It could be game, set and match to former Prime Minister Sir John Key.

In September the Weekend Herald reported that the Key family had sold their St Stephens Ave mansion, but were planning to keep a tennis court on the big site for a future development.

This week the Herald obtained plans for the site - submitted by Ken Whitney, once described as Key's lawyer - which reveal a new light-filled home on what is now the tennis court beside the family's Parnell home.

The plans show a spacious 225sq m house on a relatively tight 588sq m site facing the tree-lined St Stephens Ave, designed by Sumich Chaplin Architects. It will be three levels high with a swimming pool, subterranean garage, lift to give easy access throughout its three levels and even an underground vehicle turntable, according to plans lodged with Auckland Council.

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Consent has been given for the new house on the tennis court. Photo/Doug Sherring
Consent has been given for the new house on the tennis court. Photo/Doug Sherring

Auckland Council granted subdivision consent in April and approved the detailed architectural plans from Whitney's Antipodes Trust Group in July. Both applications were non-notified, meaning the public were not informed, as the rules allow.

Guests will walk through a formal garden enclosure, past the in-ground pool and outdoor dining area, to enter the new home's ground floor reception zone.

Auckland Council approved plans for a new house at 103-107 St Stephens Ave, Parnell.
Auckland Council approved plans for a new house at 103-107 St Stephens Ave, Parnell.

To one side, they will move into the large kitchen area while to the other side they will be in a relaxed family dining/lounge zone, all spaciously laid out, with floor-to-ceiling windows flanking these areas for maximum sunlight.

Floor-to-ceiling joinery allows rooms to open out onto the outdoor dining, entertaining and pool areas.

The house has a lift, situated between the ground-floor guest bedroom with ensuite and a study with a desk and four-seater boardroom-style table, overlooking the garden. A more formal separate lounge is located alongside that, with furniture arranged to look out onto the garden, a formal fireplace its centrepiece.

Upstairs off the landing is the master bedroom with a large walk-in wardrobe/dressing room and extensive storage, entered before reaching the ensuite bathroom. A second bedroom on that level also has its own ensuite.

Elevations show two chimneys, hedges for privacy and a driveway gradient of 1:5, relatively steep access to the underground garaging. An in-ground car turntable means vehicles will be able to drive into the basement in one direction and not have the hazard of backing out. Instead, they will be moved in the tight spot on a special turntable and drive out forwards.


That basement also has its own private gym, storage areas, internal stairs and access to the lift so getting the groceries up from the car won't be a hassle.

The basement also has a large underground room labelled 'theatre'.

"It is acknowledged there are non-compliances to the standards of the special character overlay with particular regard to height in relation to boundary and yards," the council report noted.

Whitney said he was unable to comment to the Herald yesterday.

On September 9, the Herald reported how Key and Lady Bronagh had sold their family home in the last two months for an estimated $20m but "retained roughly a 650sq m slice - currently a tennis/basketball court - for a future home."

When Key retired as Prime Minister, he said he would eventually trade his stately Parnell mansion in for a smaller place.