Eastern transport projects ‘spike’ property demand

5:00 AM Saturday December 12, 2015 Colin Taylor

Artist’s impression of new 200 Mt Wellington Highway convenience retail development where increased demand for commercial properties has ‘spiked’.

Billion dollar transport upgrades have spiked the demand for commercial properties in Auckland’s eastern suburbs, says Gareth Fraser, director investment sales for Colliers International.

Fraser says the completion of the first stage of the $1.2 billion Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) has already made a noticeable economic impact in the suburbs of St Johns, Glen Innes, Mt Wellington and Stonefields.

 “Twelve months after the completion of the first stage of AMETI there has been a rapid growth in residential development in these catchments. The increase is also due in part to a number of large-scale projects like Todd Property’s Stonefields development which have in turn, stimulated demand for commercial property.”

AMETI programme director Peter King says the surge in demand for commercial property is also likely to be partly driven by improvements already made to improve the area’s strategic transport links.

“Major transport investments are generally expected to attract increased demand for property and new development because of the better transport access they provide,” King says.

He says the infrastructure improvements are expected to generate productivity in the area that will lead to an increase in gross domestic product (GDP) of $380 million.

“Land use projections showed strong residential and employment growth in the area, which was a key driver for the project because of the increased demand for transport.”

Stage one of the initiative was completed in November last year and included improvements like a new Panmure station, the Te Horeta Rd linking Morrin Rd and Mt Wellington Highway, new bridges on Mountain Rd, the Ellerslie-Panmure Highway and for Panmure Station; along with new cycle lanes, shared paths and footpaths.

Fraser says commercial developments in the eastern suburbs include a new town centre at Stonefields, a new Countdown supermarket and ancillary retail in St Johns, as well as better trading conditions for retailers on Lunn Ave.

“Other commercial property areas benefiting from the project include Morrin Rd, which links to the new Te Horeta Road bypass – and retail developments on Mt Wellington Highway.”

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This artist’s impression depicts another aspect of 200 Mt Wellington Highway convenience retail development.

Fraser cites a 1496 sq m convenience retail development at 200 Mt Wellington Highway as an example.

The developer, Broadway Property Group, cites the delivery of AMETI as a significant contributor to the project’s successful pre-leasing activity.

“In our view the infrastructure upgrade underpins the demand for convenience retail in the area, and it was a key driver in selecting this site to develop,” Broadway director Adrian Hughes says. He says eight of 11 units have been pre-leased with three remaining available.

Fraser says Colliers has recognised the growth in this area by placing renewed emphasis on the eastern catchment with three brokers specialising in the area: Fraser, Charlie Oscroft and current Black Sticks captain Simon Child.

Two-time Olympian Child joined Colliers’ Investment Sales team in July after a long-standing interest in commercial real estate.

Stage Two of AMETI, a busway from Panmure to Pakuranga, replacing Panmure roundabout with an intersection with traffic lights and safer cycling and walking links, is expected to commence in 2021.

“We expect the increased demand for commercial property to continue to flow onto these areas over the next five years, particularly in Pakuranga, Howick, Botany and East Tamaki,” Fraser says.

King says the project will also generate a raft of other benefits for the area.

“Residents of the eastern suburbs will have greater transport choices and be better connected to the rest of Auckland.

“They will see significant improvements to public transport with the busway providing rapid transit on congestion free lanes which connect to the rail network.”

Providing quicker, frequent and more reliable bus journeys is expected to shift large numbers out of cars to ease pressure on the roads for freight and other traffic, he says.

“There will also be major improvements to walking and cycling, with safer new walking and cycling connections to town centres and within them.”

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Gareth Fraser, Colliers International.