A social housing provider is hoping to replace 140 former state homes in Gate Pā with more than 400 new townhouses and apartments.
Those behind the plans said it would offer mixed housing with options for first-home buyers, retirees and renters.
However, the project, which is expected to cost "hundreds of millions of dollars", needs to work in partnership with and is seeking investment from the government, developers, iwi and other stakeholders.
Accessible Properties presented its proposal to the Tauranga City Council earlier this week and chief executive Greg Orchard said its Gate Pā "Pukehinahina Project" was a vision for the future spurred on by Tauranga's housing crisis, increasing property prices and the city's population explosion.
In 2017, Accessible Properties acquired 1124 Housing New Zealand state homes in Tauranga and has increased the portfolio to 1146.
Its current development programme would deliver 75 new homes by 2023 but Orchard told the Bay of Plenty Times Accessible Properties had the ability to do much more than that at Gate Pā.
The organisation had released a discussion document with the focus of providing a greater mix of social houses, market rentals and affordable homes.
The homes at Gate Pā were on about 11 hectares and were all about 38 years old or older.
''On our own, we will deliver a relatively small number of homes that will all be social houses but it's our view there are much bigger opportunities here. We have the land available which could be used across the whole housing spectrum."
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Tenants had been consulted on the project which was in the Te Papa Peninsula area and a survey shows some of the big ideas they liked was a community centre and gardens.
The survey also revealed 64 per cent wanted to be involved in work to improve their community while 68 per cent had lived there for more than five years and 76 per cent would like to get to know their neighbours better.
One of those surveyed was Teisha Paratene who said she loved the vision tabled by Accessible Properties.
''From what I can see and with my experience with them they are more than just a landlord. They are all about trying to help families and all about having more diverse people in the community rather than just the real poor.''
Mayor Greg Brownless said it was important Accessible Properties focused on mixed, quality housing that would be maintained.
''One big area of social housing will invite problems ... I think the idea that people can work towards owning a house will be key.''
Tauranga Rentals principal officer Dan Lusby said overall the proposal was "a great idea and about time".
"I would love to offer my support to this project.
"All we do as a company is turn over the same properties to a revolving group of families looking for a house to live in, there has been so much potential to improve the housing situation in Tauranga by taking advantage of these properties that Accessible Properties now manage.
"I always thought 'why bother spending money upgrading old houses when they are still going to be old houses with old wiring and old plumbing?'
"We find if the housing is better tenants look after them better and ongoing maintenance costs reduce dramatically."
He said Gate Pā was "a great location" for higher density housing, because of its proximity to shopping areas and schools.
"On the negative side, by mixing social housing with first-home buyers and retirees you get some people who don't like to mix with beneficiaries and think they drag their neighbourhood down - their own small-minded prejudices."
Tauranga councillor Larry Baldock, who was at the council meeting when the Pukehinahina Project was discussed, said it was "a fantastic opportunity to see that whole community in Gate Pā redeveloped into better housing".
"Quarter-acre sections with private backyards have been the norm in New Zealand but they are not going to be sustainable forever."
He said the site was close to open public spaces residents could enjoy, and good public transport.
Tommy Wilson from Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services Trust said he was disappointed the trust had not been included with initial discussions on the Pukehinahina Project.
''We were of the understanding we would be included in all conversations and discussions as this progressed.
''We were with them all the way until they got those properties and since then we have been left on the sidewalk.''
In response, Orchard said it had talked to many parties in the past 30 months including Te Tuinga Whanau Support Services Trust and it was sad to hear they did not feel included.
''A partnership vision for housing and community revitalisation in Gate Pā / Tauranga South is a culmination of all our conversations to date, it is not an endpoint but a beginning.''
Housing Minister Megan Woods did not want to comment on the proposal, because it was a private development at an early stage.
- Additional reporting Samantha Olley