Drive to create Botany 'auto hub'

By Colin Taylor

Landmark Toyota building on key corner site anchors project aimed at vehicle sector in fast-growing area

The Botany Toyota service centre has been designed to create a landmark building with a dynamic, high-tech image for the busy corner.
The Botany Toyota service centre has been designed to create a landmark building with a dynamic, high-tech image for the busy corner.

A "best-in-class" Toyota service centre and vehicle showroom has been designed to anchor a new auto hub development in Botany, with two neighbouring sites being marketed to other vehicle distributors.

Manukau Toyota plans to start work in the second quarter of next year on a two-level complex on a vacant site on the corner of Te Irirangi Drive and Accent Drive, with completion due in late 2014. The building, designed by Woodhams Meikle Zhan Architects, will house a Toyota dealership and a 14-bay workshop.

Jamsheed Sidhwa and Luke Carran of Bayleys Manukau have been appointed to market two nearby greenfields sites to other automotive brands.

One encompasses about 1.3ha of land adjoining the Botany Toyota site and the other is an 8000sq m neighbouring site on the corner of Accent Drive and Beale Place.

"We're looking for similarly powerful auto brands interested in a high-quality, design-build development that will complement Botany Toyota and make the most of this commanding gateway position to a rapidly growing part of East Auckland," says Sidhwa.

"The first site has good frontage to Te Irirangi Drive and the second has a very long frontage to Accent Drive. Both sites would suit one large, single occupant each or multiple auto-related businesses."

Beside the vacant 1.3ha site, Andrew Simms Motors is in the process of remodelling the substantial former Te Irirangi Drive premises of Panasonic which has relocated to Highbrook. The Newmarket-based dealership will be offering a wide range of new and used cars for sale as well as a service and parts department from this site, which is next to a Mitre 10 Mega store.

Botany Toyota will be a branch of Manukau Toyota, which operates two dealerships and service centres along Great South Road in Manukau with other operations at Auckland Airport and on Ti Rakau Drive.

Manukau Toyota owner Tony Howard acquired about 7000sq m of land on the prominent corner of Te Irirangi and Accent Drives about eight years ago. When car sales took a hit in the fallout that followed the global financial crisis, Howard bided his time until he felt it was the right moment for an expansionary development.

"The site was acquired to ensure that we were in a pivotal position to capitalise on the growth that obviously lay ahead in this part of East Auckland, with the development of residential areas such as Botany, Dannemora and Flat Bush and the growing business hub of East Tamaki, including Highbrook," Howard says.

"The ultimate objective in buying the land was to develop an upper-end automotive hub to service this high-growth residential area as well as fleets of vehicles associated with an increasing number of businesses.

"With the global financial crisis behind us, new car registrations back at close to their 10-year average and an Auckland economy that is clearly growing again, I'm confident that the timing is now right for this sort of development," he says.

"With Europe facing a long struggle ahead of it economically and Toyota increasingly focused on expansion in China and the Asia Pacific region, we're looking to create a best-in-class complex on the site which will set a new benchmark for Toyota in New Zealand."

Howard says there will be a big emphasis on after-sales service and parts in the new facility. A key feature of the building will be a light-filled lounge and cafe overlooking the workshop, with extensive glazing enabling customers to view the servicing of their cars in comfort.

Feng Zhan, director of Woodhams Meikle Zhan Architects, says an effort has been made to create a landmark building with a strong, dynamic shape for a very important Botany corner. "We've designed it to project a high-tech image of what is happening inside and we've used the contour of the site so that it almost looks as though the building is floating above ground," Zhan says.

Sidhwa says the auto hub is in a lucrative catchment area. "East Tamaki's business district is one of the country's largest commercial and industrial centres. There is also a wide sprawl of surrounding residential areas which are getting bigger by the day, particularly now the development of Flat Bush is taking shape which will add 40,000 residents to the area.

"A good portion of the large residential catchment boasts above-average incomes reflected in the upper decile ratings of its schools."

Sidhwa says access and visibility are good at the sites on the two main roads and the Beale Place cul-de-sac. The Te Irirangi Drive arterial carries more than 30,000 vehicles a day on average between the eastern suburbs and Manukau and further on to the airport.

"Accent Drive facilitates vital east-to-west traffic for commuters working in East Tamaki or further out in Highbrook and beyond."

- NZ Herald

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