A $15 million Auckland penthouse with a sweeping open-air courtyard could be snapped up by a foreign buyer, Kiwi expat or downsizing Remuera mansion owner, says its developer.
The Sky Garden penthouse apartment is set to built on the 20th floor of The Cab apartment complex rising out of Aotea Square and overlooking Auckland's harbour and theatre district.
It will come with three bedrooms, a bespoke kitchen with granite benchtops, bar area, theatre room and large open plan living and dining areas.
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But its most unique selling point is the vast 95sqm open-air courtyard that will be one-third the size of a tennis court and lie at the apartment's centre, developer John Love said.
Open to the heavens above, the courtyard would be sheltered from the wind by the apartment's wall-to-ceiling windows, while still offering city views in all directions because of the open plan living design.
"There is nothing like it in Auckland or NZ - we haven't really seen anything like it in Australasia that we are aware of," Love said.
At an asking price of about $15m, the Sky Garden is also one of the most expensive apartments to ever go on sale in Auckland.
The city's most expensive apartment, however, is believed to be the new two-level "super penthouse" in Auckland's under-construction 57-storey Pacifica high rise, which has an asking price of $35m.
That penthouse is set to be five-times the size of an average New Zealand home at about 1272sqm, said Gavin Lloyd from commercial real estate group CBRE.
Located on Commerce St, it would also come with four bedrooms, a separate guest suite, chef-style kitchen, library, gym, cellar and wine tasting room and double-height ceiling.
Another penthouse planned for the nearby Seascape Auckland skyscraper on Customs St East is also being marketed for more than $20m and is expected to occupy two floors with five bedrooms at roughly 350sqm.
Head of research at analysts CoreLogic Nick Goodall said it was difficult to track the purchase of expensive apartments because they could be bought as part of a deal involving multiple properties.
But he listed the most expensive on CoreLogic's records as being the three-bedroom unit 402 at 424 Remuera Rd, which sold for $8.7m on May 25 last year, and unit 4A/154 Saint Stephens Ave, Parnell that went for $8m on March 21, 2016.
The Cab developer Love said the Sky Garden penthouse was "very good value" at less than half the cost of the Pacifica penthouse.
He also expected interest from a wide range of buyers. This included returning Kiwi expats used to living in large apartments or wealthy locals downsizing from mansions in Parnell or Remuera where one home on Remuera Rd recently sold for $35m, he said.
The apartment could also serve as a "bolthole" for a wealthy foreigner or a member of an America's Cup syndicate.
He said The Cab development was exempt from the foreign buyer ban because work started on the project before the law came into effect on October 22 and it was a large complex of more than 20 apartments.
Love acknowledged it had taken a "little longer" than expected to get the project moving.
The Cab - which involves transforming the ex-council Civic Administration Building into residential apartments - is part of a wider $200m to $300m development in Aotea Square that Love is overseeing.
This also includes a second apartment building, boutique hotel, supermarket, ground floor cafes and a "whare tapere" performance space.
It is now expected to be completed in mid-2020 after initial construction dates were pushed out from 2017.
"It has taken a little longer to get the wheels going, but on the flip side look how many projects have fallen over and not gone ahead," Love said.
"We're here, we've sold down a huge chunk of the development, we've got ... contracted builders - we're just making sure we've got it right," he said.
"We want to know everything is going to go through."
• A "super penthouse" in the 57-level Pacifica high rise in Commerce St this year set the record asking price for an Auckland apartment at $35m, according to its salesman from commercial real estate group CBRE.
• The two-level penthouse in the nearby Seascape Auckland on Customs St East that will soar to 187m in height is also being marketed for more than $20m
• The Cab apartment complex's Sky Garden penthouse in Aotea Square with a "unique" open-air courtyard is up for sale at a price of about $15m
• New Zealand businessman and White House aide Chris Liddell has reportedly paid a deposit for a $15m penthouse apartment on the top floor of The International on Princes St.
• A three-bedroom unit at 402/424 Remuera Rd with harbour views and an open plan living area is the most expensive apartment in analyst CoreLogic's records after it sold last year for $8.7m.
• One of the best bargain buys of a penthouse occurred in 2014 when a 911sqm waterfront pad formerly owned by rich-lister David Henderson sold for $900,000 in a mortgagee sale despite having an asking price of $10m.