Yesterday, inside the stunning wharenui of the Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae at Unitec, the government announced it was purchasing 29 hectares of land from Unitec for a huge housing development as part of their Kiwibuild policy.
The Government has announced the first major development under its ambitious KiwiBuild programme with the purchase of 29 hectares of land for thousands of houses in Auckland.
The land at Unitec’s Mt Albert campus, just 9km from Auckland’s CBD, will be transferred from Unitec to the Crown with the intention of building a community of between 3000-4000 homes.
Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford says it’s an opportunity to build a whole new community around Unitec, and help address Auckland’s housing crisis.
“Too many Aucklanders are suffering because of the housing crisis. This Government will not sit around while children are living in cars and families are cramped into overcrowded housing. We need bold action to solve this.
“There will be a mix of affordable KiwiBuild homes for first homebuyers, public housing and open market houses.
“This is a beautiful and historic piece of land with natural features such as the Oakley Stream running through it. It’s close to education, employment and public transport. This new community will have open spaces, new parks and shops.
“We want to create a place for people to put down roots and to live, work, learn and play, for generations to come.
“We’re looking forward to working with the Iwi of the Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau collective on this development, consistent with the agreements in their Treaty settlement,” Phil Twfyord says.
Unitec Chairman, Dr Lee Mathias, says the introduction of new homes would create a vibrant space around the campus. The sale of surplus land freed up capital currently used for maintenance work and provided funding for the institute’s ongoing development.
“We have enjoyed this stunning campus for 30 years and it will be fantastic to open the space up to others who will make it their home, grow businesses, and create a community. All proceeds of this sale will support the delivery of our teaching and learning programmes,” Lee Mathias says.
The map below shows the land being purchased by the government.
The Unitec site is a fantastic place for housing and has excellent transport links. As Twyford said at the announcement, there is a rail station close by at one end (Mt Albert), light rail will be being built at the other with a station at Pt Chev, Carrington Rd is used by multiple frequent buses and there are already great cycleway connections with the Waterview Shared Path through the site and of course the Northwestern Cycleway at the northern end.
This development has been on the cards for some time with Unitec starting to discuss plans a few years ago. It will see them use the money from the sale to consolidate their facilities. It’s not clear at this stage if the government will just pick up the work Unitec were already doing of if they’ll start the master planning again. There has been some talk that this announcement is a re-announcement of an existing plan. To me, what it does do is to confirm that the development will actually happen and not be dribbled out over 30 years.
As mentioned earlier, this site has some great nearby transport links, one thing we do think should be considered to improve them even more is to build a bus only bridge from Gt North Rd to site, either near the new Alford St walking and cycling bridge or a little further north by Herdman St. Buses travelling along Gt North Rd could then pass right through the site, improving PT coverage, compared to passing through the no-mans land that is the Waterview interchange.
We look forward to seeing this development go ahead and to seeing what else the government have in store for building more homes in Auckland.