Social-housing development starts in city

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 22/11/2013
399 Manchester St
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NEW HOUSING: A mix of private and social housing planned for 399 Manchester St.

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Barbecues and solar panels are among the features planned for the central city's first mixed-tenant social housing development.

Housing New Zealand (HNZ) is building 26 one and two-bedroom apartments in two buildings at 399 Manchester St.

While 11 apartments will house social housing tenants, the remaining 15 will be sold privately.

Housing Minister Nick Smith marked the start of the project's construction - expected to take one year - with a sod-turning ceremony at the site yesterday.

HNZ general manager of redevelopment Paul Commons said the design was a "prototype for future mixed-tenure housing" that would see social housing clusters become a thing of the past.

The mixed model was standard practice overseas, he said, and promoted better community development. HNZ had identified five-mixed tenure sites across the city and the next development was planned for Riccarton, he said.

Smith said the $3.3 million development was part of HNZ's commitment to build 700 homes and repair a further 5000 of its damaged stock by the end of 2015.

"This well-designed, energy efficient housing development is a great example of what we are able to do in Christchurch as part of our commitment to the earthquake recovery," he said.

The site would include communal areas for vegetable gardens, barbecue facilities, rainwater tanks and roof solar panels, he said.

Market research had shown considerable interest from retired people and those whose children had left home. Smith said apartments were seen as an attractive option given the shortage of housing.

Legacy Property, a company also interested in developing in the eastern frame, will build the apartments and sell them to the private sector. The site is next to the historic McLean's Mansion that is facing demolition as its owners struggle to make repair financially viable.

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- The Press

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