Limit on office room 'restrictive'
Massey University is resisting Palmerston North City Council proposals to limit the amount of office space that can be provided at its Hokowhitu campus.
The council is considering changes to the institutional zone rules as part of its District Plan Review.
The plan change proposes only 250 square metres of ancillary office space should be permitted at the Hokowhitu campus.
But Massey consultants Market Economics Ltd said in a report supporting Massey's submission that the amount was very small, only able to accommodate 10 to 15 staff, and was unduly restrictive.
Massey wants the limit increased to 5000 square metres.
The Market Economics report said that would make up only about 1.8 per cent of Palmerston North's current office space.
Demand for office space in the city was projected to grow by around 13,500 square metres by 2021.
The consultants said Massey's proposals would provide economic benefits, making it easier for research and business activities to cluster at the campus, without detracting from the central business district.
City council policy planner Michael Duindam said the council wanted to ensure office activities continued to be concentrated in the city's central business district.
But he was aware that Massey wanted to ensure the Hokowhitu site remained flexible for a range of uses and attractive for tenants or future purchasers or developers.
"We have been actively engaged with Massey in conversations for more than a year."
Massey also wants the council to permit up to 2000 square metres of floor space for retailing at Massey's Turitea campus.
Its submission asks for the city council's help to "future-proof" its vision for the university campuses.
It wants to allow a wider range of activities on the sites to complement education, research, innovation and business investment.
Integral to its plans is the FoodHQ hub, and a planned $285 million investment in facilities in the next decade, depending on being able to sell the Hokowhitu campus.
It estimates generating economic benefits for the region worth $230m a year.
Massey's submission and seven others will soon be publicly notified, and there will be a 10-day opportunity for further submissions.
Mr Duindam hoped the plan change would go to a hearing before Christmas.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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