Porirua's old hospital site set to be turned into 800 houses
Up to 800 houses are poised to be built in a major new housing development around Porirua's old hospital.
Early consents will soon be lodged for Kenepuru Landing, a joint project between developer Carrus Corporation and local iwi Ngati Toa.
A mix of medium-density and standalone homes, the 50 hectare development will be built on land Ngati Toa received as part of a Crown Treaty settlement.
Carrus is behind another major Porirua subdivision, Aotea, which is aimed at the more expensive end of the market.
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Kenepuru Landing would be more affordable, the general manager of Carrus' property division, Scott Adams said.
"There's a great opportunity, we think, to capture that first home buyer market, given that we've got the future Transmission Gully link right on the doorstep," he said.
The first stage is expected to contain about 150 dwellings, the majority of which would be priced in the mid-$500,000 range.
By contrast, the median house price for Tawa to Pukerua Bay in January was $460,000.
Adams said pricing had been done with Kiwisaver Homestart grants in mind.
"One of the requirements is that the house has to be $550,000 or less, and there's nowhere really in the Wellington region that you can really find that sort of price now".
The project was also hoping to attract empty nesters wanting to live close to public transport.
Residents would be a few minutes walk to two railway stations, Kenepuru and Porirua, and a pedestrian link would be built to the city centre and North City shopping mall.
"So it ticks all the boxes as far as medium-density living goes," Adams said.
"We're trying to promote sustainable, environmentally friendly living and trying to discourage the use of the vehicle, even though that will still be handy to the Wellington CBD."
Ultimately the project is expected to keep expanding until 2025.
Earthworks are set to begin in March and civil works in the second half of the year, while resource consent is sought for the designs.
Construction is expected to begin next February.
Adams declined to put a figure on how much the project would cost as the costs were often changing.
And although Wellington's housing market was currently booming, he said the project's timing was also not a given.
Developments could take 12 to 18 months from consents to physically works and "a lot can happen to the property market in that time".
Auckland's housing boom was "certainly" going to end, and "they say when Auckland sneezes, the rest of the country catches a cold".
However, the Wellington market was "quite buoyant".
"I don't think it's necessarily overpriced and I think the market we're going for, because of net migration and all those factors, there's still going to be demand for housing".
Other rejuvenation plans for Porirua include a plan by Ian Cassels' firm The Wellington Company to convert the old NZ Post building into apartments.
Another potential housing development on Plimmerton Farm north of Porirua has been under negotiation for some years.
The future ownership structure of North City is also in flux, which might ultimately refresh the slightly dated mall.
Ngati Toa's executive director Matiu Rei said several old Porirua hospital buildings would be demolished to make way for the development. The current Kenepuru Hospital was outside it.
He said the iwi was pleased to be involved.
"Affordable housing is an issue ... and we're very pleased to be part of a venture which hopefully will be of great assistance to younger families to get into their own property."
Some of the land was zoned industrial and would be set aside for limited light commercial use, largely along Kenepuru Drive.