Panuku says another 1000 residents are needed in Manukau central to meet the council development arm's goal of creating a "24/7 town centre" in Auckland's south.
Meanwhile, Transform Manukau project development director Clive Fuhr has confirmed Panuku is in discussions with the Crown to develop council-owned land in the urban centre, much of which is currently occupied by car parks.
The council's development arm is plugging away at plans for "more intense" development in Manukau central, which Fuhr says would make it "feel more like a 24/7 town centre".
"Ideally, you need another 1000 people living in a centre," he said .
"You get a couple of thousand people living there [and] you get some sense of a community."
Mr Fuhr indicated Panuku saw the edges of council-owned green spaces in Manukau central as potential development sites.
"We think the land we've got along Hayman Park ... is the most attractive location to be adjacent to if you're going to live there," he said.
The park is roughly 400 metres away from another development at a site off Barrowcliffe Place, which is already under way.
At Barrowcliffe, Panuku has partnered with the Te Ā�kitai Waihoua iwi, as well as the Puhinui Park Ltd partnership of NZ Housing Foundation, Te Tumu Kā�inga, and Community of Refuge Trust to deliver 340 "affordable" homes.
The first 20 dwellings would be completed in the new year, Mr Fuhr said.
Panuku was also in talks with the Crown, through Kāinga Ora, the new agency charged with leading small and large-scale urban development projects, about other potential housing developments on council land in Manukau central, Fuhr revealed.
"The challenge with doing residential is, as you can read in the paper, the economics of doing high-rise residential apartment developments are strained because it's high cost of construction," he said.
"I think we see Manukau as a place where it could be a great location for build-to-rent, or for lower cost owner-occupation for professional workers working at the hospital, working in education, working at the airport, working in the industrial area.
"And I think it's just a matter of trying to nudge that along until we can get the right market conditions to make that happen.
"You could argue that the Crown's slightly separate from that, because if Kāinga Ora come in to build housing-for-rent then they're independent of market conditions, but they can only do so much because they're spread across a lot of areas."
The government was also making moves to introduce more office space to Manukau central, Fuhr understood.
"And I think there's some very interesting things in the pipeline with the government looking to consolidate more offices in central Manukau as well," he said.
"All these things have got to work through a process, but we're very comfortable that we've got some momentum here now in terms of seeing more development in the town centre.
"Hopefully we can get more people living there and get more sense of activity and evening life."
Fuhr added Panuku was in the early stages of a development agreement for a new hotel in central Manukau.
The Transform Manukau project was finalised in 2016.
In total, 600 hectares in Manukau Central and Wiri were identified as part of the urban regeneration project.
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