Putting the why back into The Waikato

Putting the Why back into The Waikato

Total Property - Issue 3 2016

Hamilton has long been painted as less sexy than the perceived more cosmopolitan centres of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

But the city is quietly harnessing the energies of proactive developers, investors, institutions, property industry advocates and its Council to ensure opportunities for growth are grasped and built upon.

A priority is the strengthening of economic connections within the “golden triangle” of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga – which already produces a third of New Zealand's gross domestic product (GDP)

In this regard, all seven sections of the Waikato Expressway are scheduled for completion in 2020 – cutting 35 minutes off the journey between Auckland and south of Cambridge.

The Property Council’s Waikato branch president, Thomas Gibbons says a collaborative approach is needed in Hamilton, which has a thriving property industry and some great developers who are keen to leave a positive legacy to the city.

Gibbons says pluses for Hamilton include: being close to Auckland and within the “golden triangle”, having a strong rural and agri-business base, and being a region of exporters.

Foster Construction commercial manager, Leonard Gardner says Hamilton has a strong subcontractor, supplier and labour market: and a stable construction and development market.

He says the Hamilton is cost competitive compared to other regions, with good roading and transport hubs, and gets “a big tick” for seismic stability.

Local Tainui Group Holdings (TGH) has a strong portfolio of commercial property in Hamilton city, the Waikato region and up to South Auckland.

General manager property, Dean Shields says TGH has added value to its portfolio by developing The Base regional shopping centre and building a successful hotels business (including two Hamilton hotels). It is currently developing the Ruakura estate 3kms east of Hamilton’s CBD.

About 350 hectares of the 480ha site is zoned for industrial development and includes an inland port. The projected overall value of development is $2 billion. Shields says Ruakura will help secure Hamilton’s growth and development with a long-term supply of industrial and business development sites.

Hamilton Council has a goal of becoming the nation’s third city economy and a 30-year infrastructure plan is in place to cater for significant forecast growth. “Our $7.4 billion economy is already the fourth largest in the country,” says City Growth general manager, Kelvyn Eglinton. “The current population is 155,000 and it’s expected to reach the 200,000 mark within 15 years.”

Wallace Development Company (WDCL) developed the flagship FMG building in Hamilton’s Victoria Street which it on-sold for $4.1 million to the local Len Reynolds Trust. “This is clear evidence of confidence in the Hamilton market,” says general manager, Paul Broederlow.

He says “handbrakes” in the Hamilton market are seen in many other cities. “There’s a disconnect between rental levels and the cost of land and construction. Rental rates have not kept up.”

Broederlow says the Waikato is not reliant on any one sector. “It’s strong across the rural servicing and distribution sectors, the education sector and has a critical mass population that’s increasing.”

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