Property editor of the NZ Herald

Expand schools, developer says of grammar zone crackdown

John Harman wants schools expanded. Photo/Greg Bowker
John Harman wants schools expanded. Photo/Greg Bowker

The Government must expand prestigious Auckland state schools instead of banning apartment dwellers, says a developer.

John Harman a Remuera breast surgeon building an intensive residential scheme on a St Mark's Rd site, opposes squeezing apartment dwellers out from the double grammar zone entry to Auckland Grammar School and Epsom Girls Grammar.

Epsom MP and Act leader David Seymour wants Education Minster Hekia Parata to consider legal changes to enrolment rules in response to big pressure on the rolls in the double grammar zone.

"It's like something out of communist-style Russia," Harman said of Seymour's suggestion.

"The schools should be developed more to take more students. They must build up. You look at the investment going into private schools in the area," he said citing upgrades and extensive building work at Diocesan School for Girls and others.

Dominion Constructors is building 58 apartments on Harman's site, where he practised for many years and although parents of school students were not exactly his target market, about 5 per cent of buyers were in that category, he said.

Buyers are mainly people like him: aged around their 50s, whose children have left home, and who were looking to down-size and move into a top-quality apartment.

Harman said only 12 apartments remained to be pre-sold, the site had been fenced and excavation works were now being carried out. Those had reached the first level below ground for the two-level basement carpark, he said.

Apartments pre-sold from $680,000 to more than $6 million and one buyer joined two apartments, reducing the overall number of places from 59 to 58, Harman said.

Auckland Grammar School has already expanded with a new $6.4 million 12-room classroom project on its site. That development has three teacher resource rooms and a tuckshop, built adjacent to the school's historic main block.

Watts & Hughes Construction was the main contractor on the project designed by Architectus.

The Herald reported two years ago how the Ministry of Education funded about a third of the total building cost so the school had embarked on a $4 million fund-raising project under way, the biggest in its history.

- NZ Herald

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