The industry outreach event was a knowledge sharing exercise, using the Hobsonville Point development as a case study.

The aim was for Kāinga Ora to profile a medium-density large-scale development that has progressed well, recognising the partnering with multiple private sector organisations, to share what has been achieved, showcase successes and to reflect on what could be done differently for the success of future developments.

The group were taken on a walking tour to experience the community feel of the development first-hand. They were shown a range of housing typologies, examples of the available amenity including greenspace, and some of the repurposed buildings, that showed that the development retained some of its heritage character.

Speaking after the event, Property Council Training Academy Manager Sally Schmall said: “Learning first-hand the opportunities, challenges and importance of partnering with community stakeholders from people involved at various stages of this planned community provided excellent insight for our future property leaders. A big thanks to all those involved.”

Upon returning to the offices, the attendees were split into three groups for separate discussions around the commercial aspects of the development, the benefits of investing in amenity upfront and the role of urban design in large-scale developments, including the value of a masterplan and urban design panel in ensuring quality housing proposals from a range of developers.

“There was a strong vision that was created for Hobsonville Point, resulting from successful collaboration between the council, the community and what was then the Hobsonville Land Company (HLC). It was all about creating a vibrant community through quality, accessible urban development with an environmental focus,” says Sue Evans, Director Urban Design at Kāinga Ora.

“To get there, we had thought about other suburbs in Auckland that are examples of density done well, such as Freemans Bay and Ponsonby. We looked at the features that they share, such as smaller sites, houses that overlook the street, architectural variety and spaces that are ‘friendly’ and walkable. It was those shared values that underpinned what we wanted to achieve at Hobsonville Point.”

Sue also talked about the importance of having a masterplan when it came to making Hobsonville Point an attractive proposition for developers.

“The land at Hobsonville Point was basically just paddocks and the job of our team was to sell it to developers, to buy and build at a density that was pretty much unheard of at that time in New Zealand. We had to create a buzz and share our vision - a masterplan allowed us to carefully articulate what features could go here. We also understood the importance of amenity and, in particular, delivering some of that amenity upfront.”

Hobsonville Point Project Director, Rachelle Raw, elaborated on the impact that the early investment in amenity has had on the success of the development.

“A couple of years ago, we did some research to find out what the consequences of the upfront investment were, had it made a difference to the people that live there, had it made a difference to the developers and what had it done for our land sale prices?”

“The resounding feedback from our development partners was that the amenity had really helped them to sell the houses at pace, and at a desirable price point. They made particular mention of the parks and greenspaces, the cafes and the ferry service as having the most impact and this is something we have taken note of for future developments, says Rachelle”.

“While it did mean they had to pay a bit more for the lots, they were able to come in and focus solely on delivering high-quality, well-designed homes; subsequently recouping those upfront costs.

“If we are to speak in purely monetary terms, the upfront investment also made good economic sense. It was found that for every dollar invested, we got an additional $1.87 back, with our land values around 10% higher than those in comparable developments. This has helped to reinforce the value of investing in amenity upfront and is something we have put a focus on in our other large-scale projects.”