Hundreds of new homes could be developed on an 11.9ha piece of land in Auckland being sold by a university.
University of Auckland yesterday announced an agreement to sell its Tamaki Innovation Campus in Glen Innes to local property investment company Tamaki Village Ltd (TVL).
Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend said the space provided opportunities to develop more affordable housing in Auckland, where the average value hit $931,000 last month.
"The land is ideally located close to public transport and in fact very close to a relatively new train station. This is an ideal type of area for high-rise apartments and for potentially mixed use commercial. [It could have] quite a huge uplift for that whole part of Auckland.
"It is potentially a great opportunity for Auckland to actually demonstrate the sort of new urban rejuvenation and greater density that it has talked about in its plan and try and put that plan into action."
Mr Townsend said the area was a very significant plot of land rarely found on the isthmus.
"That is very desirable land ... it would be pretty infrequent to see any sort of sale of land of that scale that was free for development."
He hoped the development would tie in with Tamaki Redevelopment Project plans. That would see housing predominantly built in the area.
One of the directors of Tamaki Village Ltd is Timothy Edney, who in 2010 applied for resource consent to build a $200 million, 26-level office tower on the block between Customs St East, Gore St, Gore St Lane and Fort St in the inner city.
He never went ahead with the plans because ANZ landlord Precinct Properties spent $76 million on refurbishing the ANZ Centre in its Albert St tower.
The sale comes as part of the university's strategy to consolidate its activities at its City, Grafton and Newmarket campuses and make more efficient use of its resources.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said the university had applied for a zone change that would allow housing development to take place.
"We have applied for a private plan change to allow it to be zoned for either tertiary or housing purposes. I believe that will be completed quite soon so it will be zoned in a way that allows housing of a sort of density that is around that area but not high-rise type stuff.
"We are expecting [a decision] quite soon."
He did not believe the land was in a special housing area, which would allow for a fast-tracked consenting process.
The proceeds of the sale would go towards the much-needed refurbishment and updating of the university's facilities.
"As part of our well-documented campus renewal plan, we are upgrading our existing buildings and constructing new, high-quality buildings. We are doing this in order to provide modern research, teaching and study environments for all our staff and students."
The sale agreement allows the university to lease back core buildings and carparks which will enable current operations at the site to continue while facilities on the central city campuses to accommodate staff are developed. The university can lease the buildings, currently used for Medical and Health Sciences and Science faculties, for 3 years.
The university will also sell its 9ha Epsom Campus as part of the consolidation process at a much later date.
The sale of both spaces will reduce the university's site numbers from five (City, Grafton, Tamaki, Newmarket, Epsom) to three (City, Grafton, Newmarket).
The move follows the $67 million purchase of the 5.2ha former Lion Breweries site in Newmarket. The space is under construction and is part of the $1 billion decade-long upgrade at the university.