The Government's $500 million plan to upgrade and develop what is forecast to be one of Auckland's busiest arterial routes has spurred the sale of a substantial and strategic block of residential development land adjacent to the new roading network.
The Government's Auckland Transport Alignment Project document released last month highlighted the commitment to expand the Mill Rd corridor connecting Manukau and Drury to the Southern Motorway.
The four-lane link will connect future residential development in the southern parts of Auckland's urban boundaries, with employment hubs in the north — particularly around Manukau. The major road-widening project will include bus lanes, cycle lanes, walking paths, and the restoration of flora and fauna wetlands along its periphery.
And Transport Minister Phil Twyford is on record saying that investment in the Mill Rd Corridor is considered absolutely essential.
"Even with the public transport network absorbing around 20 percent of new trips and the Southern Motorway widening, major increases in car travel would create chokepoints on roads around Papakura and Drury without it," Twyford says.
"It's clear that some improvements need to be made along the Mill Rd corridor over the next decade to improve the resilience of Auckland's transport system and to support growth areas along the route."
Bayleys Counties office reports that following the announcement of the half-a-billion dollar infrastructure project, a 27ha block of land immediately adjacent to Mill Rd has been placed on the market for sale.
Salesperson Peter Sullivan says the Alfriston block is located less than two kilometres from State Highway 1, in what is destined to be be one of Auckland's fastest growing urban areas as the city expands to the south-east. It has been specifically identified by Auckland Transport for being of strategic town-planning importance in the region.
The land has historically been zoned for rural use — sustaining a cattle finishing farm, but was rezoned for future urban use under the now-operative Auckland Council Unitary Plan.
Now the flat terrain freehold block, bordered by Wastney, Ranfurly, Alfriston and Mill Roads, is for by tender process, closing at 4pm on May 31.
"As a result of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project announcement for Mill Rd, the owners of this property have decided to capitalise on what has virtually overnight become an incredible opportunity for this location," Sullivan says.
"Auckland Transport's forecast for the Mill Rd arterial route is that traffic volumes along the expressway will double within 15 years as part of sustaining a rapid population growth seeking dwellings in new urban locations," Sullivan adds.
"More than 22,000 new homes are proposed for the area — with about 10,000 of those dwellings in Special Housing Areas already designated by Auckland Council, that are likely to be fast-tracked to free up land sooner rather than later."
Sullivan says a large parcel of rolling countryside farmland in the Totara Park area to the north of the Wastney Rd site is on the verge of becoming a new housing enclave as residential expansion moved east from Goodwood Heights suburb. Likewise, the suburb of Randwick Park to west of the Wastney Rd land was at capacity — with new home creep now moving east.
"With Auckland's urban expansion encroaching from two sides of the compass, the Wastney Road, Ranfurly Road, Alfriston Road and Mill Road block sits at the apex of the next concentric ring of a city moving ever outward into what was once the city's rural hinterland," Sullivan says.
"The value of this land lies in its future use as a residential destination, rather than its historical use as rural productive countryside."
Sullivan says such urban expansion in locations such as Goodwood Heights and Randwick Park is fundamental to fast-tracking the Mill Rd corridor project, along with other works identified in the Auckland Transport Alignment Project.
Minister Twyford says Auckland is facing unprecedent population growth, and over the next 30 years a million more people will call Auckland home.
"Growth brings opportunities, but when combined with historic under-investment in infrastructure, the strain on the Auckland transport system is unrelenting."
Sullivan says the 'greenfield' 27ha Wastney Rd block could be subdivided into a multitude of housing density configurations — allowing for multiple entry points off any and all of the four bordering roads.
"Without any in-depth geo-technical and architectural overlay plans on hand, it's hard to say how many new homes this block could sustain. However, as a ball park figure, we believe the block could accommodate upwards of 250 standalone dwellings.
"Obviously that figure would be greater if any development was to be in a terraced home configuration, and even higher if apartment blocks were proposed," says Sullivan.
"The land is of such significance that it is highlighted in Auckland Transport's Mill Rd corridor public-briefing material."