100 affordable homes on way for Chch

The Government wants to join forces with a private developer to build 100 affordable homes in Christchurch in a move away from the traditional state house model.

Starting with a 30-apartment complex in Manchester St in the central city, the new "mixed-tenure model" will create units for Housing New Zealand, social agencies and private owners alongside each other.

Housing New Zealand's general manager for asset development, Sean Bignell, said the concept would help remove stigmas traditionally associated with state housing.

He called it a "flagship project" and a "game-changing initiative".

"We will be following our development partner's lead on things like urban design," Bignell said.

"It will be different from what we would normally build."

The Government wants tenders from developers by next month and will ask two to draw up designs.

It wants the $10 million complex to be finished by the second half of next year.

The chosen partner would then build the remaining 70 units on existing Housing New Zealand sites in Richmond, Riccarton and other suburbs.

A similar complex is being built in a pilot project in the Auckland suburb of Glen Innes, and another is planned for Wellington.

The mixed-tenure model has been copied from other countries, including Britain.

The scheme is part of the Government's $90m plan to build 200 to 350 state houses in Christchurch, partly to replace those lost in the earthquakes. Most will be built more intensively on existing sites.

Ninety-five per cent of state houses in the Christchurch region were damaged in the quakes, and repairs to 212 are due to be finished by the end of this month.

Bignell said that while the damaged state houses had been insured, the scheme would help fund extra costs as well as creating a better product.

"This is a good chance to rethink how we do things and get some cost efficiencies and do things a different way. We need to be smarter about it," he said.

The 2000-square-metre Manchester St site, formerly part of the McLean's mansion grounds just south of Bealey Ave, has six older-style units on it.

The suburban redevelopment sites have not yet been identified as tenants have still to be notified.

The Press