Westgate town centre development site

5:00 PM Friday September 1, 2017 True Commercial

The Zone 9 land for sale is indicated by blue shading in this aerial view. Photo / Supplied

A big freehold greenfield land block, zoned Business Light Industry in Westgate town centre, is being offered for sale for the first time by New Zealand Retail Property Group (NZRPG) which has master-planned Westgate as a commercial hub for Auckland’s northwest.

About 1.45ha of the total 2.54ha site, designated Zone 9, Maki St, occupies a prime position in front of an established Mitre 10 Mega store and a Palmers Planet garden centre, with the balance of the land sited on the high-profile corner of Kokano Rd and Maki St.

The Westgate town centre is situated at the interchange between the State Highway 16 Northwestern Motorway (SH16) and the Upper Harbour Highway about 20 minutes' drive from the Auckland CBD and 15 minutes from Albany on the North Shore.

Once completed, the centre will also encompass 6ha of public open space consisting of parks, ponds and recreational facilities.

The Zone 9 property offered for sale could be purchased as a single package or separated into individual lots, says Sean Finnegan, of Colliers International’s site sales team who, with colleague Craig Smith, is exclusively marketing the property for sale by expressions of interest closing at 4pm on Wednesday, October 4 - unless sold earlier by negotiation.

“This is an outstanding opportunity to acquire a large greenfield site in one of the fastest growing areas of Auckland,” says Finnegan.

He says the property’s Business Light Industry zoning under the Auckland Unitary Plan allows for a broad range of permitted activities including – but not limited to – trade retail, convenience food outlets, automotive sales and service stations.

The Westgate masterplan comprises a range of different zones including town centre; commercial; large format retail; business; home, building and trade precincts.

“Zone 9 is part of the home, building and trade precinct on the main road of Maki St with one of the parcels of land having four potential street frontages,” Finnegan says. However, while Zone 9 is in two titles, it could be sold as one new ‘development ready’ site if a purchaser elected to. Alternatively, the property could be sub-divided to accommodate multiple purchasers and their individual size requirements.

“The land has favourable contours; both titles are regular shaped; and both have huge road frontages and exposure,” Finnegan says.

He says the Maki St property is accessible from the north via Northside Drive and the south via Fred Taylor Drive and Gunton Drive.

“About 200m down Maki St is the large format retail precinct of Zone 7 where the Westgate Lifestyle Centre accommodates retailers like Harvey Norman, Briscoes, Rebel Sport, Freedom Furniture, Nood and Lighting Direct.

“Another 300m further on is Zone 5, the town centre, anchored by the NorthWest Shopping Centre - along with speciality shops, food and beverage premises and a community library which is under construction.”

The NorthWest Shopping Centre, developed by NZX-listed company Stride Holdings Limited, opened its doors in October 2015.

With about 32,500sq m of lettable space, it is anchored by Farmers and Countdown, along with more than 100 other retailers and restaurants.

Finnegan says Auckland’s northwest is an engine room for the city’s growth, with about 30,000 new homes expected to be built over the next 30 years.

“The area’s residential boom is attracting substantial commercial development to the area, with the creation of 13,300 new jobs expected over the coming three decades.

“However, developers are faced with an ever-increasing shortage of commercial and industrial zoned land which has made large development sites like Zone 9 hugely attractive.

“With $1 billion of investment being pumped into the area, the Westgate town centre is already a thriving commercial hub that will have plenty more to offer as developments continue to evolve.”

Smith says the northwest’s popularity and the shortage of available land has dramatically increased rental rates.

“Prime commercial rental rates are now becoming more aligned with the traditionally sought-after areas such as Wairau Valley, Silverdale, Albany and Rosebank Rd,” he says.

“We are now seeing warehouse rates as high as $140 per sq m and associated office rates of $270 per sq m.

“Industrial land is still highly sought after, which reflects the sector’s underlying strength and strong levels of demand, with values increasing more than 15 per cent in the past year.”

Smith says Auckland’s population is projected to grow by 1 million over the next 30 years, with most of that growth to be based in the northwest.

“Major residential developments are planned or underway in nearby Whenuapai, Red Hills, Westgate, Hobsonville Point, Kumeu and Huapai,” he says.

The nearest residential development to Zone 9 is Red Hills, which is expected to deliver 400-450 new homes a year over the next six years, and a further 300 homes a year in the following three years. Once fully developed, the precinct will contain up to 5350 dwellings.

“The area has recently gone through a rezoning process under the Auckland Unitary Plan and development is already underway,” Smith says.

“More than 250ha of land is due to be developed, with Universal Homes planning to build 1500 homes on 42ha of land it bought earlier this year.”

Smith says 167ha of land will be developed for 5000 new homes at Hobsonville Point, a short 10-minute drive away from Zone 9 Westgate along State Highway 18. “The area has new schools, parks, reserves and a small retail precinct, and the ferry service from Hobsonville Point takes passengers to downtown Auckland in just under 40 minutes.”

He says nearby Whenuapai is also going through a major rezoning process.

“The first stage of this highly anticipated development will begin within the next six months, with large-scale development planned over the next 10 years,” he says.

“Infrastructure is already in place or planned for about 5000 dwellings, as well as 93ha of business land for enterprises that could provide up to 3000 jobs.”

Smith says the northwest’s phenomenal growth has made the need for a vastly improved transport network paramount.

“The completion of the $1.6 billion Waterview Tunnel, has made the area more accessible to the outer reaches Auckland, especially improving the access to and from Auckland International Airport,” he says.

Planned extensions to Auckland’s Rapid Transit Network will also improve links between Kumeu and main employment areas in Albany and the central city.

“New park and ride facilities will provide greater access and will also connect with local services, including higher-frequency ferry services to and from the city, Hobsonville and West Harbour.”

Smith says a bus interchange and a park and ride facility is planned for Westgate. Motorway access will also be improved, with a direct motorway to motorway connection between SH16 and SH18 to provide a more efficient link between Kumeu, Huapai, Westgate and the North Shore.

“New motorway ramps are being investigated at Squadron Drive and Northside Drive, right on the doorstep of Zone 9,” Smith says.