Town centre could rise around new rail station

9:43 AM Saturday October 11, 2014 Colin Taylor

This 5.8ha block (in red border) could be the site of a new town centre.

One of the biggest remaining parcels of development land in metropolitan Auckland is being promoted for sale as offering a chance to master-plan and develop a big mixed-use project around a major suburban transport hub.

The 5.8ha block of Mt Wellington land is on 14 titles at 81-107 Jellicoe Rd, 127-131 and 143 Pilkington Rd.

Located 9km south-east of the Auckland CBD, the land is zoned Business 4 and has a zoning of Mixed Use Tamaki Sub Precinct A under the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

"The property is located within the Tamaki Edge Precinct, which has been given the thumbs-up for commercial, transportation and residential redevelopment by the central government and Auckland Council," says Peter Herdson of Colliers International who, with colleagues John Goddard and Jason Seymour, is marketing it for sale by private treaty closing at 4pm on November 6 unless it sells beforehand by negotiation.

Herdson says the brownfield site is used for commercial and industrial purposes and includes numerous older warehouse buildings, with various short-term leases producing net holding income of $1.13 million a year.

"It is estimated that this income could be readily increased to over $2 million a year, should investors elect to hold the property for the longer term," he says.

"However, the true potential of this big site is for New Zealand's largest master-planned 'transit-oriented development' [TOD] centred around a possible new railway station.

"This property's size and potential for development makes this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's extremely rare to be able to purchase a site of this size in metropolitan Auckland and particularly in the heart of New Zealand's largest urban renewal project.

"Tamaki is an area with great potential for regeneration and change which makes it highly attractive for developers. It has been recognised by both the Government and council which are working together to guide the growth and redevelopment of Tamaki over the next 25 years."

Indicative plans for Tamaki Station show ground floor retail and hospitality premises, with apartment-styled dwellings on upper levels. Townhouses and multi-level apartments arranged around parks and green spaces are envisaged over the balance of the site. There have also been preliminary discussions around the development of a new Tamaki railway station to further boost the site's connections to the wider Auckland region.

"It is envisaged to become a major transport hub with supporting retail, cafes, restaurants, key services and around 2000 higher-density homes," Herdson says.

The vendor is not a developer, he says. The-long term ownership structure of the property was never set up for the ultimate development of a transit-oriented development. "However, market demands and developer pressure indicate the time to take that next step is right now."

Goddard says a feasibility study has been carried out by Auckland Transport and the property's owner as the first step in a process for establishing the viability of a new railway station on the site.

"The impetus for this came from the owner's aspiration to enable the development of a mixed-use neighbourhood hub around a new station," he says.

"This would provide a further transport link to the Auckland CBD, while benefiting from Auckland Council's plan to significantly improve the bus and roading network immediately around the site."

Goddard says proposed zoning changes under the Unitary Plan make the site a most compelling opportunity for developers.

"The current owners have worked with Auckland Council to put in place proposed zoning changes that have effectively repositioned the property to a much higher-value end use than it can provide under its current zoning."

However, the proposed zoning under the Unitary Plan enables intensive mixed commercial and residential development on the land, retail of up to 4500sq m in combined gross floor area and height up to 16.5m.

"This increased planning flexibility afforded to the property opens up its potential uses significantly - handing the new owner multiple options to create a new, staged, mixed-use precinct that will become an attractive and convenient place to live near to shops, cafes and a vastly-improved transport infrastructure."