Auckland Council gives its 'poster child for brownfields development', a 10-storey apartment block in New Lynn, the green light

Auckland Council gives its 'poster child for brownfields development', a 10-storey apartment block in New Lynn, the green light

As debate rages over the future growth of Auckland, Auckland Council has rubber stamped the building of West Auckland's first high rise apartment block.

Auckland Council says it has granted resource consent for a 10-storey residential tower above the Merchant Quarter building in New Lynn, and work on it is expected to begin this month and be finished early next year.

In a statement Mayor Len Brown said prices start at NZ$250,000 for 110 one and two-bedrooms apartments, offering an affordable choice for people looking to buy their first home. The apartments will be built by Tasman Cook, and will be above a council owned five level public carpark building. Wellington-based, sharemarket listed infrastructure investor Infratil, founded by the late Lloyd Morrison, is the council’s partner in the Merchant Quarter development.

According to Tasman Cook, the apartments range in size from 54 square metres with an eight metre square balcony, to 73 square metres with an eight metre square balcony. They're designed for owner-occupiers rather than investors. The project is being funded by BNZ with the sales value NZ$37 million.

“More than half the apartments (60) have already been sold in this building, which offers people affordable options close to great transport links, community facilities, cafes, restaurants and shops," said Brown.

“New Lynn is showing the rest of Auckland what a vibrant, compact city can look like, and it’s looking very good indeed. The Merchant Quarter is New Lynn’s new heart where people can live, work, do business, shop and be entertained.”

The apartments will be adjacent to the Lynnmall shopping centre and close to New Lynn's transport hub. They are Freehold Unit Titles, comprising either one bedroom, one bedroom plus study, and two bedroom options with balconies.

Brown said the Merchant Quarter development is part of Auckland Council’s transformation of New Lynn into a vibrant metropolitan centre to deliver the aspirations of its Auckland Plan.

"It is also an excellent example of the model and approach for a more compact city detailed in the council’s proposed Unitary Plan," said Brown.

The statement quotes Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse saying; "New Lynn is Auckland’s poster child for brownfields’ development and shows how inner city living can be created in town centres such as New Lynn."

The draft Unitary Plan, the council's growth plan for the next 30 years, is targeting keeping around 60% of Auckland's growth within existing boundaries, meaning more high rise apartments and denser housing.  See a video interview with Hulse on the Unitary Plan here. However, the government - citing concerns about housing affordability - has suggested it may "smash" Auckland metropolitan urban boundary to enable more greenfields development. In March the government and council set up a working party, which they said would address their differing views.

Hulse and Brown have requested the Unitary Plan have full legal weight from September, however the government has rejected this, saying it wants to give Aucklanders the chance to review it, meaning it'll take up to three years for the plan to be operative. Earlier this month nine councillors wrote to Prime Minister John Key effectively supporting the government's position.

The draft Unitary Plan is open for consultation until May 31.

(Updated with further detail).

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Excellent. Looks fine. Who cares how big they are - no one is forced to buy them or live in them. It's a personal choice if you want to spend $250K here or $450K for a house on a suburban site in the same neighbourhood.
According to Bob Dey (no relation) even Houston itself is going for density in order  to get affordable housing (That's the same Houston that's not so affordable once transport costs are added to housing cost):

According to Bob Dey (no relation).......
So um your name Dey then.?...or did you think we might think your relatives are probably named Bob....too...?

It's neither Bob nor Dey.

Why did you say no relation then....Bob...? were you taking the Mick ...Bob..?
In your post it says Bob Dey (no relation)....I mean that's an odd thing to say Bob, if your name's not Bob and even weirder if your name's not Dey....
 So effectively ,...Bob,... you have alerted us to the fact that someone who shares no part of your name in reality, should not be confused with,  one of your relatives whose name, along with yours is presently unknown to us .......Bob, that about right Bob..?
I find that very odd Bob, and now hold your critique of my taste with a small amount of contempt.

...? really Bob..mmmnnn don't  think so.

Noone may be forced to buy or live in them... But you can't really miss the blimmin thing. Hope it looks better than the artist's impression! Looks like the crap popping up all over the place here in Wellington...

Of course it will be exactly like that. Every apartment is just like that or worse.

Get these all over St Heliers immediately!

Buk buk buk Baaaarrrk buk
Buk buk buk Baaaarrrk buk berk bik
Darn!  All cooped up, but Still no eggs.....

 Whether for or against high rise....geesus Brown , that is one ugly Mafo building there..!
If that's the artist's depiction  just how friggin ugly will it actually be  once it imposes itself on the landscape.
 Have they even thought what it will become in ten years....a gigantic pigeon shit catcher..? covered in diesel dust....why protruding facades..?...who's gonna clean em...?
 I'd think long and hard , even at cheap rent about even having an office in it let alone live in it.
If this is the poster child....I don't wanna see it's ugly Mother, brother, sister.... 
 If this is where we are going ..tenament a bus n hit the road.

That's your subjective opinion. For all we know your house is full of doilies, done in some historical pastiche style and you have no taste. 

Yeah your prolly right about that Bob...!
I hear tell ugly's the new wife keeps telling me 60's the new 40..
.I'm just not seeing it is all.

When you drive through New Lynn just keeps your eyes on the road and it will be fine - and so will all the people who suddenly have much more affordable housing and much bigger disposable incomes.

It's like a slow virus. Once you know you've got it there is nothing you can do to get rid of it
A slow virus is a virus, or a viruslike agent, etiologically associated with a disease, having a long incubation period of months to years and then a gradual onset of symptoms which progress slowly but irreversibly and terminate in a severe compromised state or, more commonly, death.

ay ,ay Ten year water tightness guarantee...? eh ..? Ten years to Auckland Council's latest specs is what they'll give you.... So that would be at the moment of exterior cladding sign off then...see 6months gone already.
 Don't like the smell of that right off the bat.......come a long way since the leaky building syndrome then have we...?

Just don't buy one then there's no risk.
I wouldn't buy one, but I hope 110 other people do - thats 110 households that aren't buying fringe sprawl houses and clogging up the roads with their cars -  makes it easier for me to get around.

High density next to a train line.
The Age of Reason arrives in Auckland.

Don't mind high density but it should be done as a whole and not piecemeal approach in an established area - set a target area and do the whole high density thingie. 
Check this project out in Milan, they demolished the whole lot and start from scratch

Have you ever been to that part of New Lynn?
In my subjective opinion the new railway station and base parts of this building are so so much better than what was there I was momentarilly disorientated when I wnt past recently. The surrounding area is carparks and giant FC sheet boxes like Redpaths (which in my subjective opinion are s^%)
Look at streetview of Totara Ave & Clark Rd. An apartment building here is a vast improvement.

ahh yes, I lived in Blockhouse Bay for 4 years (near Olympic Park) .. lost count on number of times I had to water balsted the fence from tagging..  lovely part of Auckland!

And won't the locals be ever so Len is not one of them!

They should build high rises in Manurewa, near The Gardens area.. that Len's hood!

I am still not sure about the high rise in New Lynn to make an opinion but looking at the photo's the architech has gone for a 1960's UK design with more modern colours, but location is ideal for such a high rise , close to shops, cafes and public transport. Reminds me very much of 1960's Crawley all over again.

Thank you Starfish1...couldn't put my finger on it , but I think you have......they were ugly then, it's good to know some things never change...!

The aesthetic of a building (or even apartment size) is not what determines if it's gonna be a slum. There might be buildings that look a bit like this that are. Equally there are others of a similar aesthetic that aren't (like Londons most expensive apartment building - 135 million pound penthouse).
What seems to make buildings slums is the location. If you walk out the bottom and you're in Crawley or miles from anywhere you tend to get a slum. If you walk out the bottom and everything is there - including public transport - less likely to be a slum.

The problem with New Lynn is that the train/bus station is all there is. There is absolutely nothing there once the mall closes at 6pm. Same goes for Henderson, Manukau City, Panmure, Albany.... Anybody from those apartments wanting a meal(not KFC or McDonalds) or a drink or a dance or a movie has to catch the train into the city. Pretty sure it will be as far from a cosmopolitan town centre as you can imagine. The surrounding catchment area of Kelston, Glen Eden and "Titirangi border" is all lower income and not likely to provide many customers for new businesses. Takapuna might work with more high rise apartments but that's about it around Auckland as far as I can see.

The professional term for that is mixed use, which shows that the development is quite unprofessional.

You're incorrect with regards to Henderson.  Once the mall closes the cinema remains open and there are some quite nice little restaurants around that serve a decent variety of cuisine.  There is no KFC or McDonalds in the town centre other than in the typical food court inside the mall.
Maybe it requires the apartments to bring more people to these areas to provide the demand and therefore the supply of these services.

Being only 10 floors it's not really a high rise under the NZBC - less than 35m escape height?. It's more of a mid-rise. 

Kimy - sounds a bit expensive is an understatement. Price per sqm is horrendous for these boxes.  If these sardine tins are going to be Aucklands solution to their housing shortage and affordability issues then the lower income people are being screwed. Those who can least afford are paying more per sqm than the rest of the market.

Not sure they can make New Lynn worse. I grew up in neighbouring Glen Eden. New Lynn has never been more than a bus station (now a train station too), a smallish shopping mall and some scruffy light commercial and car yards.  The main street is little changed from 30 years ago. There is virtually zero green space, few restaurants, bars, cafes and all the entertainment closed including movie theatres in 2001. At those prices why would you choose to live in a New Lynn apartment instead of a city apartment? It will take a lot more than a couple of apartment buildings to make New Lynn an attractive place to hang out.

Sure New Lynn and Henderson are adequate service/retail centres for the surrounding suburbs during the day but they are miles from being attractive urban town centres once evening rolls around. You yourself said why would you buy an apartment in New Lynn for the same price you could buy in the city. No one I know who lives in West Auckland, and its a lot, "goes out" there. Not convinced its something you can force by giving an area a new name and building some apartments. Botany Town Centre is surrounded by high density townhouses and is compact and relatively attractive but there are still only two restaurant/bars and the movie theatres are often empty at night. All the young people go to town on Friday and Saturday. Just think the council's sophisticated cosmopolitan urban dream for many suburbs is wishful thinking.

New Lynn's last attempt at high density in the old Crown Lynn quarry. At least they have some grass and a duck pond.

This apartment block is going to be above a Council car park - hold on Len and the team - are you intending to clip the ticket on the parking space of those people who buy an apartment?
OMG people living in apartments still have a need for cars and it is fairly usual in most other countries to have a car park designated to your apartment in the basement. Some places even offer extra storage space in the basement as well.
If you want people living in high rises you have to provide the basics and a few extra's or otherwise the accommodation will turn into temporary rental style accommodation. Swimming pools, gyms, outdoor BBQ areas etc all add to the mix.
Seems like the plan has a few gremlins in that they are unsure of what they are trying to achieve.  Affordable accommodation that is designed for permanent residence has certain requirements. have any of these people travelled and lived in other countries in apartments? Crikey people only have to live on the Gold Coast for a bit to get an experience of apartment living good and bad.

Never mind that mental illness rates increase for every floor above fours storeys, at least the cars in the car park will be of sound mind.
Also never mind that most apartments break a fundamental of design for living spaces, natural light from two sides of every room.

Crikey shortage of  10 story dwellers  pop in here on occassion then,  no wonder Bob has such an affinity with the project.....but don't confuse him with anybody named Bob or Dey..or Bob Dey for that matter, as they are  (no relation),  as Bob points out , to avoid any confusion.
 I'm guessing that's some Tenth floor logic there  ....

Coupla dwangs loose in the top stud...

Lol from the both of you. Mind you speaking of dwelling in the wrong place, dwang is a South Island term Waymad, are they not a bit funny down despite the lack of stories. 

Hey you  Guys ...I found Bob.....the confusion is at an end ....Bob was not entirely honest about  Bob he is Bob and he is see there's a logical explanation for everything......tenth floor or not
Voila..... you go Bob..hope that's now less confusing for you.

Well which ever way you look at it Bob and his mates (Bob) don't really have a clue about what good design or good community is, they are simply in it for a buck. That is their right of course, but good to know the vested interest behind the opinion to qualifiy it.

Young families will love living in these 1 and 2 bedroom shoe box apartments. Great planning. 

Think JT....who will end up living in the boxes...and who will end up paying!

The price per sqm is very expensive. The people who can least afford a house end up paying the most.

cognitive dissonance.
More compared to what?
If you keep cramming people into a proximity, Ideology can't override physical realities. You either go up, or further away. Both take more resources, more embedded energy, than close/low.
Those people are already getting screwed via rents in an inadequately-taxed arena, via being disenfranchised of their ownership of their renewable power and being screwed to fund dividends, via the increase in GST, via the reduction in upper-income tax.
The joke is that if a few set out to screw a many, they can only get away with it in a democracy, by muzzling the truth about the screwing. A temporary thing, muzzling.

Yep, this whole affordable housing thing is a joke. It is all window dressing to the same method that is being used to redistribute wealth and they haven't figured out that the wealth has all but dried up. I mean lets say this style of housing is 20% cheaper than the next best alternative. What this actually means is 50% less pleasant to live in, but the rent/interest payments are still going out. 

It's a shame that they're using this as a poster child for apartment living, it's not great to look at and doesn't have the nice side of apartment living.  If we have to go up, which I agree we do, I'd like to see them build good looking buildings, generous sqm, park spot or two each, communal gym, spa, pool, etc.  Sure this would add maybe 20% to the end price but I'd rather spend $300k and have all the bells and whistles than $250k and be given the bare minimum.  We need to change the stigma surrounding apartments and building a few that look cool with all the nice trimmings will go a long way. 

Totally agree Happy123 , its better to build apartments with extra sqm and really plan them properly.  There are some really good examples of quality apartments across the ditch in Australia that they can learn from along the coast line in Sydney. Yes they are worth a lot of money but they hold their value and provide great living, spacious balconies, look good, and well planned.