Big Upper Hutt institute campus on the market

3:00 PM Wednesday April 15, 2015 Colin Taylor

Aerial view of the former Central Institute of Technology (CIT) campus which is for sale at 51 Somme Rd in Heretaunga, Upper Hutt.

The big Central Institute of Technology (CIT) Campus at 51 Somme Road in Heretaunga, Upper Hutt, encompassing 18.29 hectares of freehold land and 28,000 square metres of buildings, is on the market.

“Given its size it is anticipated the site lends itself to a mixed use scenario,” says John Persico of JLL Wellington who is selling the property by tenders to be received by Tuesday May 12.

Persico, who is selling the property on behalf of the Ministry of Education, says the land area is held in three titles and zoned “Special Activities” under the rules of the Upper Hutt City Council.

The campus includes an administration block, lecture theatres, classroom blocks, six halls of residence with accommodation for 500-600 students, a childcare centre, library, computer centre, tennis court and two sports fields.

“The size and diversity of the buildings and open spaces on offer at this property lends this site to a wider range of integrated commercial and/or residential development options,” Persico says.

 “The council has indicated it is happy to work with various parties in order to enable a master planning process for the site. JLL envisages a range of potential uses that could be implemented to the site which include an educational institution, recreational or leisure facility, childcare centre, bulk retail development, residential land subdivision, retirement village, aged care facility or rental accommodation.

“The property has some 9.7 hectares of unencumbered land, much of which would be suitable for further development and additional ancillary buildings.”

Persico says Upper Hutt is a vibrant and growing urban area comprising a population of more than 40,000 people. “The area saw 4.6 per cent population growth in the 2006-2013 inter census period and the rate of growth is expected to accelerate over the medium term as the Wellington Urban Area pushes toward its periphery,” he says.

“Upper Hutt acts as a link between the Wellington Urban Area and the Wairarapa with both traffic and trade between the two areas growing significantly in recent years.

“The Upper Hutt area is under represented in terms of national retail brands and has only limited medium to large scale retailers present within the area.

“This sale presents an excellent opportunity for a bulk retail development on the site. The property is also particularly appealing to any educational institution looking to establish a base in Upper Hutt and is primed for a residential or retirement village conversion.”

According to JLL’s New Zealand retirement village database (NZRVD) there are a notable number of new village developments in the pipeline within the Wellington and Lower Hutt areas. However, the only development in the pipeline within the Upper Hutt area is the 115-unit expansion at Summerset at the Course.

Persico says factors that would draw residents to a potential retirement village on the site would be the competitive prices when compared with areas such as Wellington, due to the lower land prices, easy access to Wellington and surrounding areas via public transport, surrounding parks, golf courses, walking tracks as well as access to the Wairarapa for festivals, town visits and weekends away.