The Marutūahu-Ockham Partnership is buying 1.58ha of Avondale land from Auckland Council's property arm and will spend $550 million building 750 apartments in eight blocks of up to 10 storeys.
Eke Panuku Development Auckland says it will sell the land near Avondale Race Course to the Pākeha/Māori joint venture business, which has completed other apartment projects.
The site has 42 Kāinga Ora homes on it and formerly a 3 Guys supermarket.
"Eke Panuku Development Auckland has signed a sale and development agreement for a 1.58ha development block in Avondale town centre," the council agency said."This will be a milestone for the regeneration of this vibrant city fringe neighbourhood."
The land is at 6 and 10 Racecourse Pde near the Avondale train station and Avondale Primary School.
No sale price has been given but will be on settlement.
Longer-term plans are for a new library and community centre beside the 750 new apartments, Eke Panuku said.
"Following recent negotiations to purchase the adjacent site at 10 Racecourse Pde from Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities, Eke Panuku has been able to take both to the market as one larger site allowing for a significant development opportunity."
Mayor Phil Goff said central Avondale's regeneration was much needed and long overdue.
"For years, sites such as the one once occupied by 3 Guys have been left vacant, creating an atmosphere of neglect," he said.
John Carter, Eke Panuku priority location director, said the area had huge potential.
"To enable this and truly support the community of Avondale, a well thought-out plan, supported by investment, and strong partnerships is required.
"Since launching the high-level project plan in 2017, Eke Panuku has been making steady progress delivering on this plan and bringing all the differing elements of urban regeneration together to ready this neighbourhood for change," Carter said.
Mark Todd, Ockham chief executive and co-founder, said the partnership planned eight buildings of differing heights and configurations, built to a minimum six Homestar rating with outdoor areas and a public walkway joining the housing to the planned new town square.
Mānawa is the new project's name, meaning heart in te reō Māori. Marutūahu chairman Paul Majurey named it, Todd said.
"This is the most exciting project we've been involved in," Todd said of Ockham's 13 years in business.
"It's because this is a genuine urban regeneration project, so close to the train station with a station linking to the $4b-plus being spent on the City Rail Link."
Ockham architect chief Tania Wong, who went to school in Avondale, will head the project to design the new buildings, Todd said.
Buildings would be three to 10 levels high. Most apartments would be sold but some retained as build-to-rent, he said. Shops and hospitality uses would be developed on the ground level along the 80m of street front on Great North Rd.
"The project is about $550m on today's market value," he said. Construction would begin next year.
The development land does not include the corner site at 1907 Great North Rd, owned and operated by Kings Foodmart. But an Eke Panuku spokesperson said the new developments would be empathetic.
Ockham struck trouble in Avondale last year when protesters objected to it cutting down a 150-year-old macrocarpa at the Great North Rd/Ash St corner for its Aroha apartment development.
Dozens of protesters assembled saying the tree was one of the few remaining of its size and stature in urban parts of the city, and called on the developers to incorporate it into their design.
Todd said today the Avondale community was "super-supportive" of Ockham's work: "That was a moment in time," he said of the tree's removal.
The Marutūahu Collective was involved in Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei's 11-week High Court trial this year to assert its exclusive legal rights as mana whenua of Tāmaki Makaurau. Central to the case was a challenge to the Crown's proposal to offer land parcels within Auckland central to the Hauraki-Marutūahu Collective.
In April, the court recognised Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei as the mana whenua and aki kā of central Auckland according to its tikanga, although noted this was disputed by Marutūaha who are a Thames-based group of tribes.
Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has appealed that court decision.
Last June, the partnership opened the 95-apartment Kōkihi at Waterview. Then, it planned 541 new affordable units in four blocks worth more than $300m.
But the Avondale purchase expands those plans to more than 1000 new units in Tāmaki Makaurau.
The Marutūahu-Ockham projects are:
• Mt Albert's 119-unit Tuatahi (The First);
• Waterview's 95-unit Kōkihi (New Spring), opened last June;
• Aroha (Love), 117 apartments under construction at Avondale;
• Manaaki (Support, Hospitality), 210 units under construction at Onehunga and due to be finished this year;
• Mānawa (Heart), 750-unit Avondale scheme announced today.
Ockham Residential this month opened its 14th Auckland apartment building, The Nix, behind the Giltrap operation near the intersection of Ponsonby and Karangahape Rds.
That 32-unit build-to-rent project was sold to Resident Properties which is specialising in permanently renting new purpose-built city apartment blocks - a relatively new phenomenon.
Todd joined Resident Properties' director Greg Reidy to open the New York-inspired six-level industrial-style red brick development at 6 Nixon St. The building has no car parks, which Reidy said wasn't a problem because public transport in the area was so good and would improve when the City Rail Link is completed.
The 14 buildings Ockham has completed in Auckland are:
1. The Ockham Building, 25 apartments, Kingsland;
2. Wilkinson House, one of the Wamaka Buildings, Ellerslie
3. The Wamaka Buildings, Wilkinson Rd, Ellerslie, 18 apartments;
4. The Isaac, 75 apartments, Grey Lynn;
5. The Turing, 27 apartments, Grey Lynn;
6. Station R, 37 apartments, Mt Eden;
7. Hypatia, 61 apartments, Newmarket;
8. Daisy, 33 apartments, Mt Eden;
9. Bernoulli Gardens, 120 apartments, Hobsonville;
10. Set Buildings, 72 apartments, Avondale;
11. Tuatahi, 119 apartments, Mt Albert;
12. Modal, 32 apartments, Mt Albert;
13. Kōkihi, 95 apartments, Waterview;
14. The Nix, 32 apartments, Grey Lynn.