Two heavyweights of the property business in Hawke’s Bay have joined forces in a new venture to fill the residential needs of the empty-nester, pre-retirement house owner.
Tremains Group managing partners Simon Tremain and Cam Ward have teamed up with Wallace Development Company managing director Jonathan Wallace to tap into the market that Mr Tremain said he identified a couple of years ago.
“At that point we felt the market was about to move and looked at acquiring blocks of land that had potential for residential development – the first was Howard St,” he said, referring to the block of land between Hastings and Havelock North that was recently zoned residential by the Hastings District Council.
Although Tremains Group was well-established in the real estate industry, Mr Tremain said the time was right to add a residential development arm to the business.
“We brought Jonathan on board from a financial perspective and because he has more than 30 years development experience – it will be Wallace Development’s first time in residential.”
Mr Ward, who joined Tremains Group in 2010, was the “ideas man” who drove the purchase of some of the lots, which along with Howard St included Guppy Rd, Ahuriri Rd, and Napier Rd, Havelock North, all of which were tagged for similar developments.
“With our experience Jonathan and I will bring our names and brands to the venture – people will know they are quality developments, built to a high standard,” Mr Tremain said.
The expansion was a logical step for Tremains Group, he added.
“We wanted multiple lots to help our business and provide a flow of opportunities and leads.”
There were 72 properties planned for Howard St and 65 for Guppy Rd, but Mr Tremain stressed they were not gated communities.
“They are in general residential areas and we don’t intend to have a shut gate on them.
“They are like a village – they have similar sized properties, which are a lot smaller than your average residential home.”
He said the “lifestyle village” was for people aged 50 and over who would own the properties but could also rent them out as long as the tenants abided by the body corporate rules (including tenants being 50 years or older).
For an annual fee the body corporate took care of the general outdoor maintenance of the properties.
The units were all two-bedroom with a single garage, and were of a similar design and colour palette, with rules around changing these specifications.
“These properties appeal to people who are empty-nesters, who want to lock up and travel, people who currently have family homes but now want to have a bit of cash,” Mr Tremain said.
“It’s a step before retirement – they might be talking to their families and kids about where to next, maybe they don’t need a three-bedroom house any more.
“We already have a lot of people who are keen.”
To date the Ahuriri Rd development was on the market and under construction, Napier Rd was on the market, and Guppy Rd had just had its resource consent approved and was about to go to market.
At Howard Rd, there was a 30 working day time period for people to appeal the council’s re-zoning decision, but in the meantime Mr Tremain said the resource consent application would be submitted for consideration.
There had been some criticism of the plan change from within the horticulture sector that productive land was being zoned for housing.
Mr Tremain countered that all the land in the Heretaunga area was prime horticultural land.
“There’s a huge demand for residential – and the area between Howard St and Havelock North is a logical part of the plains to take into general residential.”
He bought the land off Robbie Ker, who eight or nine years ago sought to turn it into a lifestyle residential development with about 60 to 70 units.
The Hastings District Council did not approve his plans, and he subsequently went further afield and built multiple lifestyle villages in Wairarapa, Kapiti Coast and Motueka.
“The council are a pack of bunnies – they not only missed out on a $1.2 million
development fee they missed out on income from 60 to 70 ratepayers,” he said.
He said the area of land was too small and too residential already to be of any value as horticultural land.
“I’m delighted that Simon has given it a go.”
As for his own developments, which were the same model villages that Mr Tremain was offering, he said there was a huge demand for them.
“We can’t build them fast enough – we have built about 12 to 13 so far and we know they go well.”