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NZ City subsidy for posh homes touted

Property Here - Friday, March 08, 2013

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Developers could receive ratepayer subsidies to build $1 million-plus apartments at a swanky housing development at Wynyard Quarter on the Auckland waterfront.

Subsidies along the lines of a secret deal struck in 2009 for the new $132 million ASB Building at Wynyard Quarter could be worth thousands on each apartment.

The Auckland Council's waterfront agency is seeking interest from developers to build up to 1000 apartments as part of a new residential and commercial development, one block south of the public spaces at Wynyard Quarter.

The 2009 ASB deal involved a ratepayer subsidy for the regulatory costs of the developer, Kiwi Property Holdings, to build the bank building.

Waterfront Auckland chief executive John Dalzell - who negotiated the 2009 deal - said the same "market transactions" used for the bank building could be applied to the latest plans for "Wynyard Central".

The council has still to approve the 2009 deal - which remains confidential - and Mr Dalzell said it would be asked to approve any future subsidies.

Mayor Len Brown is relaxed about the waterfront agency offering subsidies, saying ratepayers would be delighted to receive a consistent revenue stream from long-term leases at Wynyard Quarter.

At Wynyard Quarter, the starting prices for the smallest apartments, on what will be leasehold land, will start at $500,000. The average price of apartments and townhouses will be $1.2 million to $1.3 million and larger ones will cost more than $2 million.

The apartments are expected to appeal to wealthy couples, or couples with one child. There are no plans for affordable housing on the council-owned 2.76ha development site.

Mr Dalzell did not think the fact that the housing was on leasehold land would be a stumbling block to people wanting to live at Wynyard Quarter.

Leasehold land has become unpopular after several cases of huge increases by the landowner. In one case, Princes Wharf apartment owner Stephen Suss said a 207 per cent rise in his outgoings had halved the value of his property.

Mr Brown and councillors were generally enthusiastic yesterday about the waterfront agency's latest plan for housing and commercial development on a block bounded by Pakenham St, Madden St, Daldy St and Halsey St. The plan is to attract up to $1 billion.

It also envisages a five-star hotel on the Team New Zealand site fronting the Viaduct Basin.

Waterfront Auckland chairman Sir Bob Harvey said the agency was seeking Chinese investment in the hotel.

Next development

A helping hand

* $1 billion housing and commercial development at Wynyard Quarter.

* Previous ASB Bank building project received ratepayer subsidy.

* Similar subsidies on the cards for latest development.

* Subsidies must be signed off by Auckland Council.