Plans have been revealed to turn an industrial site in Hastings into a housing development with 42 apartments to support the homeless and those "most in need".
Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga will manage the properties at 303 Fenwick St in Mayfair - the site of Stead Construction - if the project goes ahead.
However, the developer, Soho Group, says the project is in its early stages and a decision on the project has yet to be made, including whether it will be used for public housing.
The developer is considering three options for the property, including one to build 42 apartments.
Nearby residents have voiced serious concern about the project, labelling it "way too dense" if 42 units are built on the residential street, which is made up of mainly one-storey homes.
A petition from residents has attracted over 90 signatures and was received by Hastings District Council at its meeting on Thursday.
Soho Group director Jonathan Wallace said the project would help address the region's housing crisis and be a "vast improvement" on the existing construction factory surrounded by homes.
"[The existing building] is asbestos-ridden and it is high-activity industrial in a residential area. I don't think it is particularly appropriate for what is there.
"We are looking at making a vast improvement to the area," he said.
"There is a housing crisis across the country and Hastings has one of the worst."
Wallace did not share details on the other two options they were considering for the site.
He said a final decision on what shape the project would take was yet to be made. He did not rule out public housing but said it would certainly not be used for transitional or emergency housing.
The Fenwick St residents group spokesman Aaron Cash said density was the main worry for neighbours.
"We know there has to be housing but it is way too dense," he said.
"If there were 20 [apartments] proposed I don't think anyone would have complained."
He said houses directly next to the development would have two-storey apartments looking over them under the current design plans, which were released to the group through an Official Information Act request.
Cash said the residents wanted to have a meeting with the developer and council to discuss the project and wanted to see any design plans downscaled.
He claimed about six homeowners had put their homes on the market and had sold since learning about the plans in recent months.
The developer told Hawke's Bay Today it was open to meeting residents.
Stead Construction will move to a new property in the Irongate Industrial Area if the project goes ahead.
Ministry of Housing and Urban Development representative Anne Shaw said a housing shortage was placing pressure on whanau and communities.
She said if the project went ahead the housing would be used to support the homeless.
"These 42 additional places will greatly increase the supply of suitable long-term housing for those people who are experiencing homelessness," she said.
"Not only will this development support those most in need, but it will also meet the needs of whanau with additional accessibility requirements.
"For example, level entrances, wheelchair accessibility, more room to manoeuvre inside homes, and accessible bathrooms," she said.
"Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga is the registered community housing provider that will manage the properties and support the tenants."
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said she had spoken with residents about the project.
"We understand the plan for Fenwick St will provide for more public housing, however a resource consent hasn't been lodged yet," she said.
The property next door on the corner of Fenwick St and Karamu Rd is also being developed. TW Homes is building seven units on the site.
Soho Group is an associated company of Wallace Developments.