Government to build 4000 homes on Unitec property

Purchase of 29 hectares of land the first step

Venkat Raman

The Government has made its first move in fulfilling its election promise of building houses to combat the housing crisis by acquiring 29 hectares of land at the Mt Albert Campus of Unitec Institute of Technology.

The Unitec property accounts for 55 hectares, more of than half of which is available for development and the land deal will also allow the Institute to proceed with its own development and expansion plans.

However, the development would require the consent of the Iwi of the Nga Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau collective, in terms of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Historic Land

Announcing the move this on Sunday, March 25, 2018, Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said that the government would construct between 3000 to 4000 homes as a part of its KiwiBuild Programme. The purchased land will be transferred to the Crown.

Mr Twyford said that acute shortage of houses in Auckland has forced many families with children to live in cramped and overcrowded homes and cars.

He described the Unitec property as a ‘beautiful and historic piece of land with natural features such as the Oakley Stream running through it.’

“The property is close to education, employment and public transport. This will be a new community. This new community will have open spaces, new parks and shops,” he said.

Mr Twyford said that the government was keen to create a place for people to work, live, learn and enjoy for several generations.

“We want to create a place for people to put down roots and to live, work, learn and play, for generations to come. There will be a mix of affordable KiwiBuild homes for first homebuyers, public housing and open market houses,” he said.

Mr Twyford was also confident of working with the Iwi successfully.

Unitec development

Unitec Chairman Dr Lee Mathias said that construction of new homes would create a vibrant space around the Mt Albert Campus and that Unitec would be able to fund its 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,” he said.

Some Unitec Facts

29.3 hectares of land in Mt Albert, Auckland, within nine kilometres of the Auckland CBD.

It is a mix of developed and undeveloped land, suitable for a master-planned, significant development.

The site is zoned as residential (Mixed Housing Urban and Terraced Housing and Apartment Building), business (Mixed Use) and Special Purpose – Tertiary Education.

The Crown has purchased the land from Unitec at market value.

The site is subject to a right of first refusal and development protocol under the Nga Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau Redress Act 2014.

Unitec has already conducted comprehensive due diligence on the site’s housing potential, which suggests it is suitable for a large scale residential development approaching 3000 houses.

The transfer of the land from Unitec to the Crown represents an opportunity to help address the Auckland housing crisis, through delivering a significant number of high quality, affordable houses for first home buyers under the Government’s KiwiBuild programme.

Some KiwiBuild Facts

Construction of KiwiBuild homes will be financed by an initial $2 billion capital injection, which will be recycled as the houses are sold.

KiwiBuild will deliver 100,000 quality, affordable homes using four primary tools undertaking major urban redevelopment projects in partnership with iwi, councils and the private sector (this will deliver the bulk of KiwiBuild homes)

Converting existing Crown land and purchasing additional land from the private market, which will be on-sold to development partners who commit to delivering KiwiBuild homes

Purchasing or underwriting new affordable homes off the plans, to de-risk suitable developments led by the private sector and others, in exchange for accelerating a greater number of homes at KiwiBuild price points

Identifying and leveraging opportunities to procure KiwiBuild homes through existing Government-led housing initiatives, such as those being undertaken by Housing New Zealand.

Editor’s Note: Prime Minister Jacinda Arden (who is the elected MP from Mt Albert), Mr Twyford and others attended a ceremony at the Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae in Unitec on Sunday, March 25, 2018 to mark the announcement.

Unitec Topography Survey (Supplied)

 

 

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