A start mid-next year is planned for the $1 billion Te Awa Lakes housing and waterways adventure park development at Hamilton's northern gateway after appeals to the Environment Court were called off.
A private plan change to allow the 860 medium-density homes and recreational lakes project on 62ha of unused industrial land at Horotiu was given the green light by independent commissioners in March, but appeals by Fonterra and Affco looked set to prolong its four year gestation.
Richard Coventry, chief executive of developer Perry Group, said meat company Affco, which has a plant at Horotiu, decided not to appeal, and then Perry and dairy company Fonterra, which has a large manufacturing site at nearby Te Rapa, were able to progress their long-running discussions to a resolution.
Both Perry and Fonterra have buffer land between the two sites beside the Waikato River and a distance limit will be enforced between housing and the dairy site.
Perry is now applying for resource consents for the nine-stage, seven-to-10-year development to Hamilton City Council, which it hopes to receive by March or April, Coventry said.
Inquiries for sections from Hamilton home builders was already strong because they were running out of land, he said. It was hoped to have at least 50 homes built in the first six months of the development. Perry itself would build some of the homes in the development, which will be on a former sand quarry.
Also planned in the project set to transform the northern entrance to Hamilton from an industrial landscape to green space and waterways are hospitality outlets, an adventure park and tourist guest accommodation.
The Te Awa Lakes tourism opportunity is expected to bump up Hamilton's visitor nights by some 20,000 and generate more than $3 million in extra spending for the city.
Rezoning to residential of one stage, on 14ha across the Waikato Expressway, is being handled by the Waikato District Council under its plan change review.
The development had yet to be marketed and sections and house and land packages priced, Coventry said.
"We'll test the market next year, but 10 per cent of the homes must be affordable, that is 90 per cent of the median home price in Hamilton."
September REINZ data shows the median price for Hamilton city is $676,000 – up from $345,000 in September 10 years ago – a 95.9% increase. This was a record median price for Hamilton city for September, said REINZ.
The development land was originally pastoral. It became a sand quarry from 1995 until 2017. It has been unused since.
Coventry said having put four years and millions of dollars into planning Te Awa Lakes, Perry was very pleased the development would not now end up in the Environment Court.
He has reason to be confident Te Awa Lakes sections will be in demand.
A big Perry residential land development called River Terraces, beside the Waikato River at Ngaruawahia, had sold out and inquiry for the second stage, yet to be started, was strong, he said.
River Terraces' sections are $300,000 to $350,000.