Archive | Isthmus west

Character mall corner building passed in

Onehunga, corner Onehunga Mall & Trafalgar St, a 505m² character building with 3 shops & 4 flats was passed in at $1.095 million at Bayleys Real Estate’s Total Property auction on 8 December.

The property is returning net rental income of $85,000/year. (Mike Grainger & Colin Stewart, Bayleys Auckland Central).

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6.8% in Mt Albert strip

Mt Albert, 885 New North Rd, a 203m² building with a ground-floor shop, a 2-bedroom flat upstairs & a basement area sold for $425,000 at a 6.8% yield after strong bidding to open Bayleys Real Estate’s Total Property auction on 8 December.

The retail space is tenanted by Educulture NZ Ltd and is currently producing net rental income of $14,820/year and the flat is producing $15,080/year. (Michael Grainger, Bayleys Auckland Central).

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Largely vacant building off Dominion Rd sold

Mt Eden, 2 Akepiro St, a 600m² office/warehouse building on a 736m² site was sold for $1.032 million at Bayleys Real Estate’s Total Property auction on 8 December.

There is a short-term lease on the ground floor & warehouse to James Dunlop Textiles at $37,215/year net and the first-floor offices are vacant. (Mark Pittaway, Bayleys Manukau & Colin Stewart, Bayleys Auckland Central).

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9.5% on Carr Rd

Mt Roskill, 52 Carr Rd, a 798m² showroom/office building on a 815m² site was sold for $970,000 at a 9.5% yield at Bayleys Real Estate’s Total Property auction on 8 December.

It was sold with a short-term lease back to Peter Lahood Ltd at a net rental income of $92,000/year. (David Young, James Chan & Quinn Ngo, Bayleys Auckland Central).

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Rosebank warehouse passed in

Avondale, 468 Rosebank Rd, a 1565m² warehouse/ showroom facility on a 4047m² site was passed in at $1.58 million at Bayleys Real Estate’s Total Property auction on 8 December.

It’s occupied by Payless Frozen and Surplus Traders, each with 3-year leases until mid-2005. It’s producing net rental of $128,000/year. (Chris Upright & Alan Hargreaves, Bayleys Auckland Central).

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Councillors put boot into gaffe-laden Eden Park bridge idea

How to get your local council on side: Fail to tell your community board about a $6.6 million plan for a bridge across a street – which you want the council to own & look after – then tell councillors about the proposal through an application for airspace rights.

Oh, and don’t tell them about it yourself. Send along your technical consultants.

The technical consultants, from Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner Ltd and architecture firm Jasmax, did a fine job yesterday in explaining to Auckland City Council’s planning & regulatory committee what the Eden Park Trust Board would like: a pedestrian bridge from the refurbished Kingsland railway station across Sandringham Rd to the corner of Walter St, and ultimately through park board-owned properties into Eden Park.

They would like work to start in February so the bridge is in place before the Lions rugby test at Eden Park in July.

The proposal had been before the council’s urban design panel twice, with changes made to the design & appearance, but arrived on the committee’s agenda without a chairman’s recommendation and with little time for councillors to peruse it.

The consultants gave a presentation during the committee’s public forum. Councillors spent 2 hours questioning & debating, knowing the park board wanted a quick green light but also wanting to look at wider ramifications.

For example, apart from stopping a few trainloads of English spectators from getting run over on their way to the July match, would the bridge get much use?

And at twice the cost of the revamp of the station itself, was it sensible expenditure?

Armstrong says quibbling further evidence of anti-events spirit

Citizens & Ratepayers Now councillor Douglas Armstrong saw the quibbling as further evidence, in the wake of the anti-V8 street car race decision, of the new council majority once more discouraging events.

In the same way that the V8 race series just had to whiz round Victoria Park, thus causing the greatest possible disruption to traffic throughout the region, the Kingsland-to-the-park bridge was presented as the only option, and with too many questions hanging.

In due course a compromise was reached: council staff will report to the council meeting on Thursday 16 December, including a look at community consulting outcomes, traffic management planning & design and, just in case something’s missed, “any other issue relevant to this decision”.

Cllr Armstrong, instrumental in some major structural changes at the council in its last term, is frustrated by the thought that hot air will replace action at every turn on this council. By & large, he believes we’re an over-consulted country.

Community board chairman Lindsey Rea put that in perspective. She said the Eden Park board had asked community representatives for help over allowing marquees for 8000 corporate hospitality guests at the local primary school and on nearby parks, but hadn’t breathed a word about the bridge, for which the board expected it wouldn’t need resource consent.

If it had got its airspace rights decision, the way would have been cleared to proceed with the project. Transfund has promised $2.18 million (it was asked for $3.95 million), and the board hopes other public bodies such as the council and the new Auckland Regional Transport Authority will supply much of the balance.

For the city council that would be unbudgeted expenditure – put on the council bill right in the middle of its budget-setting process.

Numerous doubts

While councillors generally applauded giving the Kingsland station an events focus, there were doubts over this, too. Cllr Neil Abel said the Eden Park events schedule showed only 4 major events would be held a year. He questioned the sense in trying to funnel perhaps 20% of a test rugby crowd on to an overbridge after the match, said the foot bridge wouldn’t be needed by locals because they would have no trouble walking along the street to the shopping strip and questioned the wisdom for the council on inheriting the maintenance on the bridge.

Cllr Penny Sefuiva wondered if anyone had looked at enlarging the existing bridge over the tracks at Kingsland, questioned whether this was a transport priority, believed Eden Park might be too small for major international fixtures such as a world cup and thought all the region’s big stadiums should be assessed together to decide their futures. She said it would be wrong to pour $6 million into a bridge project when only 4 full-house events/year would be held.

Another new council committee has the task of looking in February at Auckland as an events city. Meanwhile, Manukau City Council’s economic committee had the promotion of Manukau as the nation’s events capital on its agenda last night.

While others debated, Action Hobson councillor Christine Caughey looked for a way to resolve the Eden Park issue, finally producing the successful motion. Cllr Caughey chairs the new environment, heritage & urban form committee and has made clear her desire to look across issues, not seeing transport corridors in isolation but looking for ways that links can be made to encourage community & business activity.

So she favoured the bridge idea, “because for the first time rail will be working to a focus.” It was pivotal for Eden Park “and the promotion of this city,” she said. “Also, it provides a basis for future development of this area in terms of intensification 10-20 years down the track.”

First, however, she wanted to know that the bridge would serve the people who would live in the area, and that seems unlikely under present zoning. As Ms Rea explained, the streets immediately surrounding Eden Park are zoned residential 1, for low-intensity living, the shopping strip is a standard business 2 area and the plans for intensification have been drawn up at other points along New North Rd.

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Residents oppose standard residential 6A zone for Onehunga motorway-edge site

Switch to residential for site off Hugh Watt drive

Published: 17 November 2004

Jurisdiction: Auckland City

Neighbourhood: Onehunga

Applicant: Transit NZ

Application detail: Beachcroft Ave, proposed private plan change 161 to rezone 6153m² on the northern side of the street, about 150m from the Queenstown Rd intersection, to residential 6A. Auckland City Council resolved on 2 November to accept & notify the proposed plan change, sought by Transit NZ. The site is currently zoned special purpose 2.

Notification date: 14 November

Submission closure date: Friday 10 December

Update, 1 February 2005:

Further submissions closure date: Friday 25 February

Detail: All the submissions lodged in the first round were against the rezoning proposal, with one suggesting the more intensive residential 8 zone might be applied to the site. The Beachcroft Ave Residents Committee said the proposal should be abandoned.


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Mt Albert residents pick up challenge to improve their suburb’s centre

About 40 Mt Albert residents put forward a long list of ideas on upgrading the suburb’s town centre this week, part of a slow process of change.

Auckland City Council staff have gradually been working their way round the city setting liveable communities projects in motion, starting with charrettes or workshops to get ideas acceptable to the local community, working with more influential parties then returning to test ideas.

Mt Albert became a focal point because its railway station is to be a feature of the western line upgrade being undertaken for ARTNL (Auckland Regional Transport Network Ltd), which includes double tracking. Other stations will get a more basic upgrade.

Senior urban designer Joanna Smith, who heads the Mt Albert project for the council, presented councillors with a report on revitalising the Mt Albert town centre, and particularly the station area, in January. The opportunities were based on the principles 0f transit-oriented development, she said then.

“Transit-oriented development integrates land use with passenger transport and typically focuses a mix of uses (such as residential, shopping, recreation) within walking distance of a transit stop, such as a railway station.

“The council is working with ARTNL to deliver quality rail station precincts around stations within or adjoining town centres. The Mt Albert station is located right within the town centre and so offers a unique opportunity to work with the community to develop an improved physical environment for the station & the town centre through the use of transit-oriented development principles,” she said in her January report.

The expected outcomes for the Mt Albert project are:

a community that understands & has participated in the process of developing a vision & comprehensive future plan for the station & town centre
key stakeholders & property-owners understanding the principles of transit-oriented development & the redevelopment opportunities in Mt Albert based on those principles
a comprehensive precinct plan for integrating the station with the town centre, maximising the benefits of the station redevelopment and revitalizing the town centre – both now & in future. The plan will demonstrate how public and private investments can maximise the benefits & opportunities to stakeholders
a specific programme of actions which leads to a redevelopment of the rail station in conjunction with adjoining land.

After Wednesday night’s meeting, Ms Smith said the next steps were:

to keep testing some of the ideas put forward
work with ARTNL to phase its development
work with adjacent property owners
continue work on a parking plan and a pedestrian & cycle strategy, and
continue discussing changes with Unitec, including design students who will work on a “sustainable campus” project next year.

Ideas worked on at this week’s workshop included:

making a plaza next to the old post office a focal point
keeping old buildings on the southern side of New North Rd and the old post office, regarded as an icon
introducing terraced parking beside the rail tracks, one level at grade with the station
using the sun so there would be shops opening out with a northerly aspect across the tracks
ensuring shops & businesses are on a smaller scale, as in the Ellerslie town centre – “not the big St Lukes type
traffic shouldn’t be at a level that it discourages pedestrians
better night-time security
a promenade on the railway side of the New North Rd shops, which could be an enticing character feature away from the busy traffic side
pedestrian access to the station which doesn’t require them to fight their way across at the traffic lights
a programme to attract “the kind of buildings that we (the locals) want” – a pointed shot at developers of low-quality apartment projects that will turn into low-class blocks of flats, and of commercial developments that don’t add to the quality of the neighbourhood
a 4-storey limit to building height – one of the concerns there was the creation of wind tunnels
concern at loss of the area’s currently limited character, desire for the creation of more character
aesthetically pleasing & commercially viable development
tidying up of the “grotty” area behind the southern side of the shopping strip
the small shopping strip on the city side of Carrington Rd to be enhanced
shuttle buses to feed directly into the station
provision of drop-off parking spaces, and
design control “so we can keep all the character buildings” (the character overlay introduced to suburban centre planning this year should be able to achieve that).

There was concern about the possible height of buildings and construction that was out of character. One of the workshop groups said they wanted the area to be “a heart, reflecting traditional Mt Albert.

“We want to know more about what type of commercial will be encouraged and want quality accommodation, not a student ghetto.”

There was also concern about what would happen to some of the centre’s more unsightly buildings and whether they would be part of the plan

Participants questioned the amount of traffic planning, given the impact State Highway 20’s extension will have when it comes through nearby.

And there was a question raised over the whole project: If redevelopment doesn’t result in big new buildings, thus bringing critical mass, will that be the end of the station upgrade?

Not in Mainstreet

Western community board member Graeme Easte said the project needed a vigorous business association or Mainstreet group to drive the process.

The town centre is not part of the council’s Mainstreet programme, but Ms Smith said a key part of this study was the role of the commercial area, and identifying opportunities to revitalise the town centre to support a vibrant mix of activities around the railway station.

“Particular attention will also need to be paid to the town centre relationship with Unitec, State Highway 20 extensions, St Lukes & Pt Chevalier.”

Ms Smith, in her outline of the aim of revitalising town centres, said the key principle “is that quality of life, sense of community & choice of lifestyles can be improved by having vibrant town centres within the

city, which are easy to get around by walking & on passenger transport.”

The Mt Albert town centre is on the western rail line and is an “area of change” in the council’s growth management strategy. It’s a traditional strip, with shops on both sides of the main thoroughfare, New North Rd, and is bisected by Carrington & Mt Albert Rds.

Much of the land around the station is owned by Tram Lease Ltd (Adrian Burr, Ross Green, David Muller & Mark Wyborn), which bought a portfolio of former railway land – some of it bits & pieces, some highly valuable – from the Government.

The residential areas south-east of the town centre are mostly special character areas (residential 2 or 3).

My comments:

The Mt Albert town centre is one of the areas of Auckland that would startle non-Aucklanders, and probably concerns many of the long-term residents, for the kind of change that’s happened to it in recent years.

The town centre has been swamped by Asian migrants – mostly Chinese, some Vietnamese presence – and most of the business & shop signs are in Chinese. In contrast to that influx, nearby Avondale’s town centre is heavily dominated by Pacific Island interests.

Unitec, down Carrington Rd, has a large number of Chinese students.

While it might be nice to go back to “traditional” (ie, white, English-style) Mt Albert, the future might be further towards Asian influences. As a centre for Asian groceries, Mt Albert now attracts shoppers from a wider sphere than a purely local shopping centre would.

The former Warehouse, a short distance along New North Rd from the main shopping strip, was sold & turned over to smaller Asian retail outlets, and the continuous retail strip is now longer than it was 5 years ago.

The different kinds of shopkeeper & customer now mean there’s a different buzz in the town centre, and I don’t think that influence has yet been adequately recognised in planning for a future Mt Albert.

It’s conceivable that this change will be short-term, perhaps making way for a new influx or reverting to a past complexion, but I suspect neither of those changes will occur in the near future.


Earlier stories:

15 September 2004: Wider consultation now for upgrade around Mt Albert station

3 June 2002: Mt Albert karaoke gets notified

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Heritage scheduling proposed for Marino Gardens in Mt Eden

Jurisdiction: Auckland City

Neighbourhood: Mt Eden, 145-147 Mt Eden Rd

Applicant: Auckland City Council

Application detail: Proposed plan change 158, listing the Marino Gardens apartments as scheduled heritage property

Notification date: 19 September

Submission closure date: 18 October; further submissions close Friday 26 November

Marino Gardens is a large 2-storey brick-plastered apartment building at the corner of Mt Eden & Esplanade Rds, which has art deco features. It has a main block, a secondary block & garages all within a garden setting. The site is in a special character residential 1 zone.

The report to the council’s city development committee (in a closed session in September) said 6 of the apartment complex’s 18 owners wrote to the council in April asking for evaluation & consideration of Marino Gardens for listing as a scheduled heritage item.

“The complex was built in 1935-6 and won a gold medal from the Institute of Architects in 1936. The building is a leading early example of a change in character in suburban dwellings, the ‘flats versus houses’ concept. The concept of apartments in a garden setting is a unique feature of such a 1930s development. No significant alterations have been undertaken to the original site, other than the insertion of a swimming pool in place of the tennis court. The garden plantings have been altered but the garden concept is retained. The buildings themselves are in very good condition.”

Resource consent is already required in the residential 1 zone for external additions & alterations to buildings, as well as for the construction of any new building.

At Marino Gardens, the whole of the site surrounds is recommended for scheduling to protect the “Flats in a garden” concept. The interior protection is only for the public spaces, the entrance corridors & stairwells. The council report said interiors of individual apartments would be scheduled only with the consent of the owner.

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