Last large Albany greenfield site

5:00 AM Saturday March 14, 2015 Colin Taylor

The last greenfield development sites are for sale in the Albany commercial centre. Photo/Bruce Clarke

A big piece of land in Albany’s city centre is being marketed as “the last original greenfields development site” and is for sale along with four smaller nearby development blocks offering developers and investors a wide range of options in this fast expanding area of Auckland’s North Shore.  

Block A1 of 3.172 hectares zoned for Mixed Use at 98 McClymonts Rd “is the final piece of the estate available” through the original developer, says Bruce Whillans managing director of Ray White Commercial who is marketing the five development properties in conjunction with colleagues Kathy Ying and Blair Chandler. Tenders close on the big Block A1 on April 14.

The other four properties for sale through Ray White Commercial are: 10 Corinthian Drive with resource consent for a 77 unit apartment block and tenders closing on April 1; the Orchard Park Retail Centre at 21-25 Corinthian Drive which is for sale or lease by private treaty; and two land blocks designated C4 and C5 in Oteha Valley Rd that are also for sale by private treaty.  

“With its flexible zoning, the McClymonts Rd site presents investors with incredible scope to create a new landmark development on Auckland’s northern gateway. Block A1 is the only site in the estate that is not subject to a restrictive retail land use covenant which allows it to be developed as a shopping mall with associated department stores and supermarkets,”
Whillans says.

The site was granted land use consent in July 2009 to develop a multi-level 35,150 sq m bulk retail development, with provision for 2600 sq m of office space and 856 car parks and this consent runs out in 2019. Concept plans have also been drawn up for a multi-level apartment complex with resource consent still required.

Whillans says the site can accommodate offices, retail shops, entertainment facilities and high-rise apartments, with the latter being particularly relevant in the light of a critical shortage of new housing on the North Shore and throughout Auckland.

“With the site running alongside State Highway One, it gives any potential tenants huge exposure to passing traffic,” Whillans says.

The next biggest block of land in the portfolio is the 7645 sq m property at 10 Corinthian Drive which is for sale with a 600 sq m childcare centre licensed for 125 children on part of the site.

The childcare centre is under construction and comes with a new 12 year lease to operator Kids Cove Limited. The rental will be $325,000 with two yearly rent reviews to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus one per cent. The site also comes with resource consent for 77 residential apartments and six office suites.

Chandler, marketing agent with Ray White Commercial, says the vendor had completed the basement cuts for the apartment complex when the earthworks were undertaken for the childcare centre.

Nearby a 7266 sq m site at 21-25 Corinthian Drive, received land use consent in June last year for a new convenience retail centre.

The scheme is split between a main supermarket and two smaller retail blocks providing a mix of cafes, restaurants and retail. This resource consent provides a total gross floor area of 2016 square metres and 84 car parks, together with two separate vehicle accesses at Corinthian Drive and Data Way.

Chandler says retail centre is well placed to leverage off the nearby office and apartment development at Orchard Park which will provide a very local catchment of shoppers and workers when filled.

Blocks C4 and C5 in Oteha Valley Rd are respectively 4859 sq m and 5572 sq m each and are the last two sites in a block that has already been developed by Haydn Rollet.

Block C4 is on the corner of Cornerstone Drive and Kaipiho Lane while Block C5 is in Kaipiho Lane. Both are zoned 11D General Business, with a height limit of 20 metres allowing for large format retail, office and entertainment development.

“Under Auckland’s Proposed Unitary Plan both sites will be re-zoned Metropolitan Centre enabling a variety of development options including residential development, subject to meeting certain planning criteria,” Chandler says.

Josh Coburn, development manager for Haydn Rollet, says blocks C4 and C5 are among the last to undergo development. Surrounding land has sold to Restaurant Brands for a KFC and Carls Jr; to Chevron for a Caltex service station; and to other developers constructing a convenience retail complex.

“With new businesses locating to Albany every week, there are a wealth of employment and business opportunities and this is growing continually,” Coburn says.

Kathy Ying, head of Ray White Commercial’s Asian desk, says Albany has also proved popular for mainland Chinese investment money, with investors and developers purchasing a large number of development sites in recent years.

“With growth in parts of China’s residential and property investment market quite flat, there has been a surge of interest in New Zealand,” Ying says.

“Chinese people have an interest in land and residential development and they look at future urban growth before investing anywhere. Residential development is easy for them and this is where their focus in Albany has been.

“Many of them have children studying in Auckland and Albany is a high decile residential area with good quality schools and it also has Massey University, so Albany already has all the necessary infrastructure for new development to succeed.”

Ying says Albany is home to one of New Zealand’s largest shopping malls along with infrastructure developments that include an Olympic swimming pool which will open in 2016, a sports stadium and a concert venue. “Goodman Group and Progressive Enterprises also have developments planned and underway that are worth several hundred million dollars.

“The entire Albany estate is being developed into a mix of retail, office, residential and other commercial activities and is now home to major retailers including The Warehouse, Pak’nSave, and Mitre 10 Mega which are drawing from a catchment comprising some of the country’s wealthiest and fastest growing suburbs,” Ying says.

“This area, together with the adjacent Rodney District and Waitakere City is currently undergoing rapid population growth with an estimated 200,000 new residents forecast to live in here in the next 20 years. Once these five sites are sold, there will be nothing like them remaining in terms of development sites on the North Shore.”

Ying says further evidence of the area’s rapid growth was Auckland Transport’s decision in June 2012 to double the parking capacity of its Albany park and ride bus station to 1100 spaces in order to cope increased demand.

Bruce_Whillians&Kathy_Ying_TOGETHER.jpg

Kathy Ying, head of Ray White Commercial’s Asian desk (left), and Bruce Whillans, managing director of Ray White Commercial (right).