CBD and suburban land development key to unlocking potential
CBD and suburban land development key to unlocking economic potential of CRL
28 June 2013
“The Government’s much anticipated statement of support for New Zealand’s largest ever public transport investment announced today will give Auckland property owners and employers confidence to develop, grow and thrive,” says Stephen Selwood CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.
“Removing the termination point at the Britomart station and extending rail services to the wider CBD will allow an approximate doubling of rail services to and through the city at peak times. Additional services which increase both frequency and reliability will enhance the attraction of rail as an alternative transport mode.
“More importantly, its potential is even more significant when seen as an urban redevelopment opportunity and not just as a transport project. A city rail link provides an opportunity to catalyse development centred on rail stations across Auckland and the CBD and target key transport destinations in the city.
“For industries like finance and business services, improved transport connectivity has been shown to lift labour productivity. For retailers and the hospitality sector, more pedestrians in the CBD will materialise as increasing sales. And for residents looking for access to good public transport, an apartment near the CRL will become highly desirable.
“Each of these effects will drive demand for property adjacent to stations, triggering redevelopment opportunities on underutilised land. But this development needs to be carefully planned in sync with the CRL so that the economic potential of both land development and transport investment is fully optimised.
“To date the project has been primarily seen as a transport project. But if seen as a transport and urban development opportunity its potential is much greater. But so too are the challenges.
“To maximise economic uplift for the city, region and nation, the Auckland Council will need to carefully integrate and align land use regulation and development around stations.
“To execute successfully on the scale required will require expertise in urban regeneration and development. We have never seen a project of this significance in New Zealand but similar projects in Melbourne, Sydney and London have been developed by specialist urban development agencies.
“And project impacts will not be limited to the CBD. Capturing and leveraging value across the entire rail system is a major opportunity that results from this decision.
“Residents and businesses right along the rail corridor from Papakura to Swanson will enjoy capital value increases in line with new levels of connectivity and access.
“Where significant benefits result from new investment around rail stations, targeted rates, tax increment financing or betterment levies provide options to match economic benefit with the costs of the project.
“Residents and activities that benefit most from rail proximity will over time locate around stations, changing existing patterns of development. This trend is critical to maximise rail demand and revenue and provide the wide range of functions, activities and services rail patrons require.
“The true measure of the success of the CRL will not just be how many cars it takes off the road, but what activities occur around stations and how that begins to shape the long term future development of the city,” Selwood says.