Garden centre in old Auckland's green belt is set to grow homes

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

The site of the former Palmers Garden Centre in Glen Eden is destined for housing.
The site of the former Palmers Garden Centre in Glen Eden is destined for housing.

The birthplace of the country's biggest garden centre is for sale for the first time in 102 years.

When Palmers started on Great North Rd in Glen Eden in 1912, the area was part of the agricultural green belt around central Auckland producing fruit and vegetables for the city.

It's now in the middle of suburbia.

The 1.25ha Palmers site is expected to be snapped up by a developer and could sell for millions.

The site, which is being jointly sold by Bayleys and Savilles, was established as a nursery by local man Arthur Palmer. He had large glass houses built to grow plants for sale.

It is what started the Palmers Garden Centre franchise, which now has stores all over Auckland, in Whangarei, the Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Wellington and Taranaki.

The original store closed its doors just over a month ago.

Savilles salesman Daniel Byrne said it was unlikely a new owner would continue to use existing glasshouses on the site.

"Now Glen Eden is simply part of suburbia and land once used to feed the city's population will now be used to house the city's population."

The site is classified as a living zone under the current Auckland Council District Plan and a mixed housing urban zone under the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

Bayleys realtor Brian Caldwell said the zoning would allow detached dwellings, terraced housing through to low-rise apartments.

Mr Caldwell said the site was relatively flat, allowing various housing configurations. Whau Local Board member Derek Battersby, who has lived in the area since the 1960s, said Palmers had been a fixture in West Auckland for a long time. "It was a landmark."

Tenders close on the property on July 31. Figures on the Quotable Values website shows a capital value of $2.3 million from a 2011 valuation.

- NZ Herald

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