Prime spot eyed for housing

By Joseph Aldridge

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Twenty-one hectares of prime land valued at nearly $6.3 million has hit the market with the potential to be transformed into one of Tauranga's biggest subdivisions since The Lakes.

The Ohauiti property on the city's outskirts offers commanding views of the harbour and Kaimai ranges, and could accommodate more than 180 homes.

There are few similar-sized land blocks remaining so close to the city and with the property market heating up the sale is expected to attract developers throughout the country.

The block comprises two titles, one of which has been owned by the McFetridge family since the early 1950s. The family bought the second property from neighbour and former All Black Archie Strang in the 1970s.

Property information documents show the two blocks now have a total capital valuation of close to $6.3 million.

A homestead sits on the property's highest point with harbour views to Mauao while a kiwifruit orchard occupies the block's lower part.

Tauranga has expanded in the 60 years since the McFetridges bought the property, leaving the block an island of bare land in a mosaic of urban development. The property is surrounded by Hollister Lane on its western boundary, Ohauiti Rd to the east, and the large Rowesdale development, developed by the Rowe family since 1996, on the southern boundary.

The sale is being handled by Owen Phelps, branch manager of Eves Greerton, and tenders for both titles close April 3.

Ross Stanway, chief executive of Realty Group, which owns Eves and Bayleys, told the Bay of Plenty Times the land sale offered a timely opportunity for further residential expansion, given Tauranga's continued popularity and predicted population increase.

"This, coupled with a steady increase in confidence throughout the property market, will add to the level of interest from developers in a residential area ripe for further growth," he said.

Property sales volumes in Tauranga increased 17 per cent last year, while sales in January this year were 23 per cent higher than 2012 and 74 per cent higher than 2011. The Lakes sold 154 sections in the 10 months to February, while Golden Sands in Papamoa East has sold 47 sections since it opened in November.

But Coast Papamoa Beach developer Stephen Short said the southwestern side of Tauranga did not have sufficient roading infrastructure to handle another subdivision.

Such a subdivision would lead to an oversupply of residential land in the area.

Mr Stanway said potential buyers would take all such factors into consideration.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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