Property editor of the NZ Herald

See before and after: shock at Takapuna waterfront demolition

"Most significant art deco house on the North Shore"
A painting of the now-demolished house at 19 Brett Ave, Takapuna. Richard Beckett owns this painting.
A painting of the now-demolished house at 19 Brett Ave, Takapuna. Richard Beckett owns this painting.

A man whose family trust sold a waterfront Takapuna art deco house is upset about its demolition, but says no protection was sought for the iconic place because it could have resulted in a lower price.

From when he was 3, Richard Beckett lived at 19 Brett Ave - one of Takapuna's best streets off Hurstmere Rd between Takapuna and Milford.

The site in Brett Ave this morning after the demolition. Photo/Greg Bowker
The site in Brett Ave this morning after the demolition. Photo/Greg Bowker

But the family trust sold the big 1062sq m waterfront house and site last year. Beckett said today that he had hoped and expected that the house was protected because it was perhaps the last remaining art deco Takapuna beachfront house, redolent of an earlier era.

But he said he had no evidence it was protected, nor did he seek that before the sale but believed it was protected.

Nothing had been done to ensure the home remained on the site after it was sold, he acknowledged.

"We didn't pursue protection because we thought it would hinder the price and affect what people would do," Beckett said. Yet he said he also believed there was some protection in place because a real estate agent had told him that.

Ian Dobson, Auckland Council's northern resource consenting manager, said nothing protected the house.

"Under both the operative Auckland District Plan (North Shore section) and the decisions version of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan, demolition at 19 Brett Avenue, Takapuna, is a permitted activity and a resource consent is not required," Dobson said.

"The applicants lodged an application in 2015 which included details of a replacement dwelling however this is currently on hold," Dobson said.

Quotable Value showed the Becklett sale was on April 2, 2015 and for $6 million.

Beckett said he was horrified to see the house has just been demolished, taking within two-and-a-half hours and three hours this week.

The house as it looked when it went on sale last year.
The house as it looked when it went on sale last year.

"My concerns [is] that [it is] probably the most significant art deco house on the North Shore, built in the 1940's. Located in a prime waterfront location, this property is between Takapuna and Milford with unparalleled panoramic views.

"My family trust sold this property and it generated considerable international interest. We were advised by Bayleys that all but one potential buyer backed away as the council had clearly indicated it could not be demolished or increased in size due to its "historical significance," Beckett said.

Inside the house last year.
Inside the house last year.

He has tried to ascertain whether any protection was in place but said he was unable to find out.

Beckett said the trust sold the house to Kitchener Trustees. Beckett's father Wilf had bought the place originally and lived there. The family were involved in publishing business Hodder Moa Beckett.

Bayleys advertising the house as "occupying one of Auckland's most desirable pieces of waterfront this engaging property is positioned on a very stunning site in Takapuna's most acclaimed avenue.

"The four bedroom residence can only be described as 'iconic' it has always been a landmark property and with only two owners since new the opportunities to own it have been scarce.

"The home was carefully positioned to take every advantage of the spectacular site, its design ensuring all major rooms are aimed towards the ocean to maximise the wonderful backdrop.

The house had extensive waterfront views.
The house had extensive waterfront views.

"The impressive lounge has been designed in the style of a 'great room' with an exceptionally high stud, open fire and boasting the original rounded floor to ceiling windows which occupy the entire wall facing the ocean - from here Rangitoto is perfectly framed in the centre of your view. French doors lead down a path to a totally unique over water terrace - the perfect spot to enjoy any social occasion or a quiet moment with a book.

"Riparian rights extend to the high water mark with a choice of sandy beaches to suit your every mood. Takapuna township is a few minutes walk and here you will enjoy every convenience from schools to cafes, restaurants, movies and live theatre. This whole property evokes a sense of calm whilst delivering the drama of its inspired outlook," Bayleys said.

- NZ Herald

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