Property editor of the NZ Herald

Developer has big ideas for Takapuna's beachfront

John Copson's vision includes apartments, shops and a hotel. Photo / Natalie Slade
John Copson's vision includes apartments, shops and a hotel. Photo / Natalie Slade

Multi-millionaire John Copson plans the country's largest suburban redevelopment with a $250 million Takapuna scheme to build apartments, shops, restaurants, cafes, a business hotel and carparking.

In an attempt to turn the seaside suburb's shopping strip to face the beach, the Crown Group businessman hatched the plan after paying Perron Group $32 million for a site.

Copson, on the NBR Rich List with $300 million, said he wanted to reinvigorate the area as a retail hub by rebuilding 53 to 73 Hurstmere Rd.

Copson and Crown Property chief executive Chris Arbuckle said they met Auckland Council chief planner Roger Blakeley and its manager of regional and local planning, Penny Pirrit, to discuss plans for the 1ha site

It fronts the town centre's retail spine on Hurstmere Rd and the beachfront street, The Strand, above Takapuna beach.

Chris Darby, chairman of the Takapuna-Devonport Local Board, said he had seen many schemes for the land, some which did not even make planning approval, others which won global design awards but were never built.

"I'm encouraging any property developer to come forward, who wants to put their capital on the line. We're very interested in talking to them," he said.

Darby wants more buildings to face the beach and said the council had identified Takapuna and New Lynn as future major metropolitan areas tagged for their growth potential. But he warned that beachfront development needed care.

"We don't become the Gold Coast ... We don't want a beach that faces east to be overshadowed in the afternoon at its highest use," Darby said.

Copson and Jeremy Whelan of Ignite Architects in Parnell expect the application to be notified.

Copson said: "Takapuna needs people and that's why we're wanting a large component of residential."

Whelan said about 400 people might live there but shops, cafes, the hotel and restaurants would employ a further 150 people.

In May, rival North Shore developer Wiltshire Group will open its McKenzies redevelopment, modelled on the original 1940s department store which stood on the Hurstmere Rd site.

Takapuna plans

John Copson's scheme:
* Five new buildings on 1ha site
* $250m development on $80m of land
* Rising five levels off Hurstmere Rd
* Fronting The Strand/Takapuna Beach
* 186 apartments, from $1.2m upwards
* Shops, restaurants, cafe, hotel
* 420-450 carparks on lower levels
* Planning permission being sought
* Building to start about 2014

- NZ Herald

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