Developers have unveiled plans for a major new logistics and import/export facility north of Hamilton that they say will pump millions of new dollars into the Waikato economy. The development has all its resource consents in place and is ready to go.
Today Northgate Developments managing director Graeme Lee confirmed the company would develop part of the site – around 30-50 hectares - into a state-of-the-art intermodal freight hub that would be major logistics and freight centre for the ‘golden triangle’ made up of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.
Mr Lee said there has been “sustained and growing interest” in the logistics centre concept, partly stimulated by interest in the wider business park. Waikato Milking Systems had already relocated to the park and Northgate was presently working with five other purchasers on the sale of further lots, he said. In total, 14 hectares had already been fully developed.
“That’s really given some impetus to the whole project and has generated some very positive discussions from key players – enough for us to put a stake in the ground and say let’s do it.
“But of course it’s the location which is really driving interest, next to the Waikato Expressway and with direct access to the North Island main trunk railway line.”
He said there was “growing” interest from transport operators wanting access to the railway line and easy access to the Expressway, but without facing resource consent issues or potential delays.
“We’re working with two line haul and distribution companies and expect them to be on board in the next four months.”
Mr Lee confirmed he had been in discussions with both the Ports of Auckland and Port of Tauranga along with Fonterra.
“Major players can see the attributes and potential of the site,” he said.
“Our consents are in place and we’re ready to go – that’s a huge issue dealt with. We have approval from Kiwirail to connect to the North Island main trunk line and that means we can move freight south, north and east. We’ve right next to the Waikato Expressway, a stone’s throw from industrial areas in Hamilton north and barely an hour’s drive to Auckland or Tauranga. The whole package is here.”
Mr Lee estimated the total value of the intermodal freight hub to be around $100 million but said that would depend wholly on the uptake of users and land purchasers. He estimated it could take five – 10 years to reach that value. The development had the potential to pump “millions” into the Waikato economy via business relocations, new business start-ups and services that would be needed to support the logistics and freight centre, he said.
While new jobs would “undoubtedly” be created, it was difficult to estimate how many.
“There will be new jobs during the construction and build phase for sure, but I don’t want to throw figures around.”
Mr Lee said under rules imposed by the Waikato District Council, no retail development or stand-alone office development was allowed on the site.
“And that’s fine, that’s not was this is about. This is an industrial business park, part of which is a logistics and freight centre that we think will become a major export/import player in terms of North Island distribution.”
Northgate Developments had already consulted widely with neighbours during the consenting phase for the park and Mr Lee said all consent conditions would be easily met including those around noise and traffic movements.
“There’s nothing in place that’s unreasonable.”
With plans for the intermodal freight hub now out in the open, Northgate Developments would be “more aggressively” pursuing potential businesses and support companies who would have an interest in either relocating or setting up here. After owning the land since 2005, the company was keen to get moving, he said.
“The time is right, everything is lining up. If we needed to, we could start work tomorrow because all the consents are in place. It will take one construction season to complete the earthworks needed and we’re tentatively planning for that in 2016/2017. But that will depend on the uptake of land.” (see more over)
Plus a recreation area…
Northgate Developments has teamed up with Waikato District Council to develop a recreational area within the business park that will be open to the public.
The land contains streams and gullies that Northgate will turn into walking and running areas. It has worked alongside the Council and local iwi to enhance the stream network by planting trees and other vegetation specifically designed to support bird life and provide shelter for aquatic species.
Stormwater ponds at the park will also be extensively landscaped with the surrounding areas opened up for recreational use. One pond is already completed.
When work is complete, the major streams and gully areas will be vested in Waikato District Council. Northgate has committed to looking after the area for the first two years.
Northgate Developments Ltd managing director
021 922 671