Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Unitec project: Something new, with a rolling start

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  • BenWilson,

    Having ridden through there countless times since the cycleway opened, it's struck me every time how underdeveloped it is. The perfect set for a NZ themed zombie series. There has even been an apparently abandoned car in one of the overgrown back lots, which are homes to hundreds of rabbits. So out of place in the middle of densely populated suburbs. It's a great site already for housing, although presumably some more amenities will have to be zoned.

    Just another 20 sites like this and our housing problems will be solved. Well, for the current population anyway.

    It is good to see them getting on with it, and I hope this kind of activity only accelerates.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10560 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Ross,

    Noting the second half of the column

    Mt Albert whether wittingly or not becomes the test bed for even larger urban development programs like Transform Manukau where it is hoped we can up the initial 20,000 new residents to something like 100,000 (35,000 new dwellings)

    Effectively Transform Manukau would be 9x larger than Mt Albert and incorporate Auckland's largest Metro Centre to boot

    Auckland • Since Jan 2014 • 32 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Ben Ross,

    Correct me if I'm wrong but Transform Manukau involves 600 Hectares? Unitec is 28 Hectares. Manukau 21x the land area for 9x the number of dwellings?

    Hobsonville Pt 167 Hectares, 4500 homes
    Argent Lane Orewa, 190 Hectares, 2400 homes
    Tamaki Regeneration 120 Hectares, 1200 homes

    Unitec 28 Hectares, 4000 homes

    6x the intensification of Hobsonville Pt?

    What is proposed for Unitec is intensification on a scale unseen before in NZ. This will be nothing like Hobsonville Pt or Stonefields that people are likening it to.

    A bit more detail at the announcement would go a long way to allaying people's concerns wouldn't it?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 497 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Simon Bridges seriously straining credulity:

    National was going to build 3000 homes in Auckland’s Mt Albert before it lost the election, but didn’t reveal the plans because it would have been seen as pork barrelling, Simon Bridges said on Monday.

    Oh, come on. They didn’t announce their housing plans during a campaign in which housing was a major issue because it might have been seen as pork-barreling? And $10 billion in roads and a new hospital in Dunedin wouldn’t have been?

    Good grief.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    6x the intensification of Hobsonville Pt?

    What is proposed for Unitec is intensification on a scale unseen before in NZ. This will be nothing like Hobsonville Pt or Stonefields that people are likening it to.

    It seems quite unlike those – clearly, they're going to build up. The Unitary Plan gives them the ability to build to 27 metres on parts of the site.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Russell Brown,

    They'll have to go to the height all over it to hit Twyford's numbers. Quick back of fag packet numbers, 27metres = 10 storeys, say 5 apartments each floor, 350sqm footprint

    = about 80 x 10 storey apartments to get to 4,000

    And that's being generous, no allowance for green space, roads, retail, schools etc.

    I wish someone would correct me, but the numbers just don't add up

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 497 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Ross, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    1) The current zoning at Unitec is Mixed Use Zone (so can hit 8 storeys) and Tertiary Special Zone that probably some of needs a Public Plan Change to flip it to residential zoning most likely Terraced Housing and Apartments (allows to 7 storeys).

    At 70m2 for a dwelling the numbers certainly can be hit especially if we go for height.

    2) Transform Manukau
    yes that is 600ha of which 200ha is held by the Crown and Council. However, the area has a very wide range of zones from Metropolitan Centre, to residential to light and heavy industrial. There is also the Super Clinic in the area as well. So not all 600ha will be residential especially in its Western flanks.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2014 • 32 posts Report Reply

  • James Dunne,

    The real question is how long before Occupy Garnet Road and She Who Must Not Be Named scent progress and descend on Unitec to ruin everything.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2013 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    28 hectares for 80 apartment blocks is 3,500 square metres for each apartment block if I've done my maths right. That seems to be quite a large area of land, enough for a reasonable amount of green space and infrastructure.

    Sydney is hardly an outlier for densification by world standards, but we seem to go for solid walls of apartments around railway stations with amenities surrounding those (Turella or Chatswood for recent examples, Canterbury and Green Square as work-in-progress locations). By major city standards I suspect allowing twice the floorplate for everything would be more usual, not ten times.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1120 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    I do hope there are plans in the works to make the main Unitec backroad more cycle-friendly as part of the Wairaka Precinct plan.

    The Waterview shared path is routing more people on bikes than ever into the middle of Unitec, and many of them are heading straight north on that backroad on their way to the Carrington crossing and town. Better any day than going over the new Oakley bridge (lovely as it is) and having to ride down then uphill again to Carrington Road along the bad joke that is the existing Great North Road "cycle path".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Stamper Stamp, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Thanks Glenn - a voice of reality

    Auckland • Since Feb 2014 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    $600,000 - and probably a lot more once building is completed - doesn’t sound very affordable.

    Labour mischievously campaigned on high house prices being due to a particular set of issues. Now they have control of this development how come they can’t bring the prices down to what would truely be considered affordable.

    Since Nov 2016 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James Dunne,

    The real question is how long before Occupy Garnet Road and She Who Must Not Be Named scent progress and descend on Unitec to ruin everything.

    I checked, and not yet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Neil,

    $600,000 – and probably a lot more once building is completed – doesn’t sound very affordable.

    It's cheap for a townhouse or terrace in central Auckland, but I'd imagine that apartments would be cheaper.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Just a sec, this isn't public housing? WTF? I can see benefits in having government build stuff like this because they're the ones normally left carrying the can for all the stuff profitable developers leave out. But I was really hoping this would end up as a mixed-ownership system where 50% or so were public housing. Otherwise how is this going to help with the shortage of state homes?

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1120 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Markham, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Agree on the information disclosure front, although the unspoken variable thus far in a fraught field (no pun) is levels: whether all residential units will be at grade or stacked (multilevel). The ~143 units per hectare is pretty impossible if all are to be at grade. The design solution has to be be AKA apartments.

    Richmond NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Russell Brown,

    According to the government’s announcement, the cheap ones (which will only be 30-40% of them) will be $500,000 to $600,000 and the rest more. If it’s 4000 dwellings in total (1000 more than its zoned for), the population density will be 6x Hobsonville, but with a height limit of 27 metres. This just doesn’t add up. The announcement is total bullshit in the best traditions of Nick Smith.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • EE,

    I always see government initiatives like this in terms of privatisations.
    When did Unitec acquire the land from what must have been government owned Oakley and Carrington Hospitals?
    Why can't communally owned land remain owned by the community?

    Auckland • Since Aug 2014 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to EE,

    This land was an asset stripped from the mental health system. It could be an opportunity to redress that wrong by providing much needed long term supervised accommodation for those with major debilitating mental illness. With some of the original parkland for recreation and gardens.

    Since Nov 2016 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Some is going to be state housing. Wellington City Council has several high rise council housing blocks so maybe they are going to be like that. If you look around other areas of (former) council housing like some in Freemans Bay there are well designed high density models. Just depends on clever design.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3151 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    According to the government’s announcement, the cheap ones (which will only be 30-40% of them) will be $500,000 to $600,000 and the rest more. If it’s 4000 dwellings in total (1000 more than its zoned for), the population density will be 6x Hobsonville, but with a height limit of 27 metres. This just doesn’t add up. The announcement is total bullshit in the best traditions of Nick Smith.

    Twyford was careful to emphasise the “3000 to 4000” part this morning, and I suspect the final total will be far more like the former, which is what it’s zoned for.

    Which, to be fair, is 3000 more than your recent confident prediction of zero.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Interestingly the phrase “public” housing has been used repeatedly by Ardern and Twyford and I haven’t seen anything regarding Housing NZ involvement in the project

    I wonder whether they have some other concept of social housing in mind.

    I’ve also seen talk of leasehold arrangements mentioned.

    The Labour are really doing themselves a dis-service here by not releasing enough detail on this project. For a team that campaigned on transparency they are leaving a lot of unanswered questions

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 497 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Very confident of zero before 2020. Maybe a show house or two for the media by then. Let’s check back then.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton,

    I think they have probably released all the detail there is, because it feels like it was scribbled up on Friday as an announceable for the weekend rather than being a serious proposal - again, in the best traditions of Nick Smith.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    I think they have probably released all the detail there is, because it feels like it was scribbled up on Friday as an announceable for the weekend rather than being a serious proposal – again, in the best traditions of Nick Smith.

    You and Glenn are both right that there appears to be no more detail to be had. There's certainly not much on the MBIE site – they've even used Unitec's subdivision map, which I presume won't be the final layout.

    But the government is the sole purchaser and intends to build, and the zoning is enshrined in the Unitary Plan. There will be new housing there: a lot of it. I don't think there's a brownfield site of similar scale that could be done sooner.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

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