Betts Corner Apartments: From car park to urban design haven01/07/2021 10:43am
Conveniently set at the foot of Piki Mai and a short walk to Nelson’s city centre, Betts Corner Apartments are a great example of how Council can work with developers to provide great housing urban design outcomes for our city.
Previously a car park, the site was purchased by the Scott Syndicate Partnership specifically to create an apartment development. Designed by local architects Arthouse, the building contains 17 apartments optimised to benefit from natural light, ventilation and views.
Vibrant housing options close to Nelson’s city centre are a key part of Council’s strategy for housing intensification. One way this can be achieved is through the use of Special Housing Areas (SHAs), a now-defunct tool made available in 2015 when Council entered into a Housing Accord with central government.
SHAs allowed Councils to recommend the Government allows a fast-tracked, non-notified consenting process for developments on Council-owned land. This was used for housing that met Council’s affordability and/or intensification goals.
Council-owned Betts Carpark, situated a stone’s throw from the city centre, was deemed an excellent spot to leverage city centre residential living. At Council’s recommendation, it was gazetted by the government as a Special Housing Area.
Expressions of interest were sought from developers to show how the site could achieve urban design requirements set by Council.
After reviewing submissions, Scott Syndicate Development Company was awarded the proposal. Council provided support by allowing settlement and final payment (at market value) to be delayed until the developer gained resource and building consents.
Craig Dennis, from the Scott Construction syndicate, says it’s important people understand the number of moving parts in a development.
“One of the strengths of our syndicate was getting the right expertise round the table. We had an architect, a civil engineer, the builder, finance, and the fifth owner was the neighbour.
“Outside of that circle, the success of the project can depend on our interactions with other advisors, including Council. High-end support from Council was fantastic. When it comes to intensification we are all on the same page.”
This is a cost-neutral way for Council to help developers with risks associated with financing and up-front consenting costs, making a development more viable.
Team Leader City Development Lisa Gibellini says Council would consider this model again.
“We would be particularly interested in working with developers who are looking to achieve a lower price point for different parts of the housing market.
“Council is actively reviewing its property portfolio to identify any further land that may be surplus to requirements and available to leverage increased housing supply.”