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Unlocking Of Former Gasworks Site Offers Big Development Opportunity

A property originally developed over a century ago to provide important infrastructure for the expansion of Auckland’s North Shore is now being offered for sale as part of Panuku Development Auckland’s master planned regeneration of central Takapuna.

The 2,813sqm rectangular block of land at 15 Northcroft Street which also straddles two other streets­ – Auburn and Huron – offers a multitude of mixed-use development opportunities under its high-density Metropolitan Centre zoning.

The land is part of the former Auckland Gas Company site – known as The Gasometer – developed in 1915 for the Shore’s gas storage and supply and is now owned by Auckland Council. Its urban regeneration arm Panuku Development Auckland has identified it as a strategic piece of Takapuna’s future landscape. It is looking for a private sector partner to develop the site as part of its Unlock Takapuna regeneration programme.

On an adjoining lot on the former 6,058sqm Gasometer site, work is nearing completion on a five-level, 420-space public car park building to serve Takapuna centre’s parking needs. Panuku is also revitalising Takapuna’s town centre through a high-quality mixed-use redevelopment of the Anzac St site, currently used for open air car parking, incorporating a large public town square and people-friendly spaces.

Panuku has appointed Bayleys’ Auckland corporate projects director Gerald Rundle and Ranjan Unka, manager of investment sales at Bayleys Commercial North Shore’s office, to market 15 Northcroft St.

“The Gasometer site forms an integral part of the planned regeneration of central Takapuna being facilitated by Panuku,” says Rundle.

“The land for sale is the highest profile part of that site with extensive frontage and exposure to three busy central Takapuna streets.”

“A greater development envelope is available for sites at the western periphery of central Takapuna, away from the beachfront, which includes the Gasometer site. Tall buildings are encouraged with an unlimited building height control subject only to boundary setbacks from four to six storeys up and floor-to-area ratios (FARs).

“There is potential to provide additional on-site basement car parking and the nearby new carpark will have four car share vehicles which occupiers will also be able to make use of.”

The site’s FAR is five sq m of building per one sq m of land. A bonus FAR of 1:1 is also available where a public access way is created through the property. Activities permitted by the Metropolitan Centre zoning include office, retail, leisure, high-density residential, tourism, cultural, community and civic services.

Rundle says the most obvious use for the site would be for a high-rise apartment and/or hotel building with retail and other commercial and community activities at street level.

“The site’s corner location with three street frontages makes it ideally suited to a major residential or hotel development, providing plenty of natural light and stunning, mostly unencumbered views of Takapuna Beach out to Rangitoto, across Shoal Bay to the harbour bridge and Auckland CBD and over nearby Lake Pupuke. The council is keen to encourage greater residential intensification in the Takapuna CBD which is also undersupplied with hotels in comparison with the Auckland CBD. We have hotel developers actively looking for opportunities here.”

Ranjan Unka says Panuku is wanting a high-quality development that contributes to the future vibrancy of Takapuna.

“Any new dwellings will need to achieve a Homestar 6-star rating with a mix of apartment sizes and bedrooms encouraged. Panuku also wants the poor street amenity that currentlyconstrains the amount of foot traffic and retail and commercial activity in this part of Takapuna to be addressed and for the development to incorporate new public space along with streetscape improvements. It will need to provide for better pedestrian access around the perimeter of the site as well as through it.”

Panuku’s general manager development Allan Young says Takapuna was selected by Panuku as an ‘Unlock’ location to redevelop key council-owned landholdings in the beachside suburb.

“Across various previous plans, it has been recognised that more could be achieved with the Anzac Street and Gasometer car parks to better utilise these spaces and create improved connections within Takapuna and through to the beach.

“Panuku is acting as a facilitator for their redevelopment, working with the strategic direction established by previous planning and strategy documents prepared for Takapuna by the council in consultation with the community. The underlying approach to Panuku design thinking is to contribute positively to Takapuna’s evolving townscape.”

Young says the Unlock sites will be rejuvenated with private development partners, with Panuku retaining an ongoing oversight role and assisting, where required, with consent applications and information.

The property at 15 Northcroft St is for sale by deadline private treaty, closing Thursday, December 3. Unka says all parties will be required to submit a purchase offer by that date, outline their plans and proposed outcomes for the site and demonstrate their capacity to undertake and fund a development of this type.

“The intention is for Panuku to identify a shortlist of parties and then to select a preferred purchaser early in the New Year after further examination and consideration of their proposals. The buyer would need to be in a position to be able to start the agreed development as soon as possible to avoid a long-term vacant site.”

Smaller property also for sale on Gasometer site

An additional site offering a wide variety of commercial and residential development opportunities is also for sale on the former Gasometer site in Takapuna.

The 685 sqm site at 14 Huron St has been placed on the market by Panuku Development Auckland as part of its Unlock Takapuna urban regeneration programme. It is located close to the larger block of land for sale at 15 Northcroft St, with the new five-level public car park accessed off Huron St positioned between them. Bayleys’ Gerald Rundle and Ranjan Unka are marketing 14 Huron St as well, with the same initial deadline private treaty closing date of December 3 for stage one of the sales process.

Unka says offers can be made for this site on its own or in conjunction with 15 Northcroft St.

“It has the same Metropolitan zoning (as 15 Northcroft), also with an unlimited height allowance subject to identical floor to land area ratios. Because of the smaller land size, the scale and intensity of development possibilities won’t be as great as on the Northcroft St site but because of the lower cost of development, we are expecting strong interest from a wide range of developers.

“Sites of this size and in such a good location next to a large car park are in short supply in Takapuna’s CBD.”

Unka says Panuku is looking for a private sector development partner with the vision to maximise the full potential of the property in a way that also contributes to the Unlock Takapuna regeneration programme and helps invigorate further private sector development in this part of the CBD.

“This is a relatively under-developed part of Takapuna that has loads of future potential. What you often find with these areas is that once a few quality developments are underway it sparks a lot more interest in the location and encourages neighbouring property owners to think about the opportunities for their sites as well.”

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