North Shore. Photo / Supplied

Home builder partners keen to be involved in major government housing projects in Auckland are being sought for five superlots of land totalling 1.58ha in Northcote, on the North Shore.

Stage 1 of the government’s Northcote Development project, which commenced in September 2016, has focused on the construction of new state houses for Housing New Zealand. A total of 298 ageing dwellings are being replaced with around 400 new warm, dry, healthy homes.

In stage 2 of the project, HLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Housing New Zealand Corporation, has appointed Bayleys Real Estate to release the five superlots which range in size from 2572sq m to 3665sq m. Registrations of interest in purchasing and building on one or more of the lots are being sought, closing on February 16.

HLC chief executive Chris Aiken says a short list of potential home builder partners will be identified by March 2018 with the final selection made in April.

“Via the registration of interest process for these superlots, we are seeking interest from the market, not only in Northcote, but in HLC’s larger housing delivery programme, with the increased business volumes and scale available under the wider programme translating into more cost-effective and affordable house prices.”

Aiken says there is a requirement for 55 per cent of homes across the five superlots at Northcote to be “affordable”, defined as a maximum price of $600,000 for a terraced home and a maximum of $500,000 for apartments.

“We’re seeking home building partners committed to innovating in the delivery of affordable homes at scale and pace within the second stage of the masterplan for the government’s Northcote Development. Upon completion the project will provide around 1200 new homes close to the Northcote town centre over a six-year period.”

Gerald Rundle, Bayleys’ manager of corporate projects, says the Northcote Development masterplan provides the opportunity for over 165 homes to be built across the five superlots that the agency is marketing.

True Commercial - State housing under construction in Northcote.jpg

New state housing under construction in Northcote. Photo / Supplied

“Most of the land for sale has a Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings zoning under the Auckland Unitary Plan, which allows for the greatest density, height and scale of development of all the plan’s residential zones.

“It will mean buildings of five-to-six storeys can be developed on parts of the land for sale. This will be a significant change from the suburban development that has characterised Northcote but will enable more dwellings to be constructed in an area that is well suited to urban regeneration and residential intensification.

“Northcote is very well located, close to the Auckland CBD and other key workplaces such as Takapuna and the Wairau Valley. It has good, and improving, transport links, well-established schools, a high number of parks and reserves and easy access to the harbour.”

As well as much needed new, warm, dry, healthy homes, Aiken says the Northcote Development project which HLC is managing will provide improved infrastructure, new and rejuvenated public spaces and better and more frequent public transport links.

Auckland Council’s urban regeneration agency Panuku Development Auckland is co-ordinating renewal work in the Northcote town centre which will link with a new greenway following the Awataha stream. It will provide residents with a pedestrian and cycle-friendly path through their neighbourhood with a number of improved and new parks and open spaces connected to the greenway.

HLC was initially established in 2006 to develop the former Hobsonville Air Force base into a new township, Hobsonville Point. The Northcote Development is the first project to come out of HLC’s expanded role of enabling and delivering more housing across Auckland.

“This is the first of what will be a considerable pipeline of land releases to deliver new and more affordable homes to the Auckland market. As well as affordable options, most homes will be at or below Auckland’s medium house price,” says Aiken.

“Working alongside Housing New Zealand, we are seeking to rapidly increase the scale and delivery pace of replacement and additional state homes, affordable homes and general market supply. HLC is charged with the delivery or enablement of builder ready land for over 20,000 homes over the next 10-15 years.

“HLC believes that there is both a great opportunity and a need for change in construction methods and is actively seeking proposals that will disrupt the market and bring that change. The company also wants to see a step change in housing affordability, delivered via new approaches to design and building. Proposals that include partial or full off-site manufacture will be welcomed and keenly considered.

“HLC’s model is based on collaborative private/public sector partnerships. We will engage in more innovative ways than a conventional development parcel/land sales approach, including funding and risk-share if the circumstances warrant and it delivers the innovation, affordability, pace and scale that Auckland needs.”

Aiken says potential models for more affordable homes include shared equity and long-term tenancy options, as well as innovating around the types of homes and the intensity of the development.