Model for Wellington CBD affordable and pet-friendly apartments showed off

Pet friendly, wallet friendly apartments for Wellington could make inner city living achievable for young professionals.

On Taranaki St a two-bedroom unit used to be hotel space, now it’s a model for the Wellington City Council’s affordable rental scheme, and would cost about about $550 a week to rent.

Project leader developer Alex Cassels said people and city workers wanted to live in the CBD but options were limited.

Wellington city councillor Brian Dawson, who holds the housing portfolio, project leader and developer Alex Cassels, Wellington mayor Justin Lester, and Dawson’s dog Wicket visited the new apartment on Wednesday.

“We want an affluent city but we also want a city that accommodates students and workers.”

On Taranaki St a two-bedroom unit used to be hotel space, now it’s a model for the Wellington City Council’s affordable rental scheme, and would cost about about $550 a week to rent.

Every year, there were reports of people lining up outside of apartments and flats in the city and nearby suburbs.

“People not being able to come to Wellington and find flats is disastrous for the city.”

In September  The Wellington Company teamed with the council for a 15-year lease agreement to provide 35 affordable rental apartments for CBD workers.

In a second announcement on Wednesday, the company said it had ringfenced a further three commercial buildings for conversion – room for 500 people.

The apartment scheme is geared towards working people who may struggle with rental affordability, including nurses, teachers, public sector workers.

Apartments would be pet-friendly and have free wi-fi.

They would also be suitable for minor amendments and be available for long-term leases which, Cassels said, would encourage them to be treated like homes.

The inconvenience of commuting was negated by an inner-city complex.

Money that young workers could save on commuting costs could be spent at inner city businesses, he said.

The council says the partnership is the first of its kind in New Zealand.

Mayor Justin Lester had a look at the new model apartment on Taranaki St on Wednesday.

At a council meeting on December 6, councillors would consider three similar further proposals, he said.

The council had received about 40 initial expressions of interest for the scheme, which was announced in September.

Under the scheme, The Wellington Company would own the property, which the council would lease at a generous rate.

That low rate would be passed on to tenants as affordable rent.

Rents would increase only according to the CPI – not increasing with market rate, Lester said.  The amount would depend on the property and other factors.

Other proposals to develop commercial property in the same way were still coming out of the woodwork, he said.

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