If you build it, will they come? This is the fundamental question facing all new ECE developers, investors, owners and operators.
Time and time again it has been said that the site finding and planning stage of a new childcare centre is the most important and crucial part of the overall development process. The main reason why the site finding and planning stage is the most important is that it sets up the foundations for your development and/or childcare business to be successful from day one and moving forward into the future. Secondly, selecting a suitable site and undertaking sufficient due-diligence prior to fully committing to the project will in the long run likely save you costly mistakes and money in the later stages.
TOP 5 MISTAKES:
Is there demand in the area? As a developer, investor, new owner and/or operator you need to consider the existing competition and any proposed new centres within your area of choice. In addition to existing competition and proposed new centres you also need to give consideration to the number of families within the development area, your target client, the age group your centre will cater for (this will be affected by existing supply and demand) and the model of education and care your facility will run once open.
Is the activity of childcare anticipated under the District Plan and/or the Proposed Plan and can the proposed childcare on the site comply with the development controls of the District Plan and/or Proposed Plan e.g. car parking, noise, character and building bulk. Almost every childcare centre in New Zealand requires a resource consent. The problem is that applying for and obtaining these consents can be a very difficult, costly and time consuming process. There are so many things to consider ranging from noise and traffic effects, mentioned above, through to whether the ground is potentially contaminated and therefore a risk to children’s health. That’s why it is important to have the right team around you when you are developing a new ECE centre.
What activities exist on neighbouring sites and within the surrounding area? Are these activities compatible with childcare? What are the potential reverse sensitivity issues associated with these activities and can the adverse effects of these existing activities or future permitted activities be avoided, remidied or mitigated?
Can the development site be adequately serviced? Every resource consent application submitted to Council to develop a site for the purpose of childcare will need to include supporting assessments and reports to demonstrate that the development site can be adequately serviced for car parking, waste water, stormwater, water supply, fire and rubbish collection.
What are the potential and/or existing hazards on the site or on neighbouring sites? Can these hazards be mitigated? e.g. site contamination, dust, odour, air quality, nosie emissions and flooding. What are the costs associated with mitigating hazards and what are the on-going assessments required to satisfy the Council and the Ministry of Education?
At Establish, we pride ourselves on finding the best sites for our clients. We are able to do this through our specialist knowledge of the ECE sector and extensive town planning experience. We work with our real estate partners to source sites according to our strict criteria and often these sites aren’t currently on the open market. This allows our clients to get access to properties that are otherwise not available for purchase, removing competition from developers looking to develop these sites for residential purposes.