The development is expected to contribute $2.3b to the economy, employ 6,000 people and provide affordable housing for 2,000 Kiwis when it is completed in 2027
More than a fifth of the 170 hectares of commercial land available at the country’s largest industrial and residential development have now been sold as businesses look to establish large scale local operations in a post-COVID environment.
Construction on the first of these new warehouses and commercial facilities will begin in late 2021 – with this phase also expected to provide an employment hub for the region.
Stephen Hughes, CEO of Drury South Crossing, a 361-hectare mixed-use development in South Auckland, says already several food suppliers are looking to establish high volume capability locally and there is also interest from a diverse range of other industries including logistics providers and a 10,000 sqm data centre.
Hughes says he’s also had enquiries from US film studios looking to develop some of the land into sound stages and production facilities.
“The agricultural sector is seeing strong growth potential for New Zealand branded products as the pandemic stretches supplies around the world and consumers focus their attention on where their food is sourced from,” he says.
He says increasingly businesses operating at that level need a sizable footage in order to accommodate higher levels of automation.
“What we are seeing is a need from local food producers to store large volumes of export ready product where it can be accessed using automated storage retrieval systems (ASRS), and robotic technology to access products from warehouses that are of a scale we have not generally seen in New Zealand.
“There are relatively few sites left in the Auckland region which can accommodate this scale of operation and it has been encouraging to see that local and international businesses are looking to invest at this level – which will be an essential part of the region’s economic recovery,” he says.
Along with the growth in local business development, Hughes says a clear re-entry pathway into the country is needed for multinational organisations wanting to partner with us.
“This is one of the few times in our modern history where our geographic isolation is a clear competitive advantage and we are going to need more than international students and tourists to restart the economy.
“As a nation we need to create new infrastructure and manufacturing opportunities to provide New Zealanders with some control and certainty over their future.
“We have multinational executives queuing at the country’s door to develop new operations and jobs here. Unfortunately, there is only so much we can do over email and Zoom calls before they need to physically visit the site of their future investment,” he says.
Hughes says consideration is going to be needed as to how these visitors are treated as they come through our quarantine process. Whilst this process is critical to protect Kiwis, a one size fits all approach is not necessarily conducive to securing investments and jobs at the level the country needs.