By Paul Charman
Property experts predict major development planned at Drury will help to slow the transfer of industrial tenants from Auckland to Hamilton.
The Stevenson Properties CEO Stephen Hughes expects subdivision of the area, 34km south of Auckland CBD, to help alleviate Auckland's industrial land shortfall
As an ideal location for logistics, industrial activities and new housing, Hughes predicts more industrial tenants will be setting up in Drury.
The Stevenson Group's development, Drury South Project - which aims to be a world-class provider of facilities for logistics, manufacturing and commercial operations - is set to contribute $2.3 billion per annum to regional GDP.
However, Hughes says the growth potential of the wider Drury area (similar to the area of Hamilton) is actually much greater.
"At the top of the 'Golden Triangle', Drury is ideally situated north of Tauranga and Hamilton, which feed into Auckland," he points out.
Stevenson Group is close to reaching an agreement with a substantial Hamilton-based business that will move some of its manufacturing to Auckland.
"While it's too soon to reveal details, the company considers Drury a great opportunity to service its Auckland customers."
Colliers International's site sales director Josh Coburn says Drury's first movers are looking well into the future.
"When making the decision to move, business people understand they will occupy the premises for 20-30 years. They're looking for premises that can grow as their business does.
"At the same time, these people understand they won't be frontrunners for long. Huge investment in infrastructure will bring a massive boom in population, correlating with these businesses' forecasted growth.
"We've already seen this historically in Auckland. In Wiri and Albany, commercial and industrial occupants have led the way, with residential and commercial following behind.
"Drury's prospective development will involve an unprecedented scale of collaboration," says Coburn.
Residential development is taking shape. Listed property company Kiwi Property has recently secured 51ha of Future Urban zoned land to develop Drury's town centre.
It plans to work with council and infrastructure providers to get the area zoned for a town centre including commercial and retail uses, and high, medium and low density housing - all within walking distance of public transport.
Auranga, a new coastal community development, will deliver at least 2500 new homes to the Auckland market, with the first homes ready for occupation by the end of 2018.
Auranga managing director Charles Ma says a large range of houses, terraced housing and apartments are to be built at different price points to meet market demands.
"With 6900 new jobs expected to be generated by the nearby Drury South Business Park, Auranga will provide a much-needed planned community to benefit the long-term future of New Zealand's fastest growing city," he says.
"We aim to maximise this peninsula site and its proximity to water, seeking to achieve exceptional environmental and social outcomes (pertaining to) investment in amenities like local schools, retail shops, supermarkets, public transport and infrastructure in Drury."
Colliers International site sales broker James Appleby says Drury represents, "a new start for Aucklanders".
"In terms of deciding where to live, Auckland remains the prized option. A house in an area on the brink of extreme growth such as Drury represents the better alternative."
Local government has identified the wider South Auckland area as the city's largest area of urban growth. About 42,000 homes are set to be developed on 5300ha of land over the next 30 years, while some 19,000 jobs will be created. The majority of this growth is projected for Pukekohe, Drury, Paerata, and Takanini. To accommodate this, new transport plans are being drawn up by Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and the NZ Transport Agency.
The Supporting Growth programme involves the construction of a new north-south route linking State Highway 1 to a new expressway between Drury, Paerata and Pukekohe.
Widening SH1 between Manukau and Drury, is also on the agenda.
Auckland Transport will develop new rail stations at Tironui, Drury, Drury West and Paerata, with electric trains extending to Pukekohe to provide extra capacity. Hughes says the plans demonstrate a clear picture of government and council support for the growth of Drury.