Trail blazing social housing project

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2013
James Klein
JASON OXENHAM/ Fairfax NZ
HOUSING SOLUTION: Saltburn Ltd director James Klein in Onehunga where the state houses behind him will make way for a 26 unit ‘‘mixed tenure’’ housing complex if resource consent is granted.

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A project planning to throw together social and private housing could be the template for how new affordable homes are built in Auckland, its developer says.

Three Housing New Zealand sites in Onehunga, where three state houses currently sit, will be transformed into a 26-unit ''mixed tenure'' complex if developers Saltburn Ltd are granted resource consent.

In its consent application, Saltburn said the plan is to clear the sites at 9 and 12 Maria St, and 10 and 13 Yates St, of their existing buildings and replace them with much higher density units up to three stories high.

The land and existing houses are owned by Housing NZ and the proposal represents a public-private partnership to deliver a mix of affordable and social housing, the application says.

The properties would be roughly divided in thirds between Housing NZ state houses, social housing administered by the Community of Refuge Trust, and private homes to be sold.

The development has been publicly notified and submissions close on February 14.

Saltburn was selected by Housing New Zealand to tackle the project through a public tender process.

Saltburn director James Klein, an architect, said the project is consistent with the government's social housing reform programme where older, low density Housing NZ properties are redeveloped to make better use of land and infrastructure.

Private houses will make up around a third of those built.

These will be sold at significantly lower than average Auckland house price, Klein said.

He said while the Onehunga project was a small ''tin pot'' development, if successful it could be rolled out on a much bigger scale and be one solution to the Auckland housing crisis.

''This is one of the first mixed tenure developments in New Zealand,'' he said.

''The private housing we are looking at bringing to the market well under the average Auckland price.''

He anticipates a one bedroom apartment selling at the higher end of the $200,000s, two bedroom ''garden apartments'' in the mid to high $300,000s and a two-storey terrace house in the low $400,000s. 

Klein said he anticipates significant interest in the private houses, which will be scattered among the social and state houses.

''The challenge [for buyers] would be living in community housing - you won't be able to distinguish between the social and private housing,'' Klein said.

''We're going out on a bit of a limb but we're confident people want to live in this area and for the right price will want to live in this community.

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''Putting in a mixed tenure environment rather than dumping 60 state houses in one place provides a better social outcome.''

The project has three building types including four two-storey terrace houses, 10 one-bedroom apartments over two floors, and 12 two-bedroom apartments on three floors.

Klein hopes to start construction this year.

- Auckland Now

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