9 May 2024

Wellington developers hint at when city will see new apartment buildings

7:15 pm on 9 May 2024
Housing in Wellington

Property developers say a lot more land will be available providing more opportunities. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Wellington building developers say changes to the city's District Plan are positive but they will not make a difference anytime soon.

On Wednesday, RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop signed off the plan which will act as a blueprint for building in the capital.

Changes to it included allowing six-storey apartment buildings to be built within a 15-minute walk of the city centre.

Under the plan, the Johnsonville train line will also be deemed a rapid transit route to allow six-storey buildings near the services.

The Wellington Company director Ian Cassels said building six-storey structures in the suburbs was not financially sound.

"Economically it's not great, the first buildings will be built in the city, where the advantages are better, the wealth creation's better and life is better."

Generally, density was positive, Cassels said.

"It's inevitable that we intensify the city and its immediate surroundings because it's better for us as a city."

He welcomed the reduction of character protections in the plan.

"You can't keep everything you've got to concentrate on what's good and stop pretending you're saving old buildings that you know you never can save, so there's a realism about it which is really, really good."

Property development company Thames Pacific owner Stephen Sutorius was also happy with the plan.

"It releases a lot of land so the land supply all of a sudden goes up and there's a lot more site opportunities for developers to look at, whereas previously we might have been a bit constrained."

Sutorius said in the current market conditions it was very unlikely there would be a significant increase in developments at least in the next year.

"We are not going to see floods of apartments built in all these areas but what it does do, [is] it just creates a bit of variance of stock."

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