Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

Racing club to sell land for homes

Avondale hopes to clear $2.7 million debt with proceeds from subdivision earmarked for 28 dwellings.

The 9719sq m area being sold is bordered by houses, the Whau River and the Avondale Racecourse.
The 9719sq m area being sold is bordered by houses, the Whau River and the Avondale Racecourse.

Fancy staring down the home stretch of a racetrack from your bedroom window? The Avondale Jockey Club is selling 9719sq m of land attached to its racecourse to try to clear its $2.75 million debt.

The club, which also hosts the Avondale Sunday markets, suspended its racing calendar four years ago to restructure its operation and finances after an unsuccessful $8 million night-racing venture.

Race meetings were resumed in October 2012, and the club now has a full schedule.

The land for sale is zoned for housing with access from Ash St, via Sandy Lane, and can accommodate 28 terraced and/or semidetached homes. It is bounded by homes on two sides and the Whau River on the western side.

The club has applied to Auckland Council for the land to be declared a special housing area under an accord signed between the council and the Government that would allow immediate development of the site. A decision is expected soon.

Club president Graham Wakefield said subdividing had been a "painstaking and protracted exercise".

"But now that we're here, the considerable surge in residential land values in the Auckland metropolitan isthmus over the past several years has played in our favour."

He said the organisation was confident the sale would clear its debt and help fund an upgrade of the track.

"The disposal of this land, which is surplus to the club's operating needs, will once and for all allow us to get back on track managing and promoting Avondale as one of Auckland's premier horse-racing facilities."

The land is being marketed by Bayleys real estate agent Paul Dixon, who said the property was coming on to the market at a good time as the council was encouraging large-block landholders to open up their sites for housing development.

"City-fringe suburban intensification is occurring with the city's greater population growth," he said.

Avondale was well-positioned to benefit from infrastructure improvements in the area.

The club started racing at Avondale in 1890, and in 1987 became the first thoroughbred racing club in the Southern Hemisphere to have night racing under floodlights.

Lighting towers and the construction of an additional stand were costly, and the venture was not as successful as hoped.

The club says it has been in straitened circumstances ever since.

Its grounds are also used for rugby, soccer and cricket.

Tenders for the sale of the site close on May 15.

Cashing in

• 9719sq m attached to Avondale Racecourse.
• Access from Ash St, via Sandy Lane.
• Owned by Avondale Jockey Club since 1890.
• Zoned for residential housing.
• Can accommodate 28 terraced homes.
• Application lodged to declare it a special housing area.
• Club hoping to sell for at least $2.75 million to clear its debt.

- NZ Herald

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