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Auckland’s Northwest redefines growth objectives for the Supercity

More than 300ha of land in Auckland’s Northwest has been identified for near-term development, which will see the region transcend its rural roots, setting development eyes firmly fixed on opportunities for urbanisation.

Featuring the closest greenfield development land proximate to Auckland’s Central Business District, a construction dashboard is poised to deliver 30,000 new homes within the Whenuapai and Red Hills precinct over the next two decades, creating 20,000 new jobs and cementing the region’s status as the city’s most important commercial, industrial, and residential growth node.

Bayleys Northwest general manager Brendan Graves says it is unlike many other parts of Auckland, which are fully developed and stand to benefit from adjacency to the recently completed Western Ring Route – a 48km $1 billion roading investment linking Waitakere to the North Shore and existing Central City network.

“The Northwest has a good supply of greenfield land identified for commercial, retail and industrial development, with a rapidly growing residential catchment to support the local economy.

“While only in its infancy, confidence is buoyed by the support of the private and public sectors, and it is poised to become a true live, work and play region as commercial and industrial development catches up with the demands of an established population.

“Agencies including Auckland Council, Watercare, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, and Auckland Transport have taken meaningful steps to support growth, reflected by significant investment aimed at fast-tracking transport projects and delivering new core infrastructure.”

Graves says huge retail precincts Westgate Shopping Centre, Westgate Lifestyle and Northwest Shopping Centre have continued to evolve. Furthermore, as Westgate attracts major big box retail anchors, including Mitre 10 and Bunnings, and global players like Costco, tech giant Microsoft, multilateral tech business and e-commerce platform Amazon, along with further exciting global brands close to being announced.

Bayleys Northwest associate director of Development Land and Sales, Wesley Gerber, says that while Auckland’s Unitary Plan has upzoned substantial plots of land across the region, challenges have persisted for developers.

“Not enough land has been unlocked to meet demand, and zoning roadblocks – mainly around Future Urban overlays – have presented insurmountable challenges at other compass points of the city.

“Whenuapai, being Auckland’s sole Future Urban area prioritised for infrastructure development in alignment with the Future Development Strategy (FDS), is an enticing prospect for developers seeking regulatory clarity, enabling streamlined development with limited bureaucratic hindrances.”

He points to ongoing local and central government initiatives like the Te Ara Hauāuru rapid transit project, which proposes a transport network from Brigham Creek Road to the city centre alongside State Highway 16.

“While currently in the planning phase, projects like this are designed to overhaul the public transport system to support future growth. In addition to route protection for future urbanisation across the Northwest, these improvements will support live zoning and further development.

“Firms can see the large-scale commitments to fortify infrastructure in the Northwest, which belies confidence in the successful delivery of new residential and commercial projects in a timely and efficient manner.

“At the same time, improved connectivity has supported industrial fundamentals and the region’s position as a major freight corridor, aided by the Western Ring Route, which has streamlined access to Auckland Airport, Ports of Auckland and inland freight hubs.”

Gerber emphasises that recognising potential in the Northwest region extends beyond zoning knowledge, it necessitates a deep understanding of the area’s 30-year outlook, which may look slightly different under a more business-focused coalition government.

“The region is on the cusp of massive expansion, underscored by the largest urbanisation programme in New Zealand, offering developers immediate opportunity to become a part of its growth story,” he says.

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