The 2.84ha property near Ōpōtiki College, known locally as the Sale Yards, has been sold to developers, Kāinga Maha Ltd, for a new housing development with work on the site set to begin later this year.

Ōpōtiki District Council Chief Executive, Aileen Lawrie, said that the process had been very competitive and the development being pursued by Kāinga Maha was a great outcome for the town.

“We initiated a purchase process late last year and it generated a lot of interest in town and from developers further afield. Kāinga Maha became the preferred buyer and council asked that we work further with them to finalise the sale to find an arrangement with wider benefits for the community. The sale went unconditional late last week [subs Wednesday 10 June],” Ms Lawrie said.

The sale yards site is well known in the Ōpōtiki district as for almost a hundred years the site was Ōpōtiki’s stock sale yards. The legacy of that past meant that there was a sheep dip site with contaminated soil on the property that Council arranged to have remediated several years ago.

“With the site cleaned up, we have had a month-by-month lease arrangement in place as we looked for the right buyer.

“Council was clear that the solution was about more than price. I know many locals have imagined all sorts of possibilities for the site over the years – it is a large site, very close to town and amenities like schools, churches and shops. While Kāinga Maha were the highest bidder (and above the asking price) they also provided an opportunity to deal with some of the pressure on housing in town and provide high quality, affordable mixed-use housing on the site, making the most of its location and scale. We have also ensured there are legal mechanisms in place to prevent ‘land banking’ so that development can start promptly.

“The buyers have illustrated their commitment to positive social outcomes through the development. They provided a concept plan for various dwellings on the site and I expect further details on the housing development will be publically available soon. We look forward to seeing progress on site in the coming months,” Ms Lawrie said.