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New city start in few months

Construction of buildings for the new Marsden Pt city – poised to create about 4400 jobs – is expected to begin in the new year. Developers North Holdings is inviting expressions of interest from retailers and small businesses, initially from Northland, before campaigning nationally.

Master agent Peter Jennings of North Shore said speciality shops under stages one and two of the project varied in size and could be either leased or purchased.

He has received more than 20 offers from people interested in operating a bakery, butchery, pharmacy, restaurant and a kindergarten.

North Holdings is creating a mixture of commercial and residential development, spread over 135ha within the existing Northgate and Port Marsden industrial estates. Commercial and industrial buildings would lead the construction, followed by residential units.

Mr Jennings will be in Whangarei from Monday to Thursday next week, meeting parties interested in either leasing or buying commercial or residential lots. ”The first stage would include about eight shops with offices above them and I hope to have five of that signed and committed to by the end of next week,” Mr Jennings said.

He will also attend a meeting to discuss Chinese investment at Marsden Pt city, to be held at Toll Stadium on Monday, which is being organised by the Whangarei Economic Development Group.

All the infrastructure such as road, power and water supply, and high-speed broadband, have been sorted out and that construction should start by the beginning of 2013.

“We’re looking at residential development as well, where people are interested at buying house and land packages. Those that have expressed an interest all say they are ready to go,” Mr Jennings said.

Stage one of the development will include 22,000sq m of retail space and 20,000sq m of other commercial activity, 250 residential house lots, 150 apartments above retail and a variety of industrial uses.


Marsden City could be a ‘jewel in North’s crown’

Rosemary Roberts | Tuesday, September 18

The proposed Marsden City development could drive the North and is “a fantastic opportunity just sitting there”, say two high-profile consultants for New Zealand-China acquisitions and commercial transactions.

Wellington-based Lily Shi and Matt Hanna of Lewis Lawyers/Consultants were speaking to a group of Whangarei district, regional and business leaders yesterday at an event organised by Whangarei Economic Development Group and Ruakaka Economic Development Group.

WEDG and REDG had asked them to discuss how to go about doing business with China and the possibility of attracting investment in the planned Marsden City development in Bream Bay around the the port.

Mr Hanna said Marsden City could be “a jewel in the crown for the region”, but cautioned that thiscould only happen with the right planning, co-operative effort and trust-building with prospective investors.

“The area has to be promoted as ‘one big piece’ and all businesses will have to be working together in support of each other to produce a credible plan.”

He also said the idea that Chinese investors viewed New Zealand as “up for buying” and were out to dominate the world was a complete misconception.

Chinese businesspeople did their homework, he said.

“We have to be very respectful of that and thinking you might be able to pull the wool over their eyes is a complete mistake.”

Northlanders would need to work out their competitive advantages and had plenty to offer investors if the right packages were presented. Whangarei’s marine capabilities was one strong niche opportunity, for example, with a 16 million-strong Chinese city in Southern China wanting to invest in marine technology.

“Identify your competitive advantage, develop an investment proposal, work on relationship building and engage a trusted ‘bridge’ who will find a match for you. If you want to contract people with money you have to make it easy for them.

“But the idea that if you let too many wealthy Chinese people into New Zealand we will all be speaking Chinese within a few years is absolute nonsense.”

Bream Bay investor/developer Oliver Scott asked: “How do Chinese perceive Marsden?” Mr Hanna replied: “The same as you would if you didn’t know anything about it.”The Chinese Government recently named Lily Shi, who was educated in New Zealand, Hong Kong and China, as an outstanding young achiever for New Zealand in Chinese-New Zealand relations.


New city start in few months

Imran Ali | Saturday, September 15

Construction of buildings for the new Marsden Pt city – poised to create about 440 jobs – is expected to begin in the new year.

Developers North Holdings is inviting expressions of interest from retailers and small businesses, initially from Northland, before campaigning nationally.

Master agent Peter Jennings of North Shore said speciality shops under stages one and two of the project varied in size and could be either leased or purchased.

He has received more than 20 offers from people interested in operating a bakery, butchery, pharmacy, restaurant and a kindergarten.

North Holdings is creating a mixture of commercial and residential development, spread over 135ha within the existing Northgate and Port Marsden industrial estates.

Commercial and industrial buildings would lead the construction, followed by residential units.

Mr Jennings will be in Whangarei from Monday to Thursday next week, meeting parties interested in either leasing or buying commercial or residential lots.

“The first stage would include about eight shops with offices above them and I hope to have five of that signed and committed to by the end of next week,” Mr Jennings said.

He will also attend a meeting to discuss Chinese investment at Marsden Pt city, to be held at Toll Stadium on Monday, which is being organised by the Whangarei Economic Development Group.

All the infrastructure such as road, power and water supply, and high-speed broadband, have been sorted out and that construction should start by the beginning of 2013.

“We’re looking at residential development as well, where people are interested at buying house and land packages. Those that have expressed an interest all say they are ready to go,” Mr Jennings said.

Stage one of the development will include 22,000sq m of retail space and 20,000sq m of other commercial activity, 250 residential house lots, 150 apartments above retail and a variety of industrial uses.


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Ruakaka


Marsden city work will create 4400 jobs

By Imran Ali of the Northern Advocate

Work on a new Marsden Pt city, poised to create 4400 jobs and attract businesses from outside Northland, is expected to start within six months.

Whangarei District Council and the Environment Court have given North Holdings, the company spearheading the move, the all-clear.

North Holdings is creating a mixture of commercial and residential development spread over 135ha within the existing Northgate and Port Marsden industrial estates

Company director Oliver Scott said work on the development of a mixed-use town centre comprising about 765,000sq m of land area was expected to start within six months.

He said commercial and industrial buildings would probably lead the construction, followed by residential units.

Stage one of the development will include 22,000sq m of retail space and 20,000sq m of other commercial activity, 250 residential house lots, 150 apartments above retail and a variety of industrial uses.

The development is part of the Whangarei District Council’s structure plan which allows for 60,000sq m of net floor area for retail and 82,000sq m for non-retail commercial use.

There can be up to 2200 residential units.

Choices for residential living include detached houses, attached townhouses, terraced housing and apartments, with most around a large neighbourhood park.

A variety of urban parks, as well as pedestrian and cycle facilities, would be developed over 5ha.

Scott said new zoning would also allow for retirement living and educational facilities.

Another company, TR Developments, plans to construct a university and residential apartments close to North Holdings’ project.

He said Northland’s economy would get a huge boost from the project, together with a $500 million refinery expansion announced by Refining New Zealand which would create more than 350 jobs.

“There’s the [Marsden] port, good climate, nice beaches and the Hoppers marine development as well and there’s every likelihood that North Port will continue to expand and very easily pick up business from Auckland.”

Scott expects businesses from Christchurch and elsewhere to set up shop in Ruakaka as they see the area as “one of the hot growing regions”.

Roading and other infrastructure were largely in place, he said, but North Holdings would need to upgrade Casey Rd as the centre’s main street and to carry out additional landscaping.

“The main thing is we now have certainty the project will happen, it’s just a matter of when. It has all the hallmarks of long-term sustainable development,” Scott said.

He is encouraging job-generating businesses to move into the area.

The entire project will take between 15 and 20 years to complete.

North Holdings has spent $75 million developing infrastructure at the Northgate industrial park over several years.

North Holdings’ application to the district council attracted 31 public submissions.


Green light for nation’s newest city


The creation of Marsden City, to be developed in Ruakaka as New Zealand’s newest city, has been given the go-ahead by local authorities.
“The Environment Court has cleared the way for the development of a mixed-use town centre that, under the Whangarei District Council’s structure plan, envisages a population growth of up to 40,000 within the next 20 to 30 years,” says Oliver Scott, director of North Holdings Group, which is undertaking the development south of Marsden Pt, in Northland.

Scott says Marsden City’s mixed-use consent will include a retail shopping centre, commercial businesses, residential high and medium-density, parklands, residential-compatible industry, and light and general industry.

“The Whangarei District Council’s structure plan allows for a city centre to eventually have a core commercial area of around 35ha including 60,000sq m of net floor area for retail and 82,000sq m of net floor area for non-retail commercial uses. Under the plan there can be up to 2200 residential units.

“Initially Stage 1 of the development will offer 22,000 retail, 20,000 non-retail commercial and 250 residential house lots, 150 apartments above retail and commercial buildings and a variety of industrial uses.”

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Overall, the centre will comprise about 765,000sq m of net land area and the existing Casey Rd will be upgraded as the centre’s main street.

North Holdings is offering choices for residential living including detached houses, attached townhouses, and terraced housing and apartments. Most residential living will be located around a large neighbourhood park.

Scott says the vision for Marsden City is for “city space designed for relaxed, community-styled living, built around open recreational space and a vibrant city centre”.

New zoning will also allow for retirement living and educational facilities. “Plans have been floated by other land developers in the region for a composite educational facility that could cater for at least 3000 students,” he says.

Stage 1 of the development is being marketed by Peter Jennings of NAI/Harcourts, Albany, who expects there will be surging demand for land as the big companies seek “first-mover” advantage.

“The interest for the main street Stage 1 retail shops has already attracted a good mix of retailers,” he says. “There has been strong interest from a supermarket chain, a hardware DIY chain, a fast-food franchise and a home zone retail complex. Plans are already under way for a motel and conference centre on Casey Rd, and a group of doctors have chosen to site a private hospital in the development.

“A large global cloud-hosting data centre is in negotiation to purchase a large holding and the potential is for creation of up to 1000 jobs.”

Scott says the desire to create a green city reflects the region’s best assets of wide-open natural spaces that will promote active lifestyles.

“We are building New Zealand’s newest city and that provides us with the perfect opportunity to make it the greenest, and therefore one of the most desirable, places to live in New Zealand.”

Scott says the go-ahead from the Environment Court has drawn more interest from large New Zealand-owned businesses which have identified the area as “one of the hot growth regions” in New Zealand.

“We expect there’ll be a lot of interest from Christchurch businesspeople who are seeking a fresh start in a developing region.”

Council CEO Mark Simpson says the development of Marsden City will deliver a significant boost to the economic growth of the region.

“Marsden Pt, Ruakaka and the Bream Bay area have long been identified as the most significant growth node in the district, and it is excellent to see the way cleared so this major project can progress,” Simpson says.

“Over a decade ago, growth forecasts saw council providing for growth in the area – zoning more land for residential, service industry and industrial use.

“The economic climate has caused a bit of a slowdown in recent years, but progress has been steady and greater infrastructure spending is expected in the area in the coming year.”

Craig Brown, Northland Regional Council chairman, says Marsden Pt and Ruakaka have been recognised as suitable for full-scale development since the turn of the century.

“In fact, the area was divided up on paper as a hub for a town or city development long ago. With Marsden Pt’s deepwater port and an efficient port-operating business, the Marsden Cove Marina, and associated housing developments, the signal was here for some years that this could well be New Zealand’s next city.

“With rationalisation of port transport ahead of us, it is common sense that developments of this nature will thrive in this location.”

Scott says a $500 million refinery expansion announced by Refining New Zealand will create more than 350 new jobs.

“The potential downstream benefits from the expansion are significant, with some commentators believing this may trigger the long-awaited construction of the designated rail link from the main trunk line to the port and the refinery.”


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Port study to end rivalry

Rosemary Roberts and APNZ | Thursday, March 22

A powerful new upper North Island local government alliance will commission a study which could be a blueprint to end tooth-and-nail inter-port rivalry and trigger the long-awaited major expansion at Northland’s port, Northport.

The Upper North Island Strategic Alliance (UNISA) – made up of all the regional and district councils in the area, along with big hitter Auckland City – has announced that it will commission an independent technical study into current and future freight demand for ports and ports-related infrastructure in their areas.

The alliance was formed about seven months ago to address a raft of issues of common concern, with economic development linkages; transport, including rail, roads and freight; and ports, including inland ports, at the top of the list.

The decision to commission the study was taken at the UNISA’s second meeting a few days ago and could show the way for the whole country to end 24 years of inter-port competition, starting with an integrated approach to planning, involving Northland Port, Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga.

The competitive environment originated with the Port Companies Act 1988, which required the boards to form companies to take over their commercial port-related assets and be operated as “successful businesses”.

Launching the concept this week co-incides with upheavals at the Ports of Auckland, which have seen further loss of trade to the booming Port of Tauranga. With both ports running out of space, and planning costly and environmentally questionable expansions, calls are being made to these ports to seriously consider making use of Northport’s deep water and extensive land bank.

Bad weather prevented Northland Regional Council representatives from attending the meeting, but chair Craig Brown yesterday said the study was good progress towards getting the ports and regions to “start thinking outside their own patch”.

“The truth is we need Auckland, and Auckland needs Northland and Waikato and so on. The idea is to move towards rationalising the movement of goods and stop councils going off and doing their own thing without consideration for anyone else’s needs or capacities.”

Looking at ports-related infrastructure necessarily involved looking at transport networks as a whole across the regions, he said.

Mayor of Tauranga Stuart Crosby said at the meeting that an efficient, safe and effective transport system was critical for the upper North Island to achieve sustained economic growth and enable New Zealand to compete internationally. UNISA would be working with the New Zealand Transport Agency on upper North Island transport issues.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said “a guiding principle must be reducing costs to business through transport and land use”.

UNISA comprises of the mayors and chairs of Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, and Whangarei district councils, as well as the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Northland regional councils.


Ruakaka set up for big boom

Imran Ali | Monday, July 18, 2011 15:00

URBAN PLAN: A major planning hurdle has been overcome, setting Ruakaka up to begin growing into a city.

URBAN PLAN: A major planning hurdle has been overcome, setting Ruakaka up to begin growing into a city.

Michael Cunningham

Plans for a major commercial development that could turn a fast-growing Whangarei coastal community into a city have been given the go-ahead.

The multimillion-dollar project in Ruakaka, spearheaded by North Holdings, could create 4400 jobs, via a mixture of commercial and residential development, just south of a proposed rail corridor to the port at Marsden Pt.

North Holdings plans to develop land and infrastructure then sell sites to other developers.

The new venture would be spread over 135ha within the existing Northgate and Port Marsden industrial estates.

A university and residential apartments, planned by TR Developments, will be constructed close to North Holdings’ project.

North Holding’s request for a private plan change – from the present Business 4 zone that provides for heavy industrial to a mixture of light commercial and residential – has been approved by the Whangarei District Council’s environment committee.

North Holdings director Oliver Scott said Whangarei District Council’s approval would create several thousand jobs for Northland in the long term.

“It provides a platform for economic sustainability and growth for the whole region and it sits very well with the likes of the Marsden Cove Marina and other developments in the area,” he said.

Mr Oliver said his company had received significant expressions of interest from many businesses willing to relocate to the proposed development.

It would take 10 to 20 years for the entire project to be completed, he said.

North Holdings has already spent $75million developing land and infrastructure at the Northgate industrial park over several years.

Mr Scott said Ruakaka was chosen because of its flat land, the fact that it lent itself to development and its proximity to the port and beaches.

The company intended to retain 105ha of existing industrial area and 16ha of mixed commercial area, including 20,000sq m of retail space and 22,000sq m of other commercial activity.

About 400 residential units, of which 150 would be above shops, and other commercial ventures in Ruakaka Town Centre, and 350 in a 9ha residential area, were being planned.

A variety of urban parks, as well as pedestrian and cycle facilities, would be developed over 5ha.

Necessary infrastructure would be put in place to support the proposed development.

North Holdings argued that the eventual population of the Marsden Pt-Ruakaka area of about 40,000 would need to be supported by commercial, residential and retail areas, community and civic functions, transport and infrastructure.

The application was publicly notified by the WDC in October 2010, attracting 31 submissions – 10 in support and 19 opposed. Two submitters were neutral while WDC received six further submissions.

Hearings were conducted in March by Cr Merv Williams and independent commissioners Giles Bramwell and chairman Alan Withy.


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