Rolleston is becoming a highly sought-after location for Christchurch industrial property occupiers, with local roading improvements a major catalyst for increases in land prices in the town’s industrial estates.
Savills Industrial brokers Ben Dwan, Mitchell Ryder and Greg O’Brien say the Southern Motorway extension is having a significant effect on Rolleston industrial property values.
While south-west Christchurch, in particular Hornby, has traditionally been “the place to be” for industrial occupiers since the earthquakes, the market’s focus is now extending further west to include Rolleston, says Dwan.
“Industrial occupiers are aware of the positive effect the Christchurch Southern Motorway Stage 2 project is likely to have on the area, with travel times between central Christchurch and Rolleston expected to halve. This will result in Rolleston effectively being considered part of the Christchurch metropolitan area for occupiers of industrial property.”
Land values rising
Land values have been rising, with average bare industrial land prices in Rolleston having increased by 78% in the six years from 2012 to 2017, according to sales data from CoreLogic.
The average sale value of bare industrial land in Rolleston in 2012 was $105 per square metre, with six sites sold during the year. By 2017, the average sale value had risen to $187 a square metre, across 14 transactions.
Impacts of the Southern Motorway
The Southern Motorway extension, which is due to open in early 2020, will propel Rolleston onto the regional map for logistics, distribution and transport-related companies, who rely on well-functioning road transport links, Ryder says.
“The motorway extension will be a major asset for exporters, importers, distributors and logistics operators. Travel times to key freight destinations including the airport and Lyttelton Port will be significantly reduced,” he says.
“This is one of the most significant roading projects in Canterbury’s history, which will bring benefits for property owners and occupiers in key locations along its route including Hornby and Rolleston.”
Rolleston also offers occupiers the added benefit of rail access, with the South Island main trunk line and the Midland line intersecting in Rolleston.
The new motorway, combined with rail transit options and good availability of high-quality, freehold land, means occupiers are now looking at Rolleston as a viable alternative to Hornby, says O’Brien.
Only industrial area with inland ports
Rolleston is also the only industrial area in Christchurch to feature inland ports, with Lyttelton Port’s 27ha Midland Port and Port of Tauranga’s 15ha MetroBox inland port both based in the town. These facilities are among the largest inland ports in New Zealand.
Two major industrial estates in Rolleston – Selwyn District Council’s Izone Business Hub and Carter Group’s IPort – make up over 300 hectares of industrial land between them.
IPort director Tim Carter says that with 94% of Canterbury's exports already going through Rolleston, it is an ideal aggregation point for road and rail logistics users.
One of the latest industrial building projects underway at IPort is a major new facility for MOVE Logistics on a 2.5ha site. The facility is under construction and is expected to be ready for MOVE Logistics to occupy in February next year.
20 sites at IPort, ranging in size from 800m2 to 1.1ha, are now either sold or under contract, says Carter.
“Section sales and construction activity at IPort are progressing very well and we’ve been getting consistently high levels of enquiry from potential occupiers. Rolleston is well on its way to housing a critical mass of logistics-related occupiers, with freight links that are among the best in the South Island,” he says.
“The superior transport access, as well as the two major inland ports in Rolleston, will drive huge efficiencies for logistics and freight-related occupiers in Rolleston and around the South Island.”
New retail centre
Carter Group is also developing a convenience retail centre, named IRetail, on an 11,000m2 site adjacent to IPort and facing State Highway One. Resource consent has been granted and construction is expected to commence this year. Retail tenancies in the centre, which is next to the new NPD petrol station, are now being offered for lease through Savills.
Selwyn District’s population is expected to grow from just under 54,000 people in 2016 to over 67,000 in 2025, according to Selwyn District Council’s growth projections. Rolleston is expected to be the biggest contributor to the district’s future population growth.