Huge Canterbury project will create new town

5:00 AM Saturday March 7, 2015 Colin Taylor

Aerial view of Canterbury’s Ravenswood Village development area – outlined in red border - with the towns of Pegasus at top and Woodend to the right. Photo/Bruce Clarke

In potentially New Zealand’s largest commercial and residential land sale of the year, the 150 hectare Ravenswood Village development about 25 km north of Christchurch has been launched on the open market.

Infinity Investment Group bought the property in 2010 just after the Christchurch earthquakes with plans to develop the land into a new satellite Canterbury residential and commercial centre adjacent to Woodend and Pegasus Town.

“This large development, which is fully zoned for commercial, light industrial and residential activities, has already attracted interest from prospective Kiwi developers and retail end users,” says Bruce Whillans, managing director of Ray White Commercial.

Whillans is marketing the site for sale by tenders closing April 30 with colleague Bas Smith of Ray White Queenstown.

On completion, Ravenswood will be home to about 4000 people and will become a major centre for employment in the Waimakariri District.

Paul Croft, managing director of the Wanaka-based Infinity Investment Group, says the firm is divesting Ravenswood to refocus the group’s business on the Central Otago region, returning to its core strengths of small to medium size residential developments in that area.

However, it is leaving the Ravenswood Village project, designed for completion in 10 stages, with a solid base for a new owner to complete the development.

“It will be a positive move for Ravenswood to have a developer with experience in large scale residential and commercial developments to take the Ravenswood community to fruition,” Croft says.

Forming the northern gateway to Christchurch, Ravenswood Village is a comprehensively master planned community. It is zoned for a 1522 lot residential community and a 10 hectare, 60-lot convenience store and trade retail centre along with a light industrial precinct.

Subdivision consent for the first stage of 197 residential lots was approved in December 2014 and 92 residential lots within the estate are currently under contract to a mix of national home builders and private individuals.

Residential lots in Stage-1 range in size from 310 sq m to over 700 sq m, however most of the lots fall between 400 sq m and 600 sq m. As an advanced development project, civil construction works for Stage One could start within one month. 

Whillans says Ravenswood has been specifically designed to meet the demand for affordable housing in Christchurch and evidence of demand has been seen in that almost 50 per cent of the residential sites have been sold off the plans already.

“As the first potential fuel stop and major retail opportunity north of Christchurch, the development’s commercial land is well placed to leverage off the existing residential population in the townships of Pegasus and Woodend and the high level of visibility and traffic flow from State Highway One,” he says.

The site is at the planned termination point for the proposed Woodend bypass, which will be the main access point onto SH1 from both Woodend and Pegasus in the future.

“Having a new motorway end at the village doorstep means it won’t be just the residents in Ravenswood and its surrounds who will be potential customers, but other travellers as well and this can only be good for tenants and owner-occupier retailers,” he says.

Foodstuffs has already committed (subject to subdivision consent) to 10,757 sq m for a new supermarket providing the retail centre with an immediate anchor and underpinning the balance of the retail component.

Whillans says Infinity has already spent $1.7 million on development over three years, including the costs of town planning, resource consents, and engineering design with comprehensive geotechnical testing now complete.

The construction of a new roundabout, improving access to State Highway One between Ravenswood Village and neighbouring Pegasus Town has also begun. This roundabout will provide access to Foodstuff’s proposed new supermarket and the retail, commercial and light industrial precinct at Ravenswood.

He says a major advantage of this development is that many of the recreational elements that make up a township are already in place in the area.

“This fast growing region of North Canterbury already has well developed, well used, existing walk and cycle ways, extensive recreational reserves, a man-made lake, beaches and an 18 hole championship golf next door at Pegasus. There are also local schools and a small village at Pegasus and Woodend.

“When Ravenswood is fully completed, it will have a mix of convenience and service orientated retailers, including the larger national retailers, as well.”

Whillans says it is a significant development in the South Island, and in North Canterbury itself, which is forecast to grow by an additional 20,000 people in the next 15 years.

“The new village will be at the centre one of the country’s fastest growing districts with the population of the Waimakariri District having doubled in size over the last 25 years to a current resident base of 50,000 people.  Growth of this magnitude will continue to reinforce the requirement for new residential housing and commercial services,” he says.

Bruce Whillans, Ray White Commercial.jpg

Bruce Whillans of Ray White Commercial.