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Caution Advised on Hamilton Council Property Development

Media Release 10 October 2016

Property Council advises caution on Hamilton Council Property Development

Property Council New Zealand welcomes the re-establishment of Hamilton Properties Limited (HPL), a Hamilton City Council owned development company, but warns that caution is needed when undertaking development projects.

“It’s generally agreed that HPL did some good things about 20 years ago,” says Thomas Gibbons, Property Council’s Waikato Branch President.

“However that doesn’t guarantee future success. The Novotel and the BNZ building are important Hamilton buildings, but there is a clear message from developers that the Council shouldn’t be competing with the development community.”

He cautions that the Council must take into the account the risks associated with development.

“Development is something councils often get wrong. They can lose money because they don’t read the same market signals as the private sector. Having the right people on the HPL board with commercial property experience essential.”

“Don’t get me wrong. HPL is a welcomed initiative and there is a role for Council as a development enabler. For example, more power to master planning and up-zoning, fast tracking projects and consents, cutting red tape and ensuring the coordinated provision of development opportunities with infrastructure,” says Mr Gibbons.

Mr Gibbons cites Panuku Development Auckland, where Auckland Council has set the framework and plans for development, but is then partnering with developers to implement the vision.

“This type of collaboration facilitates knowledge sharing, increased expertise in best practice and improved implementation strategies and policies. The Council would have the opportunity to create developments that have both social and economic benefits, and are financially viable.

“There are some places, and the CBD is one, where smart investment by HPL in conjunction with the private sector could act as a real catalyst for further growth and development.

“But the Council, the community, and the ultimately HPL board need to have their eyes open to the risks.”

END.

About Property Council New Zealand

Property Council is a member-led, not-for-profit organisation offering a collective voice for the commercial property industry. Our members include owners, investors, managers, and developers of office, retail, industrial and residential properties, central and local government agencies and other property professionals. Our branches throughout the country represent some of the largest commercial property portfolios in Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Hawkes Bay and the South Island and Otago region, the value of which exceeds billions. We have an interest in all aspects of the built environment, and promote sound policies and requirements that benefit New Zealand as a whole.


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