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.
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.
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.
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.