Opening door to more intensification has generated more interest and investment activity.

A zoning change that will allow more intensive commercial and residential development in parts of Newmarket is generating increased interest and investment activity in the suburb, says Scott Kirk, a city-fringe specialist with Bayleys Auckland.

Kirk has done several deals in Newmarket this year, the most recent being the sale of two adjoining properties in Railway St for $4,580,000, which followed the sale of three neighbouring properties in McColl Street for $5.1 million.

Kirk says the expected adoption of Plan Change #196, which will increase height limits and floor area development ratios in Newmarket, is stimulating more interest in the precinct from investors, developers and owner occupiers.


"Newmarket has always been popular with investors because of its central location in a high socio-economic area, the good working environment it provides and its excellent public transport options.

"But we're noticing an intensification of interest in the suburb and some strategic positioning occurring as a result of increased development demand that is likely to result from the plan change."

Kirk says the Newmarket Growth Area Structure Plan (also known as Plan Change #196) proposes changes to the current underlying mixed-use zone surrounding Broadway to facilitate greater commercial and residential development.

Key changes to development controls will see the basic height limited increased from 15m (four storeys) to 21m (six storeys) and the basic allowable development floor area ratio increased from three to four square metres of buildings for every one square metre of land.

"In addition, car parking provisions have been revised to be less onerous for retail and business activities, particularly for those located on the ground floor," says Kirk. "It is envisaged these changes will facilitate changes in use and, consequently, result in a more vibrant and interesting area to live and work in."

He says there is already evidence of this happening with the ongoing redevelopment of several older properties, including former industrial buildings, to character residential, office and retail uses.

"Newmarket is obviously well known for its high-quality shopping but we're now seeing an increasingly diverse range of businesses, including art galleries, creative and design professionals, such as architects, and a growing range of food and beverage outlets appearing. We would also expect the trend towards people living and working in the same building to gather further momentum."

Kirk says all new buildings and alterations to existing buildings will have to meet a range of urban design-focused development controls and assessment criteria.

"These provisions are designed to ensure that new development makes a positive contribution to the streetscape, amenity and character of Newmarket in general."

Kirk's Railway St deal involved the separate sales of two adjoining properties encompassing 1832sq m of land to one buyer. A two-level 1140sq m commercial building on a 1374sq m site at 8-12 Railway St, off the northern end of Broadway, sold for $3,710,000 at an 8.1 per cent yield.

It has nine tenancies, mostly on one-to-three-year leases, with the largest tenant being Cook Sargisson & Pirie Architects. Next door 14 Railway St, comprising 458sq m of undeveloped land and generating about $30,000 a year from car parking, sold for $870,000 - $1900 per sq m.

"The purchaser is a private investor who bought the property as a good, solid, income-producing investment proposition," says Kirk.

"However, the property's future development potential, which will be enhanced by the plan change, was definitely an attraction."

The McColl St deals involved three adjoining character office buildings, sold to separate purchasers.

Two, at 24 and 26 McColl St, sold with Cameron Melhuish and Alan Haydock of Bayleys Auckland, were tenanted and sold for $1,560,000 and $1,840,000 at yields of 6.25 per cent and 6.8 per cent. The third, at 22 McColl St, was bought vacant by an owner-occupier for $1,705,000.