Kings Quarry could be a future suburb

5:00 AM Saturday June 3, 2017 True Commercial

The Auckland North quarry is awaiting a new owner to unearth its mineral wealth and potentially develop the area into a future suburb. Photo / Supplied

Kings Quarry on Auckland’s North Shore is being marketed for sale by Colliers International’s Business Sales and Capital Solutions team and the agency’s Auckland Managing Director Charles Cooper.

The quarry, on 167ha of freehold land in Wainui - between Kaukapakapa and fast-growing Silverdale - is in an area Auckland Council has prioritised for future urban expansion.

Colliers’ International Business Sales Director, Marcus Jacobson, says the site contains millions of tonnes of unquarried aggregate — a key construction material hotly in demand as Auckland’s rapid growth continues.

“This is an opportunity to buy a strategic asset with huge future development potential,” he says. “Aggregate is essential for building new roads, houses, suburbs, commercial developments and infrastructure projects.

“However, supply isn’t keeping up with demand as the number of quarries in the Auckland region gradually reduces, making Kings Quarry a sound business investment opportunity.”

Jacobson says infrastructure and construction companies regularly have to bring in aggregate from outside the region, notably from the Waikato and Northland.

“Long-distance haulage is an extremely inefficient and costly solution. The cost of transporting aggregate by truck doubles after the first 30km, then continues to rise.”

Aggregate supply

He says the fastest, most efficient and cost-effective way to boost Auckland’s local aggregate supply is to reinstate an existing asset like Kings Quarry.

“The site hasn’t been quarried since the 1990s, but maintains its special purpose quarry zoning under Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan. That will help to keep costs down and reduce delays for a company wanting to apply for resource consent to operate the quarry. By contrast, it can take about 10 years and a significant amount of capital to establish a new quarry.”

Cooper says the site offers excellent opportunities for long-term residential and commercial development.

“Auckland’s population is continuing to grow. In the next 30 years, the population is projected to increase to some 2.5 million people, necessitating the construction of an estimated 400,000 new homes by 2041 — much of that on undeveloped or brownfields land.”

Cooper notes Wainui is among the areas Auckland Council has identified for new residential development in its Future Urban Land Supply Strategy.

True Commercial - Kings Quarry and fleet of trucks in the 1970s - black and white.png

The quarry site at Wainui in the 1970s and its former staff and fleet of trucks. Photo / Supplied

In March, the Planning Committee recommended bringing forward Wainui East’s development, along with nearby Silverdale, Warkworth North and five other suburbs.

“Kings Quarry is clearly well positioned to benefit from Auckland’s growth,” he says. “Once its abundant aggregate supply is exhausted, the quarry is ideally positioned to be transformed into a new suburb in one of Auckland’s fastest-growing areas.”

Colliers International Business Sales Investment Manager, Pauras Rege, says a geotechnical analysis of the site was commissioned by the owners and carried out independently by Tonkin and Taylor.

It found the site contains an estimated maximum extractable mineral resource of tens of millions of tonnes.

“While planning rules and further refinement of the quarry’s design may impact the estimated volumes, it’s clear the site contains adequate resources to contribute significantly to Auckland’s growth,” Rege says.

Suitable for building

The Tonkin and Taylor analysis found the Albany Conglomerate in the area largely comprises a silty sand or sandy silt matrix and sub-rounded ‘clasts’ ranging in size from fine gravels to cobbles.

“Such aggregate resource is suitable for use in infrastructure and building projects,” Rege says.

“Historically, the quarry has produced roading metals, concrete mix, farm race mix, landscape products, fines for sub-base fill, and washed sand.”

At present, aggregate supply to Auckland’s northern areas is dominated by Winstone Aggregate’s nearby Flat Top Quarry in Wainui, as well as four other quarries in Warkworth, Wellsford and Matakana.

To the south, supply is dominated by three quarries — Stevenson’s quarry in Drury, Winstone’s quarry in Hunua, and the Brookby quarry in southeastern Auckland.

Rege says a Colliers International analysis — extrapolated from data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment — found Auckland’s demand for aggregate has outstripped total Auckland supply by 3.9 million tonnes on average each year over the last decade.

“It looks like Auckland’s shortfall has mostly been filled by quarries in Waikato and Northland,” he says.

The analysis suggests an average of about 45 per cent of Waikato’s annual aggregate production (2.8mtonnes) and 46 per cent of Northland’s annual production (1.1m tonnes) on average each year has likely been exported to Auckland over the last decade.

“That shows there is significant opportunity for a local operation to help reduce Auckland’s shortfall.”

Colliers International Business Sales Broker, Shelley May, says the Kings Quarry site has remained in family ownership since the land was first settled by Samuel and Mary King in 1860.

Dates from 1920s

“The first quarry was established by their son, Joseph Samuel King, in the 1920s,” May says.

“Together with his three sons — Samuel, Bill and Hector — Joseph Samuel King founded a bush clearing, bridge-building and road construction business, which drew on resources from the quarries.”

The company was incorporated in 1936, and expanded in 1968 with the purchase of its closest opposition — the Pebblebrook Quarry at 306 Pebblebrook Rd. The company further expanded with the purchase of an adjoining property in 1972.

May says the company continued to grow until the last remaining original shareholder, Hector King, sold two subsidiary companies to Winstone in 1975.

“The Kings retained ownership of the land, which was then leased to Winstone.”

Kings Quarry is not currently operational and the last commercial extraction from either of its two quarries was in 1995.

May says the sale of Kings Quarry is an opportunity to not only acquire quarrying rights, but the land itself.

“We’d urge prospective buyers to visit the site with us to get a sense of its huge potential.”