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Major Napier urban development land sale set to sustain growing population

Some 207 hectares of stock grazing farmland in the Mission Hills area on Napier’s western urban boundary has been purchased – with its new owners already underway with their masterplanning work to build a mix of residential homes and upmarket lifestyle block residences, serviced by a small retail hub, and environmental parkland and reserve linking the site to a community walk and cycling network.

A 2018 Napier City Council rezoning for the site allows for the development of more than 590 sections in a multitude of sizes and configurations – with those on the hill ridges enjoying spectacular views over the city and across Hawke’s Bay.

The site – which sits immediately adjacent to historic Mission Estate Winery is accessed off Puketiritiri Road - has been earmarked for Napier’s urban growth for many decades. It has expansive views across Hawke’s Bay from Ruapehu to the west to south of Mount Erin, including the iconic Cape Kidnappers and Te Mata Peak in the south.

The farmland is being sold by Western Hill Holdings Limited, a company formed to manage the development of the block after many decades of work by Marist Holdings (Greenmeadows) Limited to secure the rezoning and the development potential.

The purchaser is a consortium of highly experienced North Island urban property developers – consisting of Hawke’s Bay business Wallace Development Company and interests of the Gillespie family, Tauranga-based Carrus Group, and Higgins Family Holdings Limited based in Palmerston North.

The deal was brokered by Bayleys Hawke’s Bay salespeople Kerry Geange and Rollo Vavasour. A confidentiality agreement signed by the vendor and purchasers means the sale price or specific details cannot be disclosed. The land is zoned Mission Special Character within the Napier City Council Plan.

A preliminary indicative plan for the locale shows development of approximately 550 new homes in a subdivision layout, 60 hectares set aside for larger lifestyle block sections and homes, and 2,500 square metres allocated for construction of a neighbourhood retail complex likely to contain a small suburban supermarket, an upmarket style café, and potentially a medical centre.

Bayleys Hawke’s Bay director and lead salesperson Kerry Geange said the sheer scale of the Mission Hills greenfield development block, along with the premium views on offer, was one of the most important sales recorded in Hawke’s Bay for a significant number of years – since the lifestyle block developments built on the Havelock North Hills and Esk Valley north of Napier during the early 2000s.

He said the sizeable land sale would meet a significant forecast demand for residential population growth in the Hawke’s Bay region.

“Napier’s metropolitan urban boundaries have been slowly but steadily stretching outward for decades now, often street by street in an ad-hoc fashion. However, as a comprehensively planned residential development, Western Hills will bring an entirely new dynamic to this much needed urban growth,” he said.

“It will be the evolution of an entirely new suburb with its own character and style – characterised by the likes of Hobsonville Point, Millwater, or Stonefields in Auckland and now being seen elsewhere in provincial New Zealand in areas such as Queenstown, Wanaka, Tauranga and Taupo as city populations continue to grow.

“Master town planning allows for the most efficient land use options to be fashioned and designed, in conjunction with ‘bigger picture’ thinking involving the provision of infrastructure services to underpin suburban growth on a considerable scale.

“It will be exciting to watch Mission Hills emerge along these lines over the coming eight years. Without doubt this will be one of the most awaited and strategically important residential developments for growth in the lower North Island.

“Demand is expected to be high for sections within Mission Hills when they do come to market – as the suburb will be just a few kilometres from Napier CBD or five minutes' drive from the airport, yet will offer an exceptional lifestyle living location with a semi-rural backdrop.

“The exciting aspect is this consortium of property developers – some of the most experienced in the country coming together to create something really special for the future of Napier and Hawke’s Bay.”

Mr Geange said the considered transaction negotiations for the 207-hectares at Mission Hills took almost two years to complete, and involved a number of parties with a very wide geographic spread.

The sale is expected to settle within the coming 12 months, and Mr Geange said this would allow the new owners to begin the next stage of urban design process for the location. Initial landscaping and infrastructure earthworks to sustain the installation of utility services would commence shortly after the formal sale was concluded.

Purchaser consortium member Jonathan Wallace of Hawke’s Bay based Wallace Development Company expected the first residential properties within Mission Hills would go on sale as early as June next year, with construction likely to begin in spring 2023.

“Fundamental to our long-term vision for this site and opportunity is the drive for a quality, carefully thought-out development – embracing streetscape, landscaping, recreational amenity areas, and visual aspect,” Mr Wallace said.

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