Yesterday the government announced a fast track consenting process for a bunch of projects. I’ll talk about that in a separate post but one of the projects that it will be used for is Phase 1 of the Unitec development.
The government announced back in early 2018 that it was going to take over and develop the Unitec site with 2,500-4,000 homes (possibly up to 8,000 people) but there has been no information about it since then. Looking to see if there was any new information about it and I found that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) yesterday also quietly released the Unitec Plan and Strategic Framework.
The site is less than 6km from the city centre and is being developed in partnership with Mana Whenua. HUD saying it’s possibly the “single largest contiguous ‘brownfields’ development in NZ“. It is also going to have very good transport connections – it’s on the doorstep to the Northwest and Waterview cycleways which provides links towards the Southwest and soon New Lynn. It also is only a short distance to the Mt Albert and Baldwin Ave train stations, and when built will be even closer a rapid transit line on the Northwest.
The site development starts with 26.5 hectares of land which are the core-landholdings, with an additional 9.3 hectares under negotiation.
The base plan is fully compliant with the Auckland Unitary Plan. It delivers:
- 11.3 hectares (41%) of open space (including road reserves)
- 12.3 ha of developable land
- ~ 2,500 – 3,000 dwellings across nine Precincts (individual neighbourhoods)
- building heights of between 2 stories in the South rising to 8 stories in the centre and North
- density of between 94 and 113 dwellings per hectare gross or 204 per hectare net
- a ratio of 0.95 carparks to each dwelling
The overall project is estimated to take 10 – 15 years to complete.
Here are the key moves they say are guiding the development and they sound pretty good.
HERITAGE AND IDENTITY
- Enrich the new communities with tangible connections to the past including through retention of key buildings, trees and fragments of the site’s history.
- Refurbish the Carrington Hospital building for community / commercial activities and create a new public open space reinvigorated with native planting as its distinctive setting.
- Retain the Carrington Hospital, Pump House, Stables and associated Courtyard building as distinctive place-based accents / markers within the new community.
- Create strong statement entrances into the site: Waharoa, including installing prominent site markers between Carrington Hospital and its northern frontage to Pt Chevalier and the Northwestern Motorway – to create a landmark to define the new community.
- Plant common gardens with edible produce for residents and the community.
PUBLIC OPEN SPACE
- Create a generous provision of interconnected, prominent open space setting with the amenity necessary to support the new community and its residential neighbours.
- Build on the natural assets of the site, including opening up and daylighting the Wairaka Stream.
- Enhance a significant green corridor linking Carrington Road to Te Auaunga with multiple East / West connections.
- Celebrate water in the landscape – reinforce the Wairaka and Te Auaunga waterways, and incorporate design that makes the stormwater capture, conveyance, treatment and re-use visible.
- Improve existing recreation areas for informal sport, and build new places for family kick-a-ball and games, imaginative play, multi-age, accessible playgrounds, and for residents to gather, cook and eat.
- Enhance the site’s bio-diversity and grow seasonally responsive habitat / plantings. Preserve significant trees.
- Protect features that will provide continuity during the transition of the site into an urban village.
- Strengthen / enhance and establish new, predominantly pedestrian and cycleway connections to the site from the surrounding open space, neighbourhoods and town centres.
- Significantly improve the nature and quality of the pedestrian and cycle linkages, for example through a new overbridge or dedicated pathway to Pt Chevalier, reinforcing the new identity of the site.
- Create a fine grain of internal site connections to establish a predominance of pedestrian and car alternative modes, including walking and running tracks, routes for bicycles and alternative lowspeed modes across site.
- Support improved public transport including Carrington Road busway, new (north and south bound) bus stops and connections to mass transit mobility networks.
- Retain and improve the site’s four current access points, including by reconfiguring the ‘Gate 1’ entrance.
- Retain separation between car traffic from the South, and the site and Unitec campus.
- Build sustainable infrastructure: collect, reuse, recycle; solar generation; energy efficient buildings, energy and water harvesting / storing / redistribution.
- Implement a strategy that reduces the impact of cars and carparking over time, including carparking buildings that can be re-purposed for commercial and / or residential use, shared parking with Unitec, charging stations for e-vehicles, pool cars.
- Promote carbon neutrality.
- Consider a new primary school.
- Collaborate with Unitec for continued learning, skill development, shared knowledge and learning laboratories.
- Use the synergy between the construction to create training and skill development opportunities.
- Trial, evaluate and champion new technologies.
PAPAKĀINGA – RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
- Development that fits with the landform / topography.
- Areas that are able to be independently staged while cohesive as a whole.
- Individual neighbourhoods with distinct scale, intensity and identity.
- Commercially viable and feasible.
- Scope to match development to market cycles. Mixed housing (public, affordable and market).
The development will be built in stages with the provisional staging below:
- Carrington Road along the road frontage and east of Taylor’s
- Northern and North-Western Precincts
- Internal stages of Northern and Carrington Road Precincts
- Te Auaunga North and South Precincts
And here’s the high level information on the precincts.
- Complementary to existing residential neighbourhood.
- Low to medium density, 2 to 5 storeys (50 to 80 dwellings per hectare).
- A suburban transition, with finely grained streets and pedestrian connections.
- Small blocks and lower density at the boundary grading to medium density.
- Transport connections controlled – no access to Campus
Carrington Rd Precinct
- Medium-high intensity (120 to 150 dwellings per hectare).
- 4 to 12 stories, starting at 4 to 8 and increasing East to West with falling topography.
- Varied frontages along Carrington Road on East (mid-heights).
- Stepped down westwards toward the central lower basin and open space corridor.
- East / West open space connections from Carrington Road to the central open space and Te Auaunga.
- Pedestrian prioritised central North / South street.
- Mixed use residential and commercial / retail adjacent to vibrant activity centre in the South, scaled to support the local community.
The image appears to be of the internal part of the Carrington Precinct which happens at a later stage of the development
- Medium intensity (100 dwellings per hectare).
- Varied typology and scale of footprint creating diversity and choice (options for development and living).
- 3 to 6 storeys.
- Shared courtyards.
- Significant trees preserved.
- Buffer to Mason Clinic.
- Connect to Carrington Hospital Precinct.
North Western Precinct
- High intensity (but small building footprints).
- Landmark residential towers with outlook to the central city and harbour.
- Māori architectural references / identity.
- 8 – 10 storeys located and scaled in respect of views to Tūpuna Maunga.
- Site development relative to trees and Carrington Hospital context.
- Buffer at lower levels to Mason Clinic
Carrington Hospital Precinct
- Adaptive re-use of Carrington Hospital, such as shared offices with flexible tenancies creative technologies, common spaces and public access.
- Set within public open space parkland.
- Improve cycle and pedestrian linkages, including an enhanced connection to Pt Chevalier.
It would certainly be good if the NW cycleway could link up better with the crossing just south of Sutherland Rd and I’m interesting to hear about this new overbridge to connect to Pt Chev.
Te Auaunga North and South Precincts
- Medium density, 4 – 6 storey buildings (100 dwellings per hectare).
- Architecture signals a sustainable, environmentally progressive urban community.
- Heights that respect and respond to the Volcanic Viewshaft and predominance of the Tūpuna Maunga.
- Community gardens and a strong connection to water.
- Connected both to Te Auaunga and the central parkland.
The plans are looking good but it still feels that even with the fast-tracked consenting process that we could be some time off construction actually starting. But then again, depending on what happens with the economy, this could be getting ready at just the right time to keep the vertical building industry busy.