The old blocks of state housing in Asquith Ave were vacated five years ago and then demolished. It will be a year until the new social housing units are ready to be occupied – and who knows how long after that before the planned private houses are ready for sale.
Housing NZ has finally revealed what new homes will share its land at 33 Asquith Ave with the 20 state apartment units.
Despite the rumours (and some media reports) that the Government may take some of the 8094sq m under its KiwiBuild programme for first-home buyers, the corporation now says the original plan for 20 four-bedroom houses to be sold privately will go ahead… though in a different form.
When the site masterplan was disclosed in March, 2016, the proposal was for the 20 one-bedroom state units and 20 four-bedroom private homes to be built at the same time – with tenants and buyers moving in about the same time.
All that was to have happened around the middle of this year. But it seems the agency misjudged both the resource consent and tender rounds, leading to a year-long delay to the project start.
By the time it finally got under way in early February – five years after the last tenants were moved out of the web of small homes on the site, which were then demolished – HNZ had changed its plans.
Rather than proceeding with a full development, the corporation revealed for the first time that its contractors would prepare the site for development but only build the 20 state units.
So what did that mean? At the time, it was difficult to know because the corporation was saying nothing and the office of the Housing Minister Phil Twyford was no more helpful.
But now, more than a month after questions raised by Mt Albert Inc, a Housing NZ executive has finally shed some light on what’s planned. Or, rather, what may be planned.
“HNZ still intends to sell these sites to developers for the construction of the homes as per the resource consent once the sub-division is complete,” she says. “These homes will then be sold to private owners.”
Obviously, “still intends” leaves an escape route if minds are later changed. But it seems from the statement that the corporation will now try to find a developer – or several developers – to take advantage of the existing resource consent and architectural plans.
Presumably, they will be sold the 20 sub-divided lots (with the returns going to HNZ to contribute to the cost of the state units) and then build the houses for private sale.
When will that happen? No idea.
But with site works underway and no news yet on the private houses, it seems very unlikely they will be built at the same time as the social housing, which is due to be completed by March next year.
It could be closer to 2019 – or even beyond – before the land is fully occupied.