Porirua’s next suburb
Two developers have snapped up Plimmerton Farm north of Porirua, with plans to turn it into the city’s next suburb.
The farm, a 386-hectare site beside State Highway 1, was put on the market once in 2007 and again in January 2016.
During the past two and a half years, multiple offers have flooded in, but the winning bid came from Upper Hutt developer Malcolm Gillies and his business partner Kevin Melville.
The duo plan to build upwards of 1500 sections and 60 lifestyle blocks on the site, with some lots expected to hit the market in late 2020.
Plimmerton Farm is thought to be the largest area of land destined for housing to be sold as a single transaction in the Wellington region.
Gillies said up to 100 sites would be developed every year from the turning of the first sod after the completion of Transmission Gully in 2020.
‘‘That’s not too far away so we are really geared up to make that happen.’’
It would take about 20 years for the site to become fully developed, with commercial and industrial sites also on the cards, he said.
‘‘We are excited about it. We are hoping people will see there is a need for it.
‘‘I’ve heard enough from my industry to know people are already saying they want to build there. This will be a terrific suburb.’’
Gillies and Melville had been eyeing up the farm for about five or six years, he said.
The land is currently zoned for farming, but is part of the Porirua City Council Northern Growth Structure Plan. In 2016, it had a rateable value of $3m, but has previously been assessed as being worth more than $60m.
The Benge family have owned the land, on the eastern side of State Highway 1 between Plimmerton and Whenua Tapu, since the 1960s. In 2006, a detailed assessment was undertaken by a subsidiary of Macquarie Bank, but the sale fell through because of the global financial crisis.
Gollins Commercial principal Chris Gollins said the sale became unconditional last week after a roller coaster two and a half years. ‘‘[Though] it’s really been 11 years as we first got the property under contract in 2007, only to be beaten by the GFC.’’
Interest from potential buyers, including various Chinese groups, failed to get across the line, Gollins said.
‘‘But despite frustrations, the family have remained confident throughout,’’ he said.
Gillies and Melville were the ‘‘perfect developers’’ for the farm, as they had developed more than 1800 sections in the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa over the past 20 years, Gollins said.
Ian Benge has managed the farm since 1979.
It had always been a unique lifestyle for his family, he said.
‘‘We’re really valued the rural and urban mix the farm, so close to a great city community has given us. So too have the wider family and friends who’ve shared it with us.
‘‘The future’s exciting and we won’t be shifting far from here, that’s for sure.’’