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Massive apartment complex planned for Esmonde Rd

Flagstaff Team

Village character… An artist’s impression of buildings planned for the
Harbourside Church site on Esmonde Rd

A major apartment development rising to seven storeys is planned to replace the Harbourside Church on Esmonde Rd. 

Four blocks of varying heights are proposed, with plans for these to incorporate a cafe and other facilities open to the public.

An application has been lodged by Kingstone Properties Ltd for two of an envisaged three stages of development on the property at 48 Esmonde Rd. 

The 2.1ha waterfront site sold for $40 million last year.  

The Stage 1 block on the eastern edge of the site would be run as managed hotel-style accommodation. 

Stage 2 groups together three buildings of mostly studio and one-bedroom apartments aimed at first-home buyers. These linked buildings would be grouped around a communal central zone, with the aim of creating a “village character”. 

Application in… A plan showing the development’s first two stages

The bottom two levels of the block would be accessible to residents, visitors and the public. Facilities envisaged included a cafe, gymnasium and childcare.

The church would be removed first and then earthworks needed to create building platforms would be undertaken, the proposal to Auckland Council said. 

Access to the site would be from the existing controlled traffic intersection, although work with Auckland Transport towards some upgrades to this were anticipated.

Planners will review the application before a decision is made. 

The application exceeds height restrictions in the zone. The church rises to around three storeys; much of the new development will be more than two times this height. 

The developers submitted that the design, by architectural firm Jasmax, took into account how it might sympathetically fit into the area: “The distribution of the buildings into various bulk, height, form and architectural appearance was an attempt to offer a group of buildings in village form instead of two large buildings.” 

Wall claddings would be mixed metal and draw on a natural palette including green, brown and black.

Site could link with paths and cycleways

Public paths and cycleways around the apartment-complex site could one day connect south via boardwalks to the Francis St cycleway and
also out to Esmonde Rd and onto the planned SeaPath towards the Harbour Bridge.

A proposed accessway to the site creates a thoroughfare in the form of a public easement which could enable the connections.

The traffic entrance layout would need modifications before accommodation was opened, the application says.

A lit landscaped road-level public plaza with seating could act as a transitional area between the road and communal open space.

Views from Takapuna and Hauraki across the water to the city are set to be transformed by the multi-level property development proposed for Esmonde Rd.

The complex itself will have several penthouses and some apartments with sweeping views to the city, although most of the 270 units are oriented in other directions to benefit from the sun.

Details of the buildings and their visual impact as seen from nearby suburban streets formed part of Kingstone Property’s planning consent application.

Extensive planting of coastal shrubs was proposed, and the site would be ringed with a public walkway and a cycleway, it said.

The value of a strip of pohutukawa along the street frontage of the site and other trees was recognised for screening part of the existing church building.

“Buffering vegetation would also affect public perceptions of the proposed development,” said a visual and amenity effects assessment which formed part of the developer’s submission to Auckland Council.

Under Stage 1 of the proposal, a managed visitor-accommodation block would rise over seven floors. All units would face east or west.

Four blocks proposed for church site

‘Affordable’ apartments included in plans

The internal configuration is not finalised, but proposed for now are 164 studios, 18 one-bedroom apartments and five penthouses. Accommodation would take 6800sq m of a total floor area of 10,877sq m. The ground floor would be a common area for check-in and support services. The first floor would include a restaurant. Half of the top floor would be set aside as a roof garden.

Under Stage 2, three interconnected buildings in the middle of the site would be built around a central courtyard. The central block
would be four storeys high, the western seven and eastern six. These would add up to 10,587sq m in floor area and provide some 86 apartments, with final numbers to be confirmed.

The majority were said to be in the affordable category, with 37 one-bedroom, 32 two-bedroom and 17 three-bedroom apartments. Below the apartments would be community facilities, including a cafe and fitness centre, a business centre, healthcare and childcare spaces, a convenience store and bike and car parking.

Eighty covered car parks will be provided for both stages of the development. Most of these will be in a 3-tier vertical stack parking system.

This article originally appeared in the 7 August 2020 edition of the Rangitoto Observer.

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