Apartments for Auckland


By 2017 more than half of all new homes built in Auckland will be part of apartment blocks or terraced homes.

According to architecture and research company RCG’s latest publication, Constructive Thinking, this shows Aucklanders may be warming up to the idea of attached housing.

“Based on building consent data and our own forecasts, 53 per cent of the new homes built in Auckland will be attached by 2017. This is a considerable shift from the average of the last 20 years, which has been closer to 35 per cent.”

The increase in attached homes fits with trends in comparable Australian cities, RCG said.

“Demand for medium density living is booming here. In Australia’s three largest
cities at least 60 per cent of new homes are attached.”

Rising house prices, an aging population, shrinking household sizes and record migration levels are citied as key drivers behind the trend.

RCG economist and associate director John Polkinghorne said attached housing is an attractive option for many people.

“Auckland’s population continues to grow rapidly, and for many people, a well
located and affordable apartment or terraced home is becoming a really attractive
option, compared to a standalone house on the city fringe,” Polkinghorne said.

RCG associate director of research John Polkinghorne.

In findings released this month, Barfoot & Thompson surveyed 500 Aucklanders aged 18 to 34 who were yet to own property.

Around 70 per cent of would-be homeowners are still aiming for a standalone Auckland house, with just 9 per cent willing to consider an apartment, it found.

Auckland CBD, Stonefields, Albany, the Western CBD and the Southern CBD are the most effected areas by increased density.


  • Aimee Shaw
  • NZ Herald
  • Photo: Getty Images

Luxury apartments for Christchurch

getimage (15)Christchurch’s tallest post-quake apartment complex is about to take shape opposite Cranmer Square. To be called West Kilmore Precinct, a $40 million plus complex will be erected 11 storeys tall with apartments priced between $450,000 and at least $1.2 million. The site is the corner of Kilmore St and Cranmer Square where Ernst and Young House stood before the quakes.

Christchurch property developer Grant MacKinnon is behind the project. His previous projects include the now-demolished Gallery Apartments in Gloucester St. MacKinnon has an investor he does not wish to name, but confirmed it was a local now living overseas. Although building height restrictions in the area were lowered to 11 metres in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, MacKinnon has existing use rights to build more than twice as high.

West Kilmore Precinct will consist of four buildings with different heights. Stage one will have 15 one and two bedroom apartments priced from $450,000 to $950,000, and is due to be finished in winter. Stage two will be two-connected buildings finished in mid-2017. They will be 11-storeys high with 35 apartments of up to three bedrooms and priced from $500,000 to $1.2 million. The third stage had not been finalised but would have six ‘‘higher end’’ apartments.

getimage (16)The complex will be full height facing north, with roof heights stepped down towards the south. MacKinnon bought the property in 2012 with the apartment plan in mind. He believes it is one of the best sites in the city, with views over both Cranmer Square and Hagley Park. About 20 of the apartments are pre-sold or under option. However he described the highend apartment market in the central city as difficult. ‘‘It’s a hard market to work in. Lots of people are looking and some are buying, but they’re careful”. ‘‘But we are appealing to some people. It’s a small number and there is still some nervousness about coming back into the central city but that’s rapidly falling away.’’

MacKinnon said he was pleased to see other apartment developments in the area. These include developer New-Urban Group’s Chinese-backed low-rise 30-apartment plan for the old Cranmer Courts site across the road, and the eight-storey Verve Precinct apartments going up to replace The Est@blishment on Peterborough St. ‘‘It’s encouraging that other people are doing it as well, as long as they do it right,’’ MacKinnon said.

Other apartment developments have failed to get traction, including the Miro complex planned for Colombo St and the Crown-run Breathe urban village project opposite Latimer Square. Real estate agent Mark O’Loughlin of Harcourts, who is marketing West Kilmore and specialises in central city apartment developments, said demand was coming from younger owners or investors wanting ‘‘affordable’’ apartments, and ‘‘younger baby boomers’’ looking for a lifestyle.

There was very little demand for family apartments in the central city, he said. O’Loughlin said there seemed to be a recent groundswell of buyers looking at inner city apartments, and he had sold more in the past six months than at any time since the quakes.


  • The Press
  • Liz McDonald

Crane’s on the up!

b05da9d38926ca2edb40cabe148a38a0ab0f51fd_620x310The Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index revealed that Auckland is the country’s crane capital with 33 followed by Christchurch with 31.

Auckland director Chris Haines said there were now 79 cranes up nationally and the busiest sectors were commercial followed by multi-level residential buildings.

In the past six months 43 new cranes were installed nationally: 17 in Auckland and 23 in Christchurch.

The crane count provides a good, simple indication of new building activity as well as general economic activity in each of these locations, the business said.

The index tracked activity in the last quarter in Auckland and showed that within the commercial sector, three cranes were erected including on Datacom in Gaunt St and at Britomart. Commercial projects nearing completion include the St Albans development and Mansons in Victoria St West, Rider Levett Bucknall said.

“The Wynyard Quarter currently has three tower cranes. While five cranes have been removed from residential sites , 10 have been erected. New projects include The Pulse, Symonds St, Wakefield St, Augustus Tce, Rosedale Rd, Swanson St, Rangitiri Rd and Windsor Park,” Rider said. “Cranes have been removed from Howe St, Newton Rd, Exmouth Tce, Carlaw Park and Karangahape Rd. In the civil sector, cranes have been removed from Waterview Tunnel, the Lincoln Rd widening project and Te Atatu interchange but three cranes have been sighted on the SH20A roads and bridge works … ”


  • NZ Herald

Focus on apartments for Auckland


The Merchant Quarter apartments in New Lynn

Nearly 6000 new apartments are set to be built across Auckland over the next three years, with most planned for suburban and city fringe areas rather than the CBD, new research reveals.

The new housing stock includes developments that are currently being marketed, have building consent or are under construction.

Thousands of other properties are still in the pre-planning stages or envisaged on surplus land being freed up for private developers by Auckland Council and the Crown.

The new apartment stock will help address a drastic housing shortage that has seen house prices soar across the city by 20 per cent in the past year to a new record median of $749,000 last month, according to Real Estate Institute data.

apartmentCommercial real estate agency CBRE has released figures on the Auckland apartment market.

They show the city has 26,500 apartments in 393 buildings, 68 per cent of which are in the CBD.

Another 5723 apartments in 87 buildings are in the “active development pipeline” and set to be completed by late 2018. This represents a 20 per cent increase in apartment stock – to 32,000 apartments in 480 buildings.

While apartments have traditionally been built mainly in the CBD, the number constructed in fringe suburbs and suburban areas is forecast to reach an all-time high next year, with 1170 units due for completion in fringe areas, 960 in suburban zones and 790 in the CBD.

The new housing is planned right across the city, from Orewa to Pukekohe, and Beachlands to Henderson.

CBRE senior managing director Brent McGregor said 530 apartments in 12 buildings had already been completed this year, and a further 1486 added to the pipeline – more than half of them outside the CBD.

“What this research shows us is that the time of the fringe city and suburban apartment has come. Developers are responding to demand from people looking for affordable and attractive places to live, and apartment living is on the list all over the city.” Additional developments still in pre-planning stages included CBD towers, under-utilised fringe sites, building conversions, wider estate developments and new low-rise buildings in greenfield suburban areas.

Real Estate Institute chief executive Colleen Milne said affordability and supply were the main catalysts for Auckland’s housing problems.

“Apartments make excellent use of the land and often provide extra facilities, off street parking and location.”

The research follows warnings that an over-supply of low-quality apartments could send prices plummeting.


  • Lane Nichols
  • NZ Herald
  • Photo: Doug Sherring

Auckland pips Christchurch

e2b0b50ef34483e3fa418ce128f8f5293f790d54_620x311New Zealand has 72 large fixed cranes up – 29 in Auckland, 23 in Christchurch, nine in Wellington, five in Queenstown, three in Tauranga, two in Hamilton and one in Dunedin.

Chris Haines, Rider Levett Bucknall Auckland director, said his company’s crane index showed how active the construction sector was because 43 new cranes went up in the past six months, mainly in Auckland and Christchurch.

Construction work nationally last year was up 42 per cent on 2012, Haines said.

Thirteen new Auckland cranes were put up since last year’s third quarter, including on Dominion Rd, Lynn Mall, and city office buildings at Wynyard and Victoria St West.

Further cranes were erected at the Auckland Theatre Company at Wynyard, Rothesay Bay apartments, Hobson St, Summit on Karangahape Rd, Albany’s Rose Gardens apartments and elsewhere, Haines said.

Residential projects represent 37 per cent of Auckland crane work, followed by civil projects at 22 per cent and commercial at 19 per cent.


  • Anne Gibson
  • NZ Herald
  • Photo: Greg Bowker

Auckland’s waterfront regeneration


Planned laneways for Wynyard Quarter

Much has been said about the waterfront’s role in the revitalisation of Auckland in recent years. The opening up of Wynyard Quarter and Queens Wharf with new public spaces, bars, restaurants and commercial spaces has transformed Aucklanders’ connection with the water’s edge.


A new commercial building proposed for Halsey St, Wynyard Quarter

When you factor in this is just the start of a 25-year project, we’re looking at a level of urban regeneration not seen before in the central city. This requires robust planning and stakeholder engagement, smart investment in public infrastructure, strategic land and asset ownership, and harnessed private sector investment, with a goal of building one of the world’s best urban communities.

The ability of our organisation to span public and private sectors has been instrumental to the work achieved thus far. The quality of plans, the sustainability and design elements of the proposed development and the public’s support, are all far higher than would have been the case if either the public or the private sector alone had been tasked with developing the waterfront.

The strategic use of public investment in infrastructure has played a critical role in this regard. By establishing public spaces and streetscapes to an outstanding level of design, sustainability and excellence, we have signalled to the investment market the type and quality of development we are seeking.

Projects such as Jellicoe St, North Wharf, Westhaven Promenade, Karanga Plaza, and Daldy St Park are demonstrations of how we envisage the entire Wynyard Quarter and waterfront developing.

The financial leverage of these investments in infrastructure is tangible. We have carefully structured partnership arrangements with our lead investors and developers in a way that will ensure Auckland’s ratepayers have a share of the value uplift as the surrounding sites are developed. Equally important are intangible benefits in how the public and private spaces will knit together.


Plans for apartments and townhouses in the area

That has not happened in isolation, as right from the start, it’s been recognised that activity makes a community as much as the hard infrastructure. That is why we emphasise place-making — ensuring that well-planned activities and events activate the wonderful public spaces that we are designing and developing.

This lays the groundwork for the community we are striving to attract and from that point it has been all about a preparedness to look at a new way of partnering with the private sector. This requires an allocation of risk and reward relative to the set of development tasks the partnership entails to ensure there is a fair and equitable return for the parties involved.

That approach enables us to look at areas of innovation in the progression of a more sustainable and liveable approach to the next phase of development which will include a new Park Hyatt Hotel, a range of residential living options and a commitment to a vibrant and growing hub of commercial space.

The new development partnership agreements include not only “essential outcomes” that developers must adhere to but also stretch targets. This results in developments that provide better liveability and sustainability than other comparable developments across the city. An independent design review process and new tools such as a custom Wynyard Quarter Green Star Rating tool have been developed to support this progressive approach.


Artists impression of Daldy St.

A quality assurance mechanism is critical too and as developments get underway, we will work with our investor/development partners to monitor their performance in achieving both the essential outcomes and the stretch targets.

To achieve the above requires strong leadership with vision at a governance and management level playing a critical part in building community participation and partnerships with business and stakeholders.

A commitment to international relationship-making to foster and open and collaborative exchange have helped in this regard by providing access to the best international thinking. A string of awards both locally and internationally in recent years has been a testimony to this.

There is immense interest and the potential now to reframe the Auckland Council’s role in urban regeneration for the region in the future, building what has been delivered on the waterfront in the last eight years.

John Dalzell is Chief Executive of Waterfront Auckland.


  • NZ Herald

Alexandra Park gains pace

8ce57a928e134f1465849646a59a84fb374c6f9f_620x311Sales of apartments in the new 231-unit Alexandra Park project are expected to start early next year.

Dominique Dowding, Alexandra Park’s chief executive, said apartments would be for sale from February and she predicted occupation of the Green Lane West Rd places by the end of 2016.

On Friday, the Auckland Trotting Club announced plans for units and a big new shopping precinct on part of its carpark and Dowding said issues around traffic had been dealt with.

“The project team has fully consulted with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport to ensure that the traffic corridor is managed responsibly and we will continue to work with this team throughout this development to ensure we have the best outcomes for Green Lane West.

“With respect to large shows, there is always a problem for the area when 40,000 to 50,000 people attend a show at ASB Showgrounds. The club will continue to support our ASB Showgrounds/neighbours via the parking that we will continue to make available on Campbell Cres, the Auckland Trotting Club site itself – where we will be expanding our car parking by a further 300 to 400 car parks in the not too distant future – and within our track,” she said.

Transportblog’s Patrick Reynolds said the site was on frequent bus routes linking directly to train stations. Those bus routes would soon get more bus lanes and even better service, he said.

“There is only one carpark per two- to three-bedroom apartment. This is both in its design and placement a good thing for reducing congestion in a growing city. Aucklanders are now choosing the improving public transport in increasing numbers, especially for weekday travel when congestion is worst. This kind of development right next to high-quality services is the best way for the city to grow and mitigate congestion.”

Albert-Eden Local Board chairman Peter Haynes said the board backed intensification but “two major arterial roads meet almost at the front door”, he said, referring to Manukau Rd and Green Lane West Rd.

“What would be the impact on traffic flows that are already problematic? Is the developer going to contribute to improvements at the intersection, for example?

“Parking is also an issue, especially since the proposed development is on the site of a carpark that gets good use when large events are happening at the race track or the ASB Showgrounds,” Haynes said.

A new organisation, the Public Transport Users Association, was launched in Auckland yesterday, with the logo “improving the moving”.


  • Anne Gibson
  • NZ Herald
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