Ferncliffe Farm is a greenfield site in the priority-growth area of Tauranga’s Tauriko West. The $70.4 million purchase is the first acquisition under the newly created Kāinga Ora Land Programme, set up to lead strategic land acquisitions to enable housing and thriving communities in areas of need.
Kāinga Ora General Manager Urban Planning and Design, Katja Lietz, says the acquisition will bring much needed housing options to the area.
“There is high demand for not only market homes, but also affordable and public housing in Tauranga,” she says.
“A site this large, developed by Kāinga Ora and its partners, can provide this mix of housing, meeting the needs of a broad cross-section of the community.”
Tauriko West is one of five priority development areas in the Western Bay of Plenty under the SmartGrowth urban growth partnership. SmartGrowth is a collaboration of local government, tangata whenua, and central government, set up to plan for growth across the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region.
Chair of SmartGrowth, Peter Winder, says the Kāinga Ora acquisition aligns well with the partnership’s strategy.
“SmartGrowth provides a unified vision, direction and voice for the future of the Western Bay of Plenty as we help develop a great place to live, learn, work and play,” he says.
“The strategy identifies opportunities for building our community, while ensuring a balanced approach to growth management. Kāinga Ora is a trusted partner for SmartGrowth and the purchase of Ferncliffe Farm is a strategic move for the partnership, unlocking development and increasing housing supply, especially at the more affordable end of the market.”
Katja Lietz says the collaborative approach that Kāinga Ora has to development means the urban development agency will be working with a broad range of partners across the region.
“Early engagement has been very positive and we look forward to further strengthening our relationships with key partners such as local hapū and community groups as our plans develop. Discussions with adjacent landowners and the council have been focussed on how we can jointly plan for the success of the wider Tauriko West area and bring homes to the area as fast as possible,” she says.
Nearby Tauriko Business Estate employs more than 5,000 people and the area forms part of the Tauranga Western Corridor that will in future be connected with Te Papa and the rest of the city through a high-frequency public transport network.
“Throughout the development, we will partner with local firms and our aim is to help grow the local construction sector through our investment,” says Ms Lietz.
“Not only will this development bring further employment to the area, it also opens up opportunities for greater investment in infrastructure such as roading, public transport and schools in the area.”
Development planning and design work for the site is now underway, with preliminary plans indicating approximately 1,000 homes can be built on a portion of the site. The low-lying wetland areas and steep sections included on the site will be protected and enhanced, creating recreation areas for the community to enjoy the natural biodiversity of the area.
“Ferncliffe Farm is a long-term investment in housing and we are clear that we want this investment to drive positive outcomes not only for Tauriko West but for the whole of Tauranga,” says Ms Lietz.
“The extensive planning, earthworks and land development requirements mean construction should begin in approximately three to four years. Our aim is to accelerate timeframes for housing delivery as much as possible at both Ferncliffe Farm and neighbouring land through collaboration and proactive planning.
“Once complete, we are confident Ferncliffe will be a thriving community that will bring huge benefits to this vibrant and fast-growing city.”