Unitary Plan’s commercial space impact unknown

1:39 PM Tuesday September 13, 2016 True Commercial

The Unitary Plan should see a rise in mixed use developments like the Brickworks site in Hobsonville Point.

The first flurry of analysis on Auckland’s much-debated and anticipated Unitary Plan has focused on the impact of residential zoning, says Greg Clarke, the general manager NAI Harcourts NZ.

“That is understandable as it has the most direct impact on the most people,” Clarke says.

“But what impact is the plan likely to have on Auckland’s commercial property development market?” he asks.

“Commentators have been oddly silent on the subject, probably because a complete and comprehensive answer is still evolving. Similarly, the full impact on the residential property is still unknown – looking beyond all the commentary covering off what people hope will happen.

“But there are a few things we can reasonably expect in the commercial sector as the plan unfolds from theory into practice.

“The first is that the plan’s emphasis on increased density of residential dwellings should inevitably create a demand for more commercial development. More people equal a need for more services.

“Combined with this there is an increase in zoning for mixed use developments. This should hopefully see a rise in the number of developments that resemble the recent Brickworks site in Hobsonville Point, marketed by NAI Harcourts North Shore Commercial team which has proved extremely popular with buyers of both commercial and residential property.

“The site is made up of 60 residential apartments and 11 commercial tenancies.

“It’s a good example of the kind of development we can expect to see far more of in the future, particularly in areas now zoned as ‘town centres’ and ‘local centres’ in the plan. Residents of smaller dwellings will look to have more amenities right on their doorstep, creating commercial construction and investment opportunity.”

Clarke says the Unitary Plan has also identified Future Urban Zones for Auckland, allowing for increased housing development and expansion of the greater city’s current outer limits over the next 30 years.

“Though it is looking at a reasonably long time into the future, these areas will be a key target for future commercial developers as, again, they look to meet the requirements of new population hubs, he says.

“Hopefully there will be capacity in these zones to accommodate industrial and office space development, as this is what Auckland is chronically short of.”

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Greg Clarke, NAI Harcourts.