In 50-plus years of developing properties, the Neil Group has seen a lot of changes, through buoyant and depressed markets.
And with the Nugent Apartments in Grafton, Keith Maddison, the group's senior development manager, detects a touch of irony in that the purpose of the 56 apartments is to meet the increasing demand for affordable new housing in Auckland. That same reason is what led to the company starting out five decades ago when there was also a shortage of affordable new housing in the city.
Keith's company purchased the site at 8 Nugent St in 2006, with an eye to refurbish the cornerstone building, built in the 1970s for the Department of Education, into apartments, retail and offices with adjoining car parking.
Already the ground level has a cafe, barber and gym open for business. A show apartment is on the first level, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and open-plan living including kitchen and opening to the deck with a view of Mt Eden.
There will be six levels of 22 one-bedroom, 32 two-bedroom apartments and two two-bedroom penthouses, from 43sq m to 88sq m, most with decks.
The building has a high seismic rating, with its solid construction of concrete, steel and stone with new cedar cladding. Owners can choose from earth, stone or sand colour schemes for the interior fitouts, with American oak flooring in the kitchen, wool carpet in the living area and bedrooms, and tiles in the bathrooms. The ceilings are 2.65m high, windows are full-height and lighting is mainly LED lighting, with Cat 6 wiring and MATV connection to a communal satellite dish. Bonuses are the quality European fittings and kitchen appliances plus washing machine and drier.
The fitouts are scheduled to start in the new year, aiming for a nine-month completion date. Keith says his group settled on the Nugent St site because it liked the existing building's solid construction, and the city fringe location is handy to the hospital, the university, CBD, Newmarket and Ponsonby, with easy access to the motorways, trains and bus routes. It is also in Grammar zone. Pre-sales interest has come from first-home buyers and young professionals through to the middle-aged bracket looking for a lock-and-leave city base.