Shore & Waitakere capacity under 10%
Vacant business land capacity in the Auckland region fell 26% in the 5 years to 2001, leaving an overall estimated supply of 13-15 years.
“What is of particular concern is that currently there is less than 10 years’ supply in North Shore City & Waitakere City,” strategic policy analyst Brian Waddell reported to the Regional Growth Forum’s 19 February meeting.
He said Waitakere would address its shortage by including new business areas within the Westgate/Hobsonville growth area.
Mr Waddell said vacant business land was being exhausted more rapidly than residential land, with only small supplies remaining in the west & north.
The capacity shortfall is being addressed, but maybe not quickly enough.
Centres location project continues
Senior regional council planner Joy Grant presented the Regional Growth Forum last year with details of an employment, business & centres location project, which was criticised for some of its content (or lack of) early in the year, but recognised as a necessary research project.
Regional centres project draft criticised, March 2002
The centres project is intended to provide the information for a policy direction in the reviewed regional growth strategy, which would then filter through as the basis for policy development in local bodies’ district plans.
Mr Waddell said planners still didn’t understand enough about how business land capacity meets business demand, and said initiatives to introduce new capacity into nodes & corridors should be accelerated.
“We really need to start this work or we’re going to start running out of land,” he said.
Curtis rings alarm bells
Manukau’s mayor, Sir Barry Curtis, said East Tamaki had become the region’s largest employment centre, followed by Wiri. Normally Sir Barry will rattle off the numbers & tell you how great Manukau is. This time, he said: “We’re fast exhausting that supply. Waiouru [McConnell International Ltd’s development of the Waiouru Peninsula back of East Tamaki with proposed access the Otara Creek & Tamaki River to Otahuhu] has the potential to create 15,000 new jobs by 2015, notwithstanding some obstruction by Transfund on the interchange.
“If we don’t [get the OK on interchange funding] the Highbrook business park will not proceed. All the consultants have been pulled off that because Transfund has not approved the funding for the next stage.”
Sir Barry then looked round the region to draw a picture of land being swallowed up and insufficient prepared for new development: “In Manukau we can not find at the moment sufficient land to relocate from Melbourne a major company in the automotive industry.”
He said Auckland city had a shortage of greenfields land, Papakura was also short of business land, “the Albany Basin is fast filling up. “The next land according to the growth strategy is Rodney, but I’m not sure who wants to go there & invest significant amounts of money.”
Sir Barry said the land that is left “is generally small parcels sporadically left through business zones. Something is going to have to be done, with or without a regional initiative or regional overview, if we are going to maintain a rate of growth which was 6% but last month had fallen to about 3%.
“If the planning policies are such that we can’t deliver strategic parcels of land, they’re going to ankle-tap us.”
Business location trends
Among research summaries provided to the growth forum last week, 1 showed location patterns & trends by sector:
Industrial, manufacturing & warehouse, concentration in new greenfield areas (East Tamaki, Airport, Wiri, North Harbour) & prime redevelopment areas (Mt Wellington, Rosebank Rd). Future patterns are seen as similar, with more emphasis on the airport vicinity & further redevelopment areas.
Retail, recent trends show both centralisation & consolidation to traditional centres (such as cbd/Newmarket) and decentralisation patterns (to car-based greenfield centres such as Albany, Botany Downs, and non-centre employment areas).
Office, trends indicate complex patterns of head office centralisation in the cbd & some regional centres, an increasing trend to locate in mixed-use business parks (Mt Wellington, East Tamaki, Albany) and dispersal throughout general employment areas but away from town centres. A counter-trend is more mixed-use/residential in town centres, which can include offices.
Specialist sectors (hospitality, community care & higher education), these sectors increasingly show cluster tendencies based in larger centres or on established locations (university campuses or hospitals).Job distribution
This research also showed Auckland’s employment distribution across the growth strategy sectors: central 49.4% of the region’s employees, or 284,605 fulltime-equivalent employees (FTEs), west 9% or 52,328, north 17.6% or 101,234, south 24% or 138,444.
Over 20 years to 2021 regional employment is expected to grow from 576,611 FTEs to a range of 608-660,000 FTEs. Most is expected to be in existing employment areas, with more consolidation & redevelopment. Possible new employment areas include a Silverdale extension, Hobsonville, cbd waterfront expansion, Sylvia Park & Waiouru Peninsula.
Motorway access is a strong driver of employment location decisions, parking important, availability of public transport often not a consideration.
Among overseas trends cited in the research:
Increasing employment is in rail station catchments associated with the introduction of rapid transit in the mixed use/rapid transit model
Urban street scenes are re-emerging for retail location, both new & revitalised and including development of hybrid malls having the character of both malls & main streets
Establishment of bib box retail in urban neighbourhoods at a scale & in a form which integrates with the locality
Incorporation of smart growth principles (urban open space & amenity, mixed use) into business redevelopment sites
Increased production of economic development strategies for regions/cities which are aligned with enabling development policy & regulations. This includes guidelines on integrating land use & transport planning for business location, director public sector incentives to business sector developers, and public sector initiatives to provide urban amenity features & promote city/regions as great locations for business activity.Integrated regional approach
Staff on the growth forum steering group have begun work intended to bring an integrated regional approach to business location.
The research is expected to address these matters:
Demand for employment/business location over 25 years, related to economic growth & likely business sector growth
Current employment capacities (vacant land & redevelopment potential) by employment type & geographic area, and supply consequences in terms of both capacity & distribution
Identification of a range of options & possibilities to address gaps & issues raised from the scoping
Implications for transport & infrastructure provision.The 3 documents (a regional council discussion paper, analysis report by McDermott Fairgray/Market Economics and a report on location decisions by Market Economics/Gravitas) will be published in 2-3 weeks.
A growth forum workshop will be held on this subject in May or June.
Return to introductory piece: Auckland land shortages for both business & housing
Residential land supply falls below minimum threshold