Congestion driving businesses north
North Harbour has been identified as an area of strategic growth to both Auckland and New Zealand but increasing traffic congestion and decreasing available land could deter more businesses from establishing in the country’s biggest commercial Business Improvement District.
The Business North Harbour area is currently home to more than 4500 commercial properties and businesses which are on average less than 20 years old, however, Barfoot and Thompson commercial sales manager Simon Farland anticipated businesses trying to get into the area could struggle.
‘‘We will ultimately see a loss of business to other locations like Silverdale and Hobsonville as transport linkages improve, and congestion gets worse in the Albany area, and also as a direct result of lack of commercial land remaining in the Albany business area, particularly for light industrial uses,’’ Farland said.
Despite Farland describing vacancy in all commercial sectors is at an all-time low in Albany, the exit of a tertiary institution from the area has left a large vacant building in the industrial estate. Unitec closed its North Shore campus at the end of 2016 due to low enrolment numbers and the 9719.8 square metre former campus building, with 131 car parks, on Rothwell Ave has been on the market ever since.
Advertising for the property, which is at 10 Rothwell Ave, said the deadline for the private treaty sale was December 6, 2017. An agent from Colliers International said the building is currently under contract.
Further down Rothwell Ave is an example of a business leaving the area to head north. Online retailer Mighty Ape is moving out of its Rothwell Ave site and shifting to a $14.2 million purpose-built warehouse in Silverdale - which has more space - this year.
Farland said the current occupier mix for the Albany area is dynamic and includes smaller start-up companies as well as corporate headquarters.
Massey University highlighted the growth of the construction and technology industries in Auckland North as reasons why the university is proposing changes to the courses on offer at the Albany campus which borders the Business North Harbour area. In 2015, Massey University’s deputy vice chancellor Ted Zorn said his institution was driving to make Auckland North the next ‘‘Silicon Valley’’.