Proposed new campus for University

13 September 2012

The University of Auckland has entered into a conditional agreement to purchase the 5.2ha former Lion Breweries site in Newmarket, in what is potentially its most significant property acquisition in a generation.

If successful, the University will use the site as the basis for long-term development of a mixed use campus, with space for purpose-built teaching and research facilities, student accommodation, business development and other facilities. This strategic move will eventually see the University consolidate its activities at the City, Grafton and Newmarket campuses, benefiting city life and bringing in new commercial opportunities.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon says the proposed site presents a major new opportunity which will be integral to the University’s growth strategy for the next 50 years. The Newmarket site offers long term growth potential close to the City and Grafton campuses.

“In the last eight years alone we have raised entry standards for our students, increased research performance, invested about $600m in campus development and grown our annual economic contribution to the City and nation by about $2.3 billion to $6 billion. In order to support and sustain our ambitious growth path, the University needs to build or acquire additional space at a rate of about 6000m² of gross floor area per annum for the foreseeable future. In 2008 we consulted widely on, and subsequently adopted, a plan to concentrate our academic activities on the City and Grafton Campuses. However, at 6,000 m² p.a. these two campuses can sustain only 10-15 years of growth.

“The Newmarket site provides a significant opportunity for the University to manage its growth requirements over the next 50 years. The site’s benefits include proximity to the City and Grafton campuses; the opportunity to integrate campus development; shared major transport routes with the City and Grafton campuses; and additional space for student accommodation and other facilities to name a few.”

Should the University proceed with the acquisition, it would need to exit the Tāmaki Campus in part or whole in order to rationalise its campus holdings both to help pay for, and maximize the benefits of, the new site.

Chancellor Roger France says the University Council is enthusiastic about the prospect of acquiring the Newmarket site. “This is a wonderful opportunity not only to secure the University’s growth path for the foreseeable future on a site close to the existing campuses, but also for the redevelopment of a site that is of critical importance to the City.”

The University is now conducting due diligence on the site and a decision on whether to go unconditional will be made at the April 2013 Council meeting, says Mr France.