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.

Bus routes once the New Network is rolled out

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.

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151 comments

  1. Every time I see that aerial photo I think about how much land that cold house people is taken up by the Waterview Interchange.

  2. Won’t it be great to have affordable homes that close to town!

    There will have to be a lot of apartments to make up the home numbers. By comparison, Hobsonville Point is 4,500 homes over 143 ha – compared to 3,000+ homes on 29ha

  3. Also, if the 3000-4000 dwellings are built this will be a very dense development at ~12,000 per sq km… 29.3 hectares = 0.293 sq km (someone check my maths on that). Putting it between Westminster and Tokyo from Stephen’s density series a few weeks back.

    1. Yep some of the most expensive real estate in the world like Manhattan and chelsie is a slum according to mike.

    2. Mike doesn’t seem to understand that we are not all like him. Some people can’t afford or don’t want 300m2 of land.

    3. Mike Hosking and his opinions are a waste of publishing time. Another reason why I unfollowed the Herald in my facebook newsfeed

      1. A lot of people agree with him unfortunately. I would guess 25% of the population at least. Mostly older, whiter, wealthier people. Hence why he has the platform in the first place. He wouldn’t have a job if a lot of people didn’t listen to him.

        1. I am older, white and relatively not poor (home-owner) – I strongly object to your insult.
          He is an instant off-switch for me however my younger multiple generation PI family without having any pro-MH feelings are more tolerant and allow him to pontificate on TV without reaching for the TV control (is he still on TV?).
          Fortunately he is irrelevant to a sane post about housing.

    4. Mike Hosking is a National Party fan boy and their un-official spokes person. He is against Kiwibuild and manufactured prefabricated dwellings. Apparently, he supports the traditional ‘hammer n nail’ construction the longer and more expensive way of solving Auckland’s dwelling crisis.

      I support Kiwibuild, as it is a long term government project and the concept of using manufactured prefabrication construction.

      1. Agreed: prefabrication is so obvious that it shouldn’t need comment.
        Usually I’m not in favour of government ownership since I’m old enough to remember British Telecom and other privatised businesses – but the problem is not who owns but is it a competitive market. However after many years of no Kiwibuild and being surrounded by some solid state housing dating back half a century it does seem a sensible idea if not actually original. Whatever your politics it is worth giving it a try.
        The essential aspect is commitment to continual building in the future – our current lack of housing is related to the last recession in 2008; building houses stopped and our best builders went abroad or changed careers. A recession will happen sometime; maybe soon, maybe not but it is essential we keep building come what may.

  4. And Mathew Hooton on RNZ this morning said the density of 4000 households per 29.3 Ha = 136 households per hectare is Hong Kong density. This needs to be retracted because, if it is Hong Kong density, it includes all the parks and unbuilt areas. Another Greater Auckland post suggest 100hh/ha is just 2 and 3 stories so with a few 4 story apartments, 136hh/ha seems pretty much what we should be aiming for on a site like this.

    1. Yeah Hooten was borderline foaming at the mouth on this one which is what made me want to look into it. He knows next to nothing about housing or transport.

      1. Hooton has previously gone public with the comment that “not one single home will be built under KiwiBuild” so I’m not surprised he’s apoplectic

    2. Ideally a few high rise apartments towers with ground floor as bus stop, cafes, supermarket, service and retail.

      Further out we should get 3-6 storeys mid density apartments / Terrance house.

      For this mixed ownership model, we could built private luxury penthouse on the apartment top floors. The mid floors / north facing would be affordable private and rent-to-own, and lower floors / south facing for social and emergency units.

      The 6 storeys mid-rise blocks would have the top 3 floors as family Terrance houses, the bottom 2 floors would be 2 bedrooms and studios, the first floor can be use for retirement units and retail.

      1. After living in the East End of London where they were moving away from tower blocks in communal parks (concrete playgrounds) to narrow 2 and 3 storey terraced houses with micro-gardens I suspect the latter is better. Tower block living can be isolating. I never measured it but the house I used to occupy in Spitalfields (2 storey) was maybe 40sm footprint with three very small bedrooms. The garden was an exceptionally generous maybe 50sm but that was one of the largest. Great place to live although a knowledge of Bengali and Somali would have been a bonus.
        However there is plenty of building needed in Auckland – they can build both your dream and mine and then see which is cheaper to build and more popular with occupants.

  5. Huge win for the precious Sanctuary Garden there which will now be protected and utilised as a touchstone of the design. Wonderful!

  6. Rumour has it that the Light Rail is being back pedalled. Northwestern will be busway, with western end first (and a few years away). AT will hate this Unitec development, they’ve already had their hand out for significant infrastructure improvements for the last development iteration. I’m looking forward to seeing how Govt can get around the consenting issues for this. Direct referral to EC only option.

    1. Would be a shame if LRT was mothballed. A Busway is fine in principle, I just think it won’t be very long till its at capacity and the move to LRT is necessary.

      But it wouldn’t be NZ if we didn’t do a [email protected] job, half a day late, then spend twice as much fixing it later.

    2. That would be a significant climb-down from what has been promised, but it would fit the theme of this Government so far.

    3. Twyford was on National Radio this morning, talking as if NW light rail was still happening within 10 years and suggesting an announcement of some sort in a few months. Presumably via the GPS or ATAP.

      1. Yep that is my understanding as well. The GPS is due in the next couple of months and the ATAP had to be amended after the change in Government – I know Phil Twyford is a big fan of light rail so I think this will be his legacy for the city (one of many by the looks of it).

    4. The light rail was always going to be a programme that started with some bus stations and improvements tied into the existing bus lanes. That is stage 1 of a ten year LRT development. Starting with that isn’t a backpedal, it’s exacty what the business case said it should be.

        1. And who says they aren’t delivering that? All I’m hearing is that the first stage is bus upgrades on the northwestern, which is exactly the first stage of the LRT programme developed by AT before the election. You start with a couple of interchange stations and get the bus service running well before building the main corridor. THat’s the same whether it is BRT or LRT, and precisely what they did with the Northern busway. It ran for four years with only two stations and some shoulder lanes while the rest was being built.

          The alternative to interim bus upgrades while LRT is being built is doing nothing for ten years while the LRT is being built.

  7. One of the cutest things I’ve ever read in a traffic impact report was for the previous Wairaka design for this site, which said that the increase in traffic due to the development will be fine because the Waterview Connection will take traffic off Carrington Rd:

    “one of the major effects of the new State Highway 16-State Highway 20 motorway will be a strong reduction of traffic on Carrington Road from 2017 onwards… This potentially available capacity, on the order of some 600-800 vehicles per peak hour even in the more conservative scenario (30%), will be important to accommodate the new residents and employees who will still drive cars despite improved transport choices”

    And the design then proceeded to include private garages for each residence. Whether the old design or the new design, putting these homes here will mean residents can be connected with PT. That’s a lot of people not having to commute through the rest of the city from sprawling suburbs on the outskirts where PT isn’t viable.

    My big hope is that the new design will not provide private garages; rather there will be car share spaces, maybe one per 10 homes? And that the excellent PT in the area is improved with this design.

    1. “And the design then proceeded to include private garages for each residence”

      If you read the parking section of the report you will see thats not correct. In fact, for apartments it proposed much reduced car parking.

      1. Tried to find that, thanks. I found “Site parking for new uses – the new development will have a level of parking constraint. Average parking for residential uses is intended to be 1.3 car parks per dwelling or less (with 0.2 car parks or less per student dwelling).” My impression of a garage per dwelling that I took home from a presentation doesn’t seem too far off. In fact, once you take out the student accommodation, the number of parks per dwelling must be higher than 1.3…

        Having said that, I think the development was OK as it was. Way better than greenfields. This new one has the potential to be focused around PT instead of the car.

    1. Point Chevalier is right next to the Northwestern Motorway where there are plans for a RTN service. Light rail is more preferable than buses

  8. Report after report has called for better pedestrian connectivity over the NW motorway. What’s there is abysmal. Pt Chev will be the logical shopping centre for this development. Council, now’s your chance to do what both your experts and the community have asked for: new pedestrian overbridges, connection between Unitec and Pt Chev and between Chamberlain Park and Pt Chev, clip-ons to the current bridge…

    1. Would it make sense to now push for a light-rail / bus / cycleway interchange on & under the Carrington Rd bridge?

      With 4000 new homes, 12,000 new residents?, an interchange hub here could connect both SH16 & 20 (with stops for Buses heading South on the M’way, or light rail using SH16), as well as Great North Rd, (with the double decker buses) so seems a strong contender for a major mass transit connection node.

      Point Chev has no onramp to SH20, so prioritising PT connection to SH20 within this hub would reduce need for private vehicle ownership in this area.

      1. Yes, and cycling connection for these kids to get to all their schools – notably Avondale College – is imperative.

      2. Surely more than 12,000. If students then 4 or 5 to a small place is common on Hobson st, if state housing then families have priority so expect and average couple of kids. Only way it will average 3 per dwelling is either plenty of one bedroom apartments or posh home owner properties (selling for about $1m).

  9. Hobsonville Point is like 4000 homes over 150 odd hectares which is fairly dense by Auckland standards.
    This is 29 hectares with 4000 homes? It will have to be a whole bunch of 10 story apartment blocks wouldn’t it?

    And such density in the middle of “nowhere” as well. Cut off on two sides by major roads. No mall/supermarket in walking distance. No outstanding colleges nearby. You will still need a car to survive living here, so even if the home doesn’t come with a garage you will have streets full of cars parked illegally like at Stonefields. The only saving grace is ok access to PT/the motorway and cycleways. This will only appeal to a small group of people and to those desperate to get onto the housing ladder.

    It will be cheaply done to meet an affordable price, at first it will be great because its new. Lots of first home owners with small families keeping things maintained. Then inevitably, first home buyers will eventually sell up and move out to upsize to fit their family or whatever. Eventually it will mostly be owned by landlords who will come in and stick any random poor student renters in there. The body corporates will be an absolute nightmare to get anything done. Things will go downhill fast, just like a lot of the apartment blocks in the city with too many landlords and not enough owner-occupiers.

    It could turn out ok and I’d love to be proven wrong, but I’m loathe to say I’m going to agree with Hosking on this one. In all likelihood in 15 years, this development will be a dump. Maybe not a ghetto because rents will still be crazy expensive, but it will be a dump because of how it will be probably not be maintained and the types of renters you will end up with.

    1. You appear to be making a couple of key assumptions. One is that no retail will appear either within this development or immediately around it, the other is that housing supply will continue to be so constrained that landlords will be able to get away without maintenance.

    2. BOO-URNS!!!
      What you’ve described
      “This will only appeal to a small group of people and to those desperate to get onto the housing ladder. It will be cheaply done to meet an affordable price, at first it will be great because its new. Lots of first home owners with small families keeping things maintained. Then inevitably, first home buyers will eventually sell up and move out to upsize to fit their family or whatever”

      Isn’t this exactly what Auckland needs and is crying out for?!?! And who cares what they are being used for in 10 years, are you moaning and groaning about Flat Bush, and what the 7-8 bedroom mansions are going to be used for in 10 years?

      And i’d hardly call 500-600k affordable anyways, but hopefully that then pushes down the price of the older 2-3 bedroom houses elsewhere that are up around that price, and may make them ‘affordable’ first homes.

    3. This is being done at the same price and in the same way as the current Axis series; there is precisely nothing new about this approach. However it is significantly more expensive than what Labour had promised for terrace house prices in the run up to the election.

      1. Yeah, but the density means vertical construction. That’ll put it out of Axis territory. The govt is going to have to get real smart and overcome some big labour and materials constraints to get this to work.

        1. Axis homes are on a surprisingly large amount of land, IIRC it’s almost 300m² per house. If nothing stupid happens when laying out a subdivision, that ought to be enough for most people — you can easiy fit 2 parking spaces up front, then a townhouse, and a decent garden in the back.

          1. None of the recent (last 12 months) Axis Homes have had anywhere near that much land; maybe in the early days but the current ballots are mostly apartments with the odd terraced house.

          2. It was 2 years ago, in Hobsonville point. The figure I noted was 260 m² of land, with a single storey house. I can’t find the exact plans anymore, current plans are indeed smaller.

          3. I’ve been in the Axis ballots for the last year, I can assure you there has been nothing over 140sqm for the last 12 months.

        2. There are apartments under the Axis programme. The price range for Kiwibuild apartments were $350K according to Arden; what’s been proposed (so far) for Kiwibuild here is terraced homes at $500K – $600K.

    4. “You will still need a car to survive living here”

      Its on about four major bus services within 500m walking distance, maximum, from any part of the site, about 1km from a train station… under your logic, the only part of Auckland where people then, can “survive” without cars, is the CBD. Maybe ask Mike “Maserati” Hosking for a pundit subcontract…

      1. Hosking is mostly delusional and National would do it worse by not doing anything at all like the last 10 years.

        But I’m not joking unfortunately. I totally agree we need to build more houses and increase density and give people different options. Something is better than nothing. A small apartment is better than a camper van or tent. I’m just outlining the worst case scenario. I’m looking at the long term picture of owner occupiers vs landlords.

        Politically
        Labour needs to deliver on what it promised in order to get a 2nd term, but what they do now in a hurry won’t matter to them in 15 years. They want to cut the ribbon right before election.

        Logistics and Fiscal prudence
        The government will have to pay someone else to build in a market that has a shortage of builders. Big companies are scared off by building risks. Labour will be under pressure to spend more than needed in order to get it done quicker. This isn’t good use of taxes. Alternatively, they will just deliver fewer homes than expected. The government cant magically make builders appear or get cheaper building materials out of the building supply duopoly. This will all add costs that will have to be recovered or subsidised.

        Quality
        They will try and cut costs to deliver “affordable” homes and this will likely be lower quality builds.They might be fine to live in, but may not age well. Nothing wrong with that, but just may not be very attractive long term for owner occupiers.

        Location
        IF it is high density apartment blocks of several stories (4000 homes in 29 hectares), I dont think it is a great location because it isn’t right next to a train station. If it is just a bunch of terrace housing, it might work out ok.

        Look at Stonfields. That is only 2.5km from Panmure station and PT uptake is abysmal. The shuttle from stonefields to GI/Panmure stations had no one using it. The place is full of cars parked all over the place.

        Walkability
        “Walkable” is different for different people. I won’t walk more than a km carrying a bunch of shopping bags in the rain. Of course some people may not mind that. Both supermarkets may be 1.5km away. See Stonefields, similar problem. Technically walkable, but no one does. I could take a bike though. Like I said, good cycleway access is a huge plus here.

        Education
        Avondale College is average. Not bad, not great. People won’t move to the area because of Avondale College. If it were right next to a highly regarded college it would create a very attractive proposition for families to live there long term. In this case you have Unitec. You are more likely to get students wanting to live in the area willing to pay a premium for it.

        PT
        PT access is great. No doubt about that. The train station isn’t too far and you do have nearby bus routes. The thing is, PT in Auckland is good for commuting if you live/work near stations, but PT is still not at a level where you can get by without a car on the weekends. I wouldn’t even be able to visit half my friends if I lived there without a car. Unless I want to spend half my day on the bus and walking.

        Parking
        Leading on from that, Assuming high density with minimal parking provisions, there will be lots of cars in the area. Cars blocking roads all the time. Cars in driveways, on the footpath etc. Just like Stonefields right now.

        Large Apartment blocks ownership in the long term.
        If lots of terrace housing this should be ok, but I already pointed out the problem if you have large blocks with a body corp. This has happened in several older blocks in the CBD. Initially with all owner occupiers it should be manageable. After 10 years, many first home buyers will want to eventually sell up to move to some other location for whatever reason. Over time landlords will take over because they will have the equity to outbid other first home buyers. We see this all the time. It gets really hard to manage a building when half the owners can’t be contacted overseas.

        The locations is great for Unitec student rentals. Thank-you Labour for increasing student allowance so landlords can up the rent and capture all that tax money. Imagine an apartment block of mostly uni students. Lots of fun. All the time. All through the night. Out on the street. Great if you are a student. Not so much if you have work in the morning or a young family. Think long term on who will likely own those buildings in the future and who will live in the area.

        Having said all this, I’m sure plenty of people will be lining up to buy one of these new homes. I’ll admit that I will be looking at this closely at helping my sibling buy their first home here as a good future rental for unitec students. Tax free capital gains are great for building equity to buy more houses. Thank-you Labour for ruling out doing anything about that.

    5. Jezza, yes lots of gross generalisations and assumptions, but generally speaking, most evidence points to bad outcomes. I expect the worst and am pleased when proven wrong.

      Anthony, who cares what happens in 10 years? Are you serious? If apartment blocks, they will be around for decades.

      1. In 10 years time, if they are being used to house people then 100% I don’t care. There is a need to build more, if these make homes more affordable for more people then thats a good thing. Not everyone will have to or want to live there, but that doesn’t matter, some people don’t have much of any choice at the moment.

        1. Fair point. I suppose it is better than doing nothing, as long as it doesn’t waste too much of my taxes subsiding first home owners and future landlords.

          1. Agree, these houses should be sold at market value, the purpose should be to increase housing supply, not give some lucky winner of a ballot a discounted house.

          2. Yes. And the other issue is with social housing. Anything built by Labour tends to be sold off by National at reduced rates. That’s my one issue with social housing.

          3. Yes 100% agree, the Govt should keep a large stock in with Housing NZ for tenants, plus sell others for market rates. Hopefully the market rate is around the 500-600k price range, as that will hopefully drop the value of the older 2-3 bedroom places that are currently up in that price range.

    6. “No mall/supermarket in walking distance”

      Wait – there are two:
      Pak N Save Mt Albert
      Countdown Point Chevalier

      1. Yes, that’s why I think he’s joking. Avondale College is pretty well regarded. You can walk or cycle to the beach, library, Western Springs Park, the Zoo, Chamberlain Park, you’re right next to the cycleway. On site is Auckland’s oldest food forest, an extensive community garden and a beautiful stream. Next door is Unitec. I mean… I’d live there.

        1. For the first time I’ve read something that gives me a twinge to move from bountiful Birkdale. My knowledge of the area is rather slight but everything you say is true. Heidi, I suggest you get the job of being the public relations face for this development

          1. Ha! Like they’d take me. But let me add more, Bob: walk also to Motat, the new Waterview Park with its magnificent playground and skatepark, a short bus or cycle trip to Avondale for the fantastic farmers’ market, the Auckland Jazz and Blues club at the Pt Chev RSA and Aotea Youth Symphony at Selwyn Village, TAPAC theatre but Unitec itself has enough going on you’d probaby just waltz next door for that. Shall I go on to the sports clubs: golf at Chamberlain Park, archery up in Owairaka, rowing on the Whau River, NZ’s biggest soccer club at Western Springs, sailing, paddle boarding, league, tennis, bowling, croquet at Pt Chev, … I think it’s the nicest part of town, to tell the truth… well, next to Birkenhead, of course. 🙂 (And I haven’t even mentioned the secret spots.)

          2. Maybe Bob could request they paint the buses. I forgot to say, too, that we have wonderful politics. Great progressive local board and local MPs – all sides of the political spectrum are aware, thoughtful, approachable. I’m looking forward to you moving over here, Bob. 🙂

          3. Thanks for the invite. I feel queasy crossing the bridge travelling south into a foreign land. It is the colour of my local bus that calms me – OK it is hard to see the colour from the inside but Birkenhead buses have a touch of magic inside and out (I still curse AT for that paint job everytime I see it and having passed that transport Mecca: Verran corner bus depot yesterday it was plenty of curses).

    7. I wouldn’t go as far as agreeing with Hoskins, but after living in the CBD for a while I’m somewhat cautious.

      This had better go well — With Victoria Quarter we already got one really poor showcase of what high density looks like.

      Not survivable without a car — unlikely, this area appears well-connected by public transport. And most likely there will be retail on-site. Not having at least some basic things like a supermarket would be silly. The last sentence in the quote mentions businesses.

    8. Ari – You sound like Mike Hosking who believes that any high density dwellings will be ghettos unless it is has been initiated by the National Party like the bland Hobsonville Point Project which started to be affordable housing is almost un-affordable housing.

  10. Good to have more supply, very much welcomed. There’s 3,000 houses going in Massey over the next six years without even so much as an extra bus service and we’re still none-the-wiser about LRT on SH16. The road and motorway is already backed up in peak. If this is the blue-print for future development then so be it, but the extra services can’t be limited to the Labour-voting inner city areas when other parts of Auckland are shouldering a significant part of the development burden in future years.

  11. I really hope this will be mainly tower blocks or smaller multi-flash buildings and not standalone houses. We just don’t have enough free land in Auckland to waste.

    1. I made an earlier comment about the small size of a 2 storey terraced house that I lived in years ago in East End of London. Out of curiosity I searched for one on sale and found http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-63473281.html
      I was surprised to find it was smaller than I remembered; see the floorplan – under 36sm ground floor. I can assure you it was a pleasure to live in despite a very poor build quality and it was a Kiwi lodger who eventually triggered my immigration into NZ. Although there was a car park in front of the house there never was a need to get a car.
      Finally check that price! The word ‘obscene’ is too weak and I can’t think of another. I bought in 1990 for 70,000 UKP and sold in 2003 (without a refitted kitchen or double glazing, etc) for 220,000 UKP.

      If it was my project this is what I would build.

      1. There is something about English terrace houses – at least the ones I visited – that made me feel claustraphobic. Because they were small, everything in them was small. Corridors, stairways, doorways, bathrooms, furniture. It’s like they were built for little people. What do you do with a 6’3 thirteen year old in a house like that? I dislike big houses, but I hope in our small houses we can be generous with dimensions even if there are fewer rooms…

        1. Have you been to Amsterdam? Bigger people smaller houses. Some of the stairs would be highly illegal in our building code yet they cope well

  12. Great news. Will make the area better. It is close to everything by foot, except the lazy 10 minute bike to CBD, Local beach, local park. Go for 10 story … easy!

  13. The article over at interest.co.nz on this includes the same topographical survey and aerial photo as in this article but also includes a “Housing plan” – what appears to be an artists impression overlaying the aerial photo. This shows large swathes of green space remaining (with suspiciously well established trees) and an array of small grey rectangles about the expected size and spacing of houses. However, counting these small grey rectangles returns a count of 300 – 400 not 3000 – 4000. They don’t give the appearance of being multi-story either but perhaps the plan calls for 300 – 400 10 story mini-apartment blocks?

    1. Most of the trees on that site were scheduled so can’t be cut down. They might be “suspiciously large” but having walked or cycled through there plenty of times, I can confirm that they are quite large. Unlike Hobsonville or Stonefields where planting is being done from scratch, there are plenty of established trees here.

    2. I think the plan is an old one as included housing on now protected gardens and laundry. For 3000 homes will certainly need some towers or blocks full of studios which should be good for students etc. particularly if going to include all those parks shops and a school.
      My main concern is even more traffic through Pt Chev to city as no access to SH1 city bound or SH20 without going to St Lukes. St.
      Otherwise great place for development.

    3. The master plan you’re looking at is an old one – likely the illustrative plan that was drawn by Oculus (a Sydney firm) in 2015. It didn’t make the most of the unitary plan zoning over the site, which is largely THAB (terrace housing) and Mixed Use, both of which allow buildings up to 5/6 storeys and a density of over 100 dwellings per hectare. My prediction is that they complete re-haul the master plan because the old one doesn’t achieve the numbers the govt is aiming for.

    1. According to the “Housing Plan” on the interest.co.nz article the original hospital building in the NE corner of the site stays, the later additional wings get bowled.

      But see my previous comment for a bit of skepticism as to whether that particular image is accurate or just an “artist’s impression” that doesn’t share the same laws of physics as the real world.

    2. Read somewhere that it’s a listed Heritage building and will be turned into luxury apartments because not suitable for lower cost housing.

      Bigger question is whether the Mason clinic and the Laundry stay, can’t imagine having either of those as neighbours would be desirable

          1. It certainly has some bad history. Maybe they could run tours.

            “Over here folks is where we used to electrocute people for having a mental illness. If they made too much noise we hit them with a huge voltage and after that they were very quiet.”

            “And in this next room is the Whare Paia where Titewhai and her kin beat the crap out of a dude for having an illness. It didn’t make him any better but it was all culturally safe and probably no worse than an electric shock.”

          2. Maybe I have already graduated from there and have a certificate saying I am now sane (endorsed mostly).

      1. The mason Clinic is definitely staying – DHB has rights over that land well into the future and it’s the only facility of its kind in central Auckland. Taylor’s laundry will also probably stay unless they choose to leave.

  14. It is excellent and I am so happy something is FINALLY being started to address the housing problems. Listening to snotty old Judith’s mock outage means it must be good.

    I hope that the intensity is not such that it has the potential to end up a slum but managed properly I am sure that can be avoided as I don’t know how you get 3-4000 homes in that space, but having said that, I am no expert in this field.

    And please, set this up in such a way that it forever denies investors the opportunity to “invest”, aka buy up stock for their portfolio’s, or will be a pointless exercise!

    1. This is exactly what National were doing: Balloted houses in the $500k – $600k range. Hopefully it means there will be far more of them, but it’s still more expensive than what the Kiwibuild election policy promised.

      1. National were never doing a whole lot, nor were they ever going to.

        Scared to intervene in their beloved market lest the investors who voted for them got pissy, not to mention their many MP investors, leaving the overseas investors area so opaque no one really knew what influence they had, clueless in doing anything meaningful but have Nick Smith poncing about the place pretending he was doing something. The ineptitude and bullshit theatre would have been laughable were it not for families living in cars.

        Their appearances for appearances sake and fiddling whilst Rome burned policy hoping the story would move on was an epic failure!

        Recall their billboard in Hobson Street, “Delivering for New Zealand etc? It summed up their housing policy in thick irony!
        http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/election/2017/09/homeless-sleeping-under-national-billboard-at-city-mission.html

        1. Hi. You might want to look into how many Labour MPs have rentals. The unfortunate reality is they did more than Labour did from 1999 to 2008 when the only thing that slowed down price rises was the GFC; that’s not to was anywhere near enough, but some people would have you believe house prices suddenly took off in November 2008. To his credit, Twyford himself says he regrets not doing more and now appears to be trying to walk the talk.

    2. “I hope that the intensity is not such that it has the potential to end up a slum but managed properly I am sure that can be avoided as I don’t know how you get 3-4000 homes in that space, but having said that, I am no expert in this field.”

      Why would they end up as slums? The city centre hasn’t. All of inner Paris hasn’t?

      There are lots of ways to pack far more people than the 13,000 per sq km proposed here:
      https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2018/mar/22/most-densely-populated-square-kilometres-europe-mapped

  15. I saw that Mr. Twyford thinks he knows better than the private sector in building housing just like his colleague thinks he knows how to run an airline. Given the government’s track record I am not going to hold my breath.

    What I have read on this blog over the years has convinced me that we need to remove building restrictions and streamline the consent process and let their be an actual free market for once. I would rather see a private company develop this as they will bear the risk. As such the private company will build to what they think the market wants rather than a centrally planned idea of they should have.

    I need a lot more detail on the process before I can see this as a good thing.

      1. You are joking if you think we have a free market for building houses! Almost every hurdle you can possibly imagine is shoved in front of developers by council / government. In most desirable locations you are not allowed to build because some council do gooder thinks it will ruin the environment / character / view shafts / heritage / traffic / etc.

        1. Look that sort of thinking isn’t welcome here. Just scream ‘eat the rich’ into this megaphone and you’ll fit in.

          In all seriousness, I’m curious as to what possibly makes people think we have a ‘free’ market.

    1. Guess Mr Twyford has long since given up holding his breath waiting on the market delivering Adrian. Like most of us!

    2. Why not scrutinise the private companies too? They have been building what they think the market wants for years, and the end result has been pricey land-gobbling mcmansions in auto-dependent suburbs which have done nothing to improve housing affordability.

      Collins’ and Bridges’ stance that it was all their idea apart from the little factor of government backing is frankly laughable – this is the crucial differentiator that actually gives Kiwibuild a chance of succeeding where previous arms-length initiatives have comprehensively failed.

      1. “They have been building what they think the market wants for years, and the end result has been pricey land-gobbling mcmansions in auto-dependent suburbs which have done nothing to improve housing affordability.”

        They have been building what they were allowed to build.

      1. Its open but it certainly isnt public. However the plans for it to be reduced to 9 holes and the rest indeed open to the public, should satisfy you.

  16. OK GUYS please a few legit questions: The new Unitary Plans says Apartment Living (In Orange) can be ~28 Meters. 1.) Does this not equate to 10 Stories high rise buildings – I see most going up as 5 / 6 story.

    2.) What are the rules for going above this say 30 stories, for a developer can this realistically be done?

    1. One significant issue are the volcanic view shafts (sight lines) throughout Auckland that can limit height if in a view shaft. For example view shaft A13 crosses Unitec land.

    2. If you allow for good ceiling height (3m is goo for quality feel) and the width required between floors, there’s no way you’d get 10 stories in there.

  17. Adrian, I let you in on a secret. The NZ Government in the Commercial Market will hopefully improve the industry as they work to improve their own process, consenting laws etc. The Free Market is sorry to say a little small and needs a bit of help to get some REAL high LEVEL productivity.

    1. Hopefully… but the past track record isn’t that bright. I will also let you in a secret – we don’t have a free market in housing but a detailed and controlled environment that has resulted in the current state.

    1. There are likely to be changes to this, but it shows how the density and the open space can be delivered on that site. It’ll be a great place to live. I don’t see any number anywhere but there still looks to be too much parking, especially that multi-story building in the middle of the site which seems especially daft; that will drag driving through all those lovely leafy streets. That needs to go. Not only for this site but also for the concerns of the surrounding residents. Hard though it is for people to grasp, parking = driving. If congestion is your worry don’t supply parking!

      The PT (especially with Light Rail Station behind the Pt Chev shops) and bikeways are going to be so great here and the fact that many residents are likely to be Unitec staff and students they non-drive modeshare will be able to be through the roof. They certainly need to plan for lots of dedicated carshare spaces too, great for enabling carless households.

      What a fantastic boost for that commercial strip too; big revival.

      1. Looks like a lot of thought is going into the design.

        For parking, I suspect there will be some demand, and a few parking buildings will be a lot less objectionable than putting the low-rises on stilts or supersizing the streets for parking. An advantage of consolidating parking in such buildings is that more of the houses can be on car-free streets.

        1. The more they decide to incorporate parking and streets into the area, the more they’ll end up with people parking all over the areas intended to be car-free. The design needs to turn away from the private car ownership model altogether, and focus on excellent links to PT and carparking only on a share basis. It should be set up so you can book a park for a visitor who comes for a few hours twice a week, and to house a rental car for a few days every now and then when you’re doing something specific. The model wouldn’t work in greenfields developments, but it will work here.

          If the ratio of parks to dwellings is reduced from 1.3 to 0.2, that’s still potentially 800 parks. That’s too many. probably. Half that might work, and Patrick’s right, the idea of putting a car parking building in the centre would undermine the whole design. Any parking – whether in a building or as basement levels of some of the residential buildings – should be on the periphery, with driving through the complex only provided for limited goods and services and PT.

          It’s really important they get this right, as resistance to intensification on this scale will be heightened if they just provide a car-based development, while it will melt away if they manage to provide a car-free lifestyle alternative.

  18. It’s great to see some progress, but this is still 3 plus years away from the first tranche being finished.

    The other thing that puzzles me is why they are so expensive. I would have thought 300-400k is achievable given the proposed design & procurement model.

  19. A few other hurdles to sort out:
    Gladstone School (across Carrington Rd) is over capacity, ~900 kids year 1-6.
    Avondale college has over 2500 kids with a lot more infill housing being built in zone.
    The central interceptor won’t be finished until 2025.
    1.3 parks per dwelling is another 5200 cars using Carrington Rd.
    The western cycle route crosses Carrington Rd at a pedestrian crossing and follows Sutherland St, rather than following the motorway under Carrington Rd.
    The cycle routes through unitec are hilly (steep), indirect, potholed.
    The railway station is 0.7-1.7km away.
    Woodward Rd level crossing.
    $600K is not affordable

    1. Anthony, these are all good points. This is why we have planners, architects and websites like this. We go round looking for problems and solving them!

    2. Certainly a good opportunity for a new high school. Ah, but we’re taking land that was zoned educational and turning it into housing. Hmmmm… At primary level, though, Waterview Primary has capacity.

    3. 1.3 parks per dwelling was the old plan. Changing this development to one not focused around the car is a big opportunity now.

    4. You’re spot on. Brownfields and infill houses place too much pressure on schools which are already full, roads that are full and sewers that over flow. As for the new Waterview shared path through unitec, what a disaster, much better cycling to be had on Mill Road.

      The first thing the council should do to solve our housing crises is to ban all new housing in existing urban areas.

      Next they should commence a huge greenfields housing development. As we all know greenfields development does not require new roads or schools or sewer systems. They will save the council a small fortune in infrastructure costs. And $1m McMansions will be far more affordable for the homeless than these 600K slums. People will get to work and school on foot, unless they have an existing job they want to keep, then they will need to drive, oh wait, they’ll need roads too. New roads will cost a small fortune and place more strain on our bottlenecked motorway network….

      The second thing the council should do to solve our housing crises is to ban all new housing.

  20. Everyone do realise this project was already started through the National Government in partnership with Unitec right? This is literally just a re-branding excersise of moving the project between government departments.

    This is what I was concerned about with the policy. They are moving projects around to make the numbers work without actually adding any extra homes to the market.

    1. Makes sense that the first Kiwibuild project would be something that was already in the pipeline. I think the big difference is it is actually happening five months into this government’s term rather than just being talked about nine years into the previous government’s term.

      Maybe if they had done something they would still be in power, but I guess when you put Nick Smith in charge of housing you are making it abundantly clear that you don’t think it is important.

    2. One wonders why they didn’t announce their project before the election then? Why leave it for the next government on a silver platter?

    3. I don’t think that’s correct, Josh. According to the Wairaka website: “WLC is a management company with a specific mandate to implement Unitec’s Property Strategy. Unitec Institute of Technology will continue to own its land.” That’s changed. Now, according to Mt Albert. Inc:

      “Before the change of Government, Unitec was looking to sell blocks of the land to private developers. But Labour, anxious to get the ball rolling on its electoral promise to quickly create more houses (and more affordable houses) came knocking late last year. The land will now be transferred to the Crown and Unitec will obviously receive “compensation” allowing it to proceed with its education precinct plan.”

  21. “…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”

    Why on earth would you want to allow a bus only bridge when there is currently 100% road severance between Waterview and Mt Albert (north of Avondale) due to Oakley Creek. By all means include bus priority lanes etc, but it would be incredibly shortsighted to not provide a bridge for all vehicle types.

  22. A nice announcement that would be nice to believe in, but before anyone gets too carried away with this, I’d just like to point out a few home truths.

    The second line of the MBIE website states: “The Government has committed $2 billion for KiwiBuild, an ambitious programme that aims to deliver 100,000 affordable, quality homes for first home buyers over the next decade. 50,000 of these homes will be in Auckland.”

    Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The UNITEC project is proposed to build a mix of circa 3-4000 dwellings. In the words of Phil Twyford:” There will be a mix of affordable KiwiBuild homes for first home buyers, public housing and open market houses.”

    With this statement, unless he’s about to announce two larger developments, Twyford is not only behind target but is also ideologically at odds with KiwiBuild policy. To be honest, Twyford must build 3 UNITEC developments – in the first year – for first home buyers only. And repeat that for the next 5 years. Just for Auckland. With no completion date or facts about how it is to be achieved, this announcement is aspirational at best.

    As if that wasn’t impossible enough, no-one seems to have commented on the scarcity of building trades persons. Who is going to build these 50,000 dwellings? In the next 5 years?

    Perhaps Twyford would have achieved some sense of credibility if he announced that MBIE is partnering UNITEC to fund and construct a trades training institute on site. Without local carpenters, plumbers, electricians and roofers who is going to build 50,000 affordable, KiwiBuild first homes on Auckland topography? An automated prebuild factory? I don’t think so. The Government will have to revisit immigration numbers because on that scale it will be Chinese, Philippines, Irish and maybe more than a few Eastern European builders if Brexit is ratified.

    1. You’re worried that they won’t meet targets when they have negotiated to get a project of over 3,000 homes going in less than 6 months? That’s a ludicrous pace.

      1. Will they though? It will take them 2 years to finalise master planning and resource consent.
        You’re looking at 2022 before the first batch are released.

        1. If you’re thinking two years to finalise resource consent then the first homes would be released in late 2020. It takes 4 months to build prefab terraces. Personally I think two years is unambitious.

          1. You’ve then got to design of the master plan and associated infrastructure which will take another year to 18 months. Once that is done and prior to building the dwelling you’ve then got do all of the necessary infrastructure, such as earthworks, drainage, roading and services. This doesn’t include any upgrades to existing water mains, power networks, sewers etc to handle these new dwellings.

            Even 2022 is optimistic.

          2. A road can, with all services, can be built from scratch in under 6 months as well and does not have to be done before you start building dwellings.

            You can do detailed design for your master plan while it’s going through consent as well.

            Your schedule is based on a government doing a project on traditional timeframes with traditional urgency. The government will push this through with the kind of urgency that the previous government applied to expresssways, because they actually recognize that we have a housing crisis.

    2. There is a massive misalignment in budgets here too. Assuming 4000 thousand are built at a cost of $500k, the $2b fund is already spent. Sure you’ll get a release of funds over time as the properties are sold, but this will never be enough to fund the remaining 96000 homes.
      In my view, the funding is just not there to do this unless another funding source is found.
      Additionally it looks like the Government is trying to play property developer which I understood was not allowed.

      So while doing something is better than nothing, there is a blatant case of the hiding hand being used here and it will come back to bite them

      1. Or, you buy the land, do all the consenting and then offer development companies the opportunity to develop the sites, just like Hobsonville. That way the development companies take on the debt, you agree to buy them from the development companies as finished and immediately on sell them. Cash flow problems gone.

      1. I could be wrong but doesn’t prefabrication work best for single story, single dwelling on clear flat land? To fit 3-4000 dwellings onto this 29 HA site, construction will have to go up several levels in some areas. I know the Japanese do this but what experience do NZ construction firms have in this type of build?

        Yes, UNITEC includes an excellent construction campus, but it can’t provide enough of what is required. We are falling behind current demand every day without adding 50,000 first home dwellings. I’m just saying this was a golden opportunity for Government to partner UNITEC with a training/on the job facility. Maybe it’ll still happen.

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