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300 apartments planned for Wellington in HNZ and city council partnership

Up to 300 apartments, including 40 supported living units, are set to be built in a partnership between Housing New Zealand and the city council.

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Councillors will vote next week whether to consult on the proposal, which would see redevelopment of public housing on the site in Mt Cook.

The homes would be built by the government, which would lease the site from the council for 125 years.

The Crown would have an option to buy up to 30 percent of it during that time, to deliver affordable housing.

Consent for the site was yet to be gained, and it was not clear how much the development would cost, or when construction would begin.

Council documents said a masterplan was completed in May last year, but it didn’t focus on detailed design elements or specific costings.

The 40 supported living units would be dedicated to eradicating homelessness in the city, mayor Justin Lester said.

“They will be for those who are currently homeless or have complex addiction treatment requirements, or for those with mental health issues and complex social needs.”

It was a “really significant” proposal for Wellington, as it would make a huge dent in what was needed to address homelessness, he said.

Councillor Brian Dawson said the supported living units were not following the model of a wet house, but it would address the needs of people who had high and complex needs, with access to 24/7 care.

It was undoubtable some people would not want to see the current building, designed by architect Ian Athfield and built in the 1970s, demolished due to heritage value, he said.

It was possible to include the tower in the plans, but it had “serious issues”, and it would cost a lot of money to bring it up to code, and make it fit for housing for social housing, Mr Dawson said.

Housing Minister Phil Twyford said while there was no start date, the prospects of the development going ahead were good.

Mr Lester agreed there was a lot of support for it from the council table.

He said Mt Cook residents had been supportive of the huge amount of social housing in the area, and the council looked forward to having a conversation with them about what was planned.

Mt Cook Mobilise member Peter Cooke said it was too soon to comment on the latest proposal.

RNZ / Laura Dooney