High winds take small toll of apartment block

By Anne Gibson

Builders putting up Auckland's tallest new apartment tower are three-quarters of the way to the top of the $100 million job.

The 378-unit, 38-level central-Auckland Residences@Harbour City has soared to level 29 but still has a further nine levels to go and only high spring winds have hampered fast progress.

New Zealand's largest collection of lawyers and corporates watched with some surprise this month as a portable toilet was hoisted by crane to the top of the tower, which is now partially obscuring waterfront views in the Vero Centre.

Residences is rising in front of the country's most prestigious office block, the $226 million 3.9ha Vero spanning Shortland and Fort Sts.

But Dan Ashby, managing director of builder Multiplex Constructions (NZ), encouraged the Vero tenants to have some consideration for the needs of construction workers.

Waterfront views from the offices of tenants which include Bell Gully, Russell McVeagh, Vero, Goldman Sachs, JB Were and ABN Amro are being partly obscured by the new block which stands between the Vero Centre and the waterfront.

But Auckland City planners said the same rules which allowed Vero to go up allowed Residences to rise. The central-city is zoned for high-rise and views from existing buildings were not inherently protected.

Ashby said work on the tower's apartment floors was at the 29th level but the tower's central core had reached level 31 because the core was leading the floor work.

A few rough weather days had stopped the crew pushing ahead with more than one floor every six days at the job at 42-58 Fort St.

"It's wind more than rain that dictates work on a high-rise because it can mess around with what you are carrying on a tower crane," Ashby said. "On average, they are building one floor every six days but it can be more than that in a good week."

Residences is the largest project by Australia's First City Developments and will be one of the city's tallest apartment blocks, second only to the 40-level Ascott Metropolis.

John Carter is project manager on the site for Multiplex, which brought equipment and staff to the site in the winter last year and is due to leave the site next June. Apartment owners will shift in next winter.

Multiplex built two other apartment blocks for First City: Century on Anzac and Eden Terrace. Ashby said he had signed no new contracts with the developer.

Ashby announced yesterday that Multiplex had contracted to build the $62 million 30-level 117-unit Sentinel apartment tower at Takapuna for Rick Martin's Cornerstone Group. Multiplex also built Martin's controversial Nautilus apartment block in the heart of Orewa.

The Sentinel work will run through to late 2007 and result in the tallest building on the North Shore.

Multiplex is also working at Sylvia Park for Kiwi Income Property Trust and completing the heritage refurbishment of the Central Post Office at Britomart. It has just finished Zest apartments in Auckland and the Appleby Road Middle School at Albany.

Going up fast 

* Multiplex jobs Zest apartments, Nelson St.

* Appleby Road Middle School, Albany;

* Residences@Harbour City, Fort St.

* Sylvia Park Shopping Centre, Mt Wellington.

* The Sentinel apartments, Takapuna.

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