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Development update: April 2015

New projects are starting to pop up around Auckland, Christchurch and (to a lesser extent) the rest of the country at an amazing rate. There are plenty of new additions to the RCG Development Tracker this month – in residential alone, that includes Botanica Mt Eden, Anzac Lofts, Hemisphere Apartments, and Beach & Cavalli.

Apartments, and Albany

I’ve finally been able to shift Willis Bond’s apartment developments in Wynyard Quarter from “proposed” to “pre-sales” – they’ve now started selling units in two buildings, in an area that will eventually have 550-odd residences.

Construction has started at Albany’s Rose Garden Apartments, with a first stage of 200 apartments and eventually 800 or so. There are several other projects selling off the plans in the area, as well as cranes up and building underway on Library Lane, a short way from the Albany town centre.

It’s worth noting that there hasn’t been a single home completed in Albany’s town centre so far – there’s just a motel which was built around 15 years ago. Until now, Albany has been almost entirely retail focused, with more than 120,000 square metres of retail space. After our loss in the cricket, I’ll avoid any #mcgsobig comparisons and even the traditional rugby field comparison, but suffice to say that that’s a lot of shops. Albany is finally starting to get a residential element, and there could be several thousand people living there in a few years’ time.

I think us bloggers agree that Albany needs a rethink in terms of its pedestrian environment, especially now that it will have a sizeable residential population. We’ll write more about this soon.

As shown on the main Development Tracker page, there’s a lot of apartment construction underway. In Auckland, we’re giving building consents to around 2,000 new units a year, with many more being marketed and potentially kicking off during 2015.

Apt consents

Retirement villages

I’ve also been making an effort to bring the Development Tracker up to date for the retirement village sector. This is still a work in progress, as there has been a lot happening. As Matt has written previously, these villages are often great examples of density done well. With an aging population, expect to see a lot more of them in the years to come.

Offices

Things are also heating up in the office market. At Wynyard Quarter, Fonterra’s new headquarters are well underway, as is the other VXV Three building, and a new building for Datacom has just been announced. Mansons are plugging away at 151 Victoria St West, and are moving NZME (who publish the Herald, among other things) in there, freeing up their current four-hectare site for future development. The 1980s-era BNZ building is likely to be refurbished this year too.

There are a few things I find interesting about the recent office trends. Firstly, the lion’s share of new office space in Auckland is going in the city centre. There is a smattering in the inner suburbs – Parnell, Ponsonby, Newmarket – and a little further out, but generally most of that new employment is going to be in the middle of the city.

Offices AKL

Office projects across Auckland. We’re only showing developments of at least 5,000 sqm, so it’s not an entirely fair comparison, but there’s a definite city centre focus.

Secondly, the government’s employment-based target for the CRL looks as unrealistic as ever. It’s just not possible to create space for that many workers in a short time, given the long lead times in developing offices. At any rate, this target is a very poor way of measuring the need for the CRL, so good on the council for getting on with it in the face of intransigence from Wellington.

 

17 comments to Development update: April 2015

  • Trev

    Looks like rail patronage is tracking to the govt’s CRL target – surely the more relevant of the two.

  • Jacques

    there is no basis for either target though. I’d be keen to see the methodology they followed to come up with these criteria, and the numbers.

    • Tony

      Careful what you wish for.
      Myself, I’m not so keen to see them actually pull something out of their arse.

    • Imperial Advocacy League

      Well growth in rail patronage is a pretty good indicator of demand.

      City employment target is arse before hat tho. You can have the transport capacity you need to support job growth after you’ve proven you don’t need it!

      • What the random criteria miss is the ongoing rise in education, habitation, and hotel beds in the Central City. And all these uses create Transit demand. These are all people less and less likely to be using a car for short or medium length trips. Education is the biggest Transit user, people flying to Auckland don’t usually bring a car with them [and it seems we really don’t want them driving!], and most inner city apartment dwellers have little or no car access, or largely only use one for out of town journeys.

        The CRL hurdles are a silly game really, and one being played hard by MoT Auckland sadly. There is no sense in their reports of any big picture, just an attempt to frame the targets as not met. Despite the ridership one being surpassed and the employment one being physically impossible. And both being nowhere near the whole story.

        • Because of the extremely low office vacancy rates in Auckland CBD, the argument should be put to government for a target based on commitments to the construction of new office space. Developers require pre-commitments before new construction, which means there are employers with firm plans to move their employees into the new building. Employers normally work on 15 square meters of office space per CBD employee, so it will be easy to track progress toward the goal as office buildings are announced. The investors, developers and employers all assume that the net gain in office space is taken up by new employees. Why can’t a supposedly business-savvy government also make the same assumption ?

          The CBD Access Study used an employment number in 2008 of 120,000 in the city centre + fringe, plus 50,000 students. Employment numbers were expect to increase to 205,000 by 2041, and student numbers to 65,000. To achieve these growth rates requires a net employment growth of 2575 employees per year and a net growth of student numbers of 454 per year.

          http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/AboutCouncil/representativesbodies/MayorofAuckland/Documents/CCFAS1.pdf

          Apart from employment, education, and major events, most other PT useage doesn’t have the same peakiness to demand that would justify an investment such as the CRL.

  • Harvey Specter

    Back to Developments – the Ryman complex in Birkenhead (Verrans Corner actually) is gathering pace. I think it would have shocked a few locals/NIMBYs to see a 10+ story high construction crane erected on site – you dont see those in the Burbs.

  • Hey John how about a Key in the post so we can tell what the colours on the map mean?

    Smiley face.

  • J

    I had the opportunity to view the show apartment at Wynyard Quarter and see the prices. I was astounded. They are all very expensive and there is seemingly no provision for any affordable housing. I didn’t expect there to be anything for low income families but even young professional couples with no kids looking for a first ‘home’ will be hard pressed to afford it.
    Wynyard Central [no views,except other buildings] will be priced as follows:
    from $675,000 for 1 bedroom (including one car park)
    from $1.1 million for 2 bedrooms (including one car park)
    from $1.5 million for 3 bedrooms (including one car park)
    The apartments in the other block [facing Lighter Quay] are about double the price of those above.
    The agent from Willis Bond also seemed to think that there weren’t any more apartment blocks earmarked for Wynyard Quarter – if he’s correct then that’s a damned shame. It suggests that all the ‘prime’ north facing sea views will be reserved for six storey office blocks. IIRC that’s not what we were promised when this ‘Wynyard Quarter’ project was first mooted. I thought there was going to be a lot more apartments so the area would not go dead at 6pm.

    • Harvey Specter

      Do those prices include the lease prepaid for 150y?

      I thought there were more apartments to come (with WB having the first two complexes only)

      • J

        Yes they do, apparently, although I didn’t get a contract to look through the finer details. These purchase prices include ground rent prepaid for 125 years, which is great but [pardon my cynicism] history tells us there’s always a catch, right?
        Leasehold land periodicly comes back in favour before ‘the catch’ becomes common knowledge. The everyone swears off them. Then a decade later they come back again, but in a different form.

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