Property editor of the NZ Herald

Developer denies immediate plans, residents fear highrise

Raymond Hawthorne has a heritage apartment on K Road but he fears he might lose his views because a 10-level project has been approved next door.

"It's going to block out our views, our sunlight...it's going to block out everything," said the famous theatre man from his windowseat where he can now see all the way to Rangitoto Island.

Apartment owners in the historic George Court Apartment Building fear the new high-rise will obliterate their views of the Hauraki Gulf.

"That the council could say yes to that...we haven't heard from them...they haven't been in to see what our apartments are like. They've just gone ahead and given permission to build," Hawthorne said from his place.

Plans were approved for the 10-level, 35m-high building on Karangahape Rd, squashed next door to the heritage George Court Apartment Building.

"It's inhumane," Hawthorne said. "It's going to be so many storeys higher than our building, crushed up against the eastern side of George Court. It's going to block out our view, sunlight, everything. It's an insult to us and an assault."

Hawthorne, whose daughter, actor Sophia Hawthorne, died suddenly last month, said the high-rise had added to the stresses in his life.

He and other residents in the 51-unit block have lodged complaints with the council.

Alan McIntyre, George Court body corporate chairman, said he was seeking meetings with both developer and council. "The council has responded verbally, refusing to meet unless the developer agrees to a meeting.

"The proposal will have significant adverse effects on the owners of apartments." The block is planned for the neighbouring 208-214 Karangahape Rd, where low-rise buildings now stand.

Consent was granted to Northern Escapes, whose director and shareholder is Richlister Ben Cook, according to Companies Office records. Cook was last year cited as paying New Zealand's highest house price, after a $24 million deal for the Herne Bay home of endoscopic surgeon John Dunn and his wife, Rose.

Northern Escapes' application for a mix of retail, commercial and apartments on K Rd was processed just before Christmas.

Cook said this week there was nothing new about 214 Karangahape Rd having development potential.

"The property has enjoyed a resource consent to accommodate apartments above the existing levels for more than a decade.

"Northern Escapes, has no immediate plans to develop the property ... however it's probably inevitable that one day in the future the property will get redeveloped by a different owner.

"Bit of a storm in a teacup really."

He said the area was better for his investment. "In previous years, 214 K Rd was a semi-derelict arcade with vagrants squatting in it. Northern Escapes has fully refurbished the arcade." Consent was granted for a project in 2004, Cook said, and the December approval allowed for larger apartments.

Robert Hunter, Auckland Council's manager of projects, practice and resolutions for resource consents, said Northern Escapes' December consent was not notified.

"An independent commissioner granted a consent for a new apartment complex.

"The commissioner also recommended the consent be non-notified."

- Herald on Sunday

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 04 Dec 2016 10:00:15 Processing Time: 660ms