Boundary pushing and hub creation

Boundary pushing and hub creation

Total Property - Issue 5 2018

Suburbanisation is defined as the decentralisation of people, employment and services from the inner parts of a city towards the margins of the traditional built-up areas.

A textbook example of suburbanisation is Westgate, where New Zealand Retail Property Group (NZRPG) has master-planned a 56 hectare $1 billion-plus new town centre as an economic and service hub for northwest Auckland.

The original Westgate shopping centre was developed by NZRPG in 1998 when it identified that the broader Westgate area was strategically placed to handle forecast population growth in the then, Waitakere City territory.

Following detailed commercial arrangements with Auckland Council, NZRPG is currently spearheading an integrated new town hub at Westgate which will include expanded retail, entertainment, office and civic amenities.

The new town centre will anchor the area and close the circle on NZRPG’s vision for an intentionally-planned “shop, work, play” environment.

Campbell Barbour, general manager of NZRPG, says the evolution of Westgate is not just the narrative of yet another dormitory suburb – it’s the creation of an important node in the wider Auckland commercial and residential picture.

“Westgate is about future-proofing the sub-region of northwest Auckland with full facilities to satisfy a growing population base,” he explains.

The Auckland story has traditionally been about how to move large numbers of people over relatively widely-spread distances to get them to work, to shopping amenities and recreational facilities, according to Barbour.

“However, if you can provide enough employment and opportunity within the key nodes, then that need to move people around at scale, declines.”

Around 30km south of Auckland’s CBD is Drury – one of the fastest growing areas in the region, and lining up to be a new example of staged suburbanisation.

Under the now-operative Auckland Council Unitary Plan, Drury was identified by Auckland Council as a future urban growth area with around 5,300 hectares earmarked for urban development translating to around 42,000 new homes.

Additional rezoning of land to business activity is expected to create upwards of 19,000 jobs over 30 years and Drury is being touted as one of the saviours in Auckland’s tightly-constrained and in-demand industrial property market.

Drury South Crossing is a 360 hectare master-planned precinct running alongside State Highway 1 aiming to become a world-class provider of facilities for logistics, manufacturing, commercial operations – and a place to live.

It will leverage off new infrastructural projects and emerging community hubs and provide a 158 hectare business park, 45 hectares of residential development and 95 hectares of public reserve and park land

Stephen Hughes, chief executive officer of Drury South Crossing at Stevenson Group Limited, says the company is in its second season of earthworks with the first industrial sites due for delivery by the end of 2019.

Uptake of the sites has exceeded expectations and Hughes says he expects the balance of available land to be snapped up as quickly as it can be delivered to market.

“Commitment to date has largely come from Auckland-based operators relocating from smaller premises or looking to move from more central suburbs,” he says.

Drury South Crossing industrial park can be accessed via the Drury Interchange and the Ramarama Interchange, which is currently being significantly upgraded, and there are plans to expand the Mill Road corridor connecting Manukau and Drury to the Southern Motorway.

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