Two Mount Maunganui elder housing villages worth up to $23 million will be sold for private development, relocating 45 elderly tenants.
The commission-governed Tauranga City Council today confirmed the decision to sell the ageing Pitau Rd and Hinau St villages, after community consultation.
The council had already started negotiating with public housing provider Kāinga Ora to buy the city's other seven elder housing villages.
Council general manager of growth and strategy Christine Jones said previously the two villages were in non-priority locations for public housing.
Other areas in the city had a higher need for public housing and were a more immediate priority for redevelopment, she said.
The two villages had a combined estimated market value of $18 million to $23 million.
The council would hold the net proceeds for elderly and social/public housing, along with net proceeds from the sale of the rest of the portfolio.
The decision was made during Tauranga City Council's Long-term Plan deliberations yesterday.
At the meeting, Jones said there had been "specific engagement" with current tenants, nearby residents and organisations including Grey Power and Age Concern.
"The welfare of tenants in those properties is a guiding principle and we are committed to ensuring they have a safe and affordable home to live in."
Jones said the council was working with tenants to identify each individual's needs.
"We'll create a transition plan for each individual person and when opportunities become available we will move them through. Some are very willing and keen to move."
Commissioner chairwoman Anne Tolley said: "Many submitters … expressed a huge lack of diverse type of housing, particularly for our elderly residents. With an ageing population, their requirements are quite different."
Of the submissions on this topic, 79.5 per cent were in favour of the sale with 20.5 per cent against.
Commissioner Stephen Selwood said it was a "very positive decision" and was "consistent with the submissions we've had".
"This is an opportunity to maximise value out of land the council owns to provide maximum advantage to those in need from [an] elderly or a social community housing perspective. Were we not to sell this property, we'd be disadvantaging significant proportions of our community."
Commissioner Shadrach Rolleston said local hapū had no interest in the proposition.
Two further decisions still need to be made about strategic outcomes for the community and the divestment process. Jones proposed to come back to commissioners with a report in August for those decisions.
"These are unique opportunities – they're large sites in a very built-up area," Jones said.
On the first day of deliberations, the commissioners also approved the council premises to move from Willow St to 90 Devonport Rd.
The new premises would serve as a medium-term location for the council's administrative offices, and would be more fit for purpose with all CBD-based staff - now split between three main buildings - in one location.
For the wider community, benefits of the move included activation of the CBD area with a new library and community hub in Willow St.
Selwood said the change would be a "stimulus" to the city.
"I think it gives us an opportunity for a double whammy in the city between a cultural hub on this site and an admin centre located beside regional council."
Tolley thanked staff who had coped for seven years being "scattered around the city" and "carried on running the city".
"It must be a great relief to get to this point where we're actually making the decision," she said.
The deliberations continue tomorrow at council chambers.