International investors eye Auckland opportunities

Published: 29 April 2015
Filed under: Invest

Major new property developments in Auckland are attracting unprecedented international business investor interest, including from major institutions.

As the city’s economic growth agency, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) leads the region’s various programmes to attract international investors on behalf of Auckland Council.

In the past year, ATEED and its public and private sector partners have engaged with international institutional investors through a series of targeted activities and built relationships with investors from the US, UK, China, India, Singapore and Australia.

ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says the programmes have resulted in a number of recent visits by investors to Auckland, and a strong pipeline of investment interest.

In addition, ATEED is well on the way to meeting its 2014/15 financial year target of directly facilitating $252 million in new business attraction and investment for Auckland, and has already exceeded its target of facilitating the arrival or major operational expansion of five multi-national companies in the region.

“This financial year, our work has so far directly resulted in six multi-nationals coming to Auckland or expanding here, and $152 million investment by companies in high-tech manufacturing, ICT, and financial and professional services,” says Brett O’Riley.

Mayor Len Brown says it is great to see Auckland Council’s strategic direction paying dividends: "Auckland is engaging with investors who have proven track records across a range of world-leading developments – from affordable housing through to mixed-use intensified projects which create a sense of vibrancy, attractive urban environments, and directly stimulate economic growth".

Len Brown says the strategic direction outlined in the Auckland Plan and the Draft Unitary Plan, the current residential supply demand pressure, and Auckland's forecast growth, have combined to create a compelling investment case.

“Auckland is clearly in the thinking of major investors, and that can only provide more impetus to our growing economy.”

Brett O’Riley says that following various successful investor visits, ATEED is working on project feasibility and turning interest into concrete emerging investment activity.

“We are attracting investors keen to build hotels, residential and commercial developments. They are highly experienced at developing integrated precincts for industries such as ICT and screen production which can provide a range of benefits for Auckland, such as areas of relatively affordable housing, and reducing demand pressure on transport infrastructure by bringing new jobs into local communities.

“Overseas examples show that locating innovation-based businesses alongside available housing stimulates new high-value jobs, and people like being able to walk or cycle to their nearby workplace." Through its engagement with international investors, ATEED has looked at urban property development trends in locations as diverse as India, Australia, UK, and the US west coast. The latter is a benchmark for Auckland, which aspires in the Auckland Plan to be an innovation hub of the Asia-Pacific.

“In cities such as Seattle, leading innovative companies including Amazon are locating their offices in new developments where housing is available for their workers. Companies are paying bonuses to staff for living near their workplace due to the health, productivity, sustainability and engagement benefits,” says Brett O’Riley.

Waterfront Auckland's Wynyard Quarter development mirrors this trend, with high density housing being built near the GridAKL innovation precinct being managed by ATEED. Already the development is attracting international interest and accolades.

Brett O'Riley says Wynyard Quarter is a great local model of integrated development, and existing Auckland property investors and developers are responding. Similar brownfield integrated developments are contemplated for areas including New Lynn, Newmarket, Takapuna and Mt Eden, and greenfield developments elsewhere.

As part of its economic growth role, ATEED incubated the new Auckland Investment Office over the past 18 months. The AIO is unit within Auckland Council to coordinate engagement with major investors for the city’s transformational projects. It reports to council Chief Executive Stephen Town, and is responsible for managing opportunities involving multiple council agencies and the private sector.

ATEED is also reviewing its Business Attraction and Investment (BA&I) division to respond to increased demands and activities.

"To make sure we capitalise on the interest and opportunities, existing resources are likely to be re-allocated to increase the capability and capacity of the AIO and ATEED’s BA&I division. We will also continue to expand our partnerships with the private sector and central government agencies,” says Brett O’Riley.

The proposed establishment of Development Auckland, a merged council-controlled organisation, will also consolidate the city’s property development capability and further support investor interest.

 

Ends


For more information contact: Chris Gregory, ATEED Media Manager.

Phone: 027 292 3601; chris.gregory@aucklandnz.com