This is the problem with intensification. It’s hard to build.

Yet planners at Council believe that by squeezing their eyes shut and wishfully dreaming – Auckland will transform magically into a wonderland urban oasis of goodness. It’s so easy and developers are land banking or being lazy they say.

The problem is that property development is insanely difficult. That’s why developers go bust so easy. One mistake and it’s over.

Auckland’s troubled Orakei Bay Village project has been resurrected on a smaller scale.

Development company Equinox Group has been trying to develop a block of land adjacent to the Orakei Train Station for almost a decade.

The process has been plagued by consenting issues, escalating construction costs and opposition from residents.

In late 2015 the company shelved the project, cancelling $100 million worth of off-the-plan sales.   

“I’m as frustrated as they are,” Equinox director Kerry Knight says.

“We had some buyers we let down. I’m also frustrated a prime piece of land like this can’t be developed.”

After much hand wringing and sweaty nights the much needed consents come in so late from Council – that the construction market has increased costs resulting in the project no longer being viable. See – too bloody hard.

Mr Knight is no amateur from what I can gather. But he is like so many developers out there – they find intensification a struggle. I bet he would rather have a wedgie than go back through that process again.

It’s also quite obvious that very few New Zealand constructors have the skills to deal with intensive projects. As soon as a rush goes on they all get bogged down with a back log of construction jobs and costs increase.

Which means plenty of projects get canned.

Not forgetting that Auckland Council is a donkey’s arse at consent processing.

So it’s no wonder that nobody believes in the same utopian dream as Council. Because it’s too hard and nobody can be bothered.

 

– Fairfax


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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