A $16 million Tauranga development marks a resurgence of interest in inner-city apartment living - with at least 100 apartments planned to be built over the next few years.
The 19-unit apartment complex above Takitimu Drive joins a planned 31-unit complex behind the police station in Cliff Rd, the six-unit Beeches on Monmouth and the 42-unit Quest boutique apartment hotel in Devonport Rd.
The new $16m development is called One Selwyn because of its Selwyn St address. Rob Pinny of Ray White Commercial said four apartments had already been sold off plans and a further two sale contracts are due to be signed this week.
It marked an upsurge in momentum for downtown apartments since the market went flat in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis.
Prices ranged from $550,000 to more than $1 million for the development, built on seven levels. Three of the apartments and carpark are below the level of the road, overlooking Waikareao Estuary. The apartments above the level of Selwyn St feature panoramic views.
Pinny said a range of people had already shown interest, including businesspeople wanting to be closer to the CBD without the worry of property maintenance such as lawns.
"We are aiming for professionals and retired people who don't really want to be in the Mount but have a nice high-spec apartment in Tauranga."
One Selwyn took advantage of the relaxed planning rules in the Tauranga City Council's City Living Zone where building heights were allowed to reach 13m. Plans were being prepared by another developer for an apartment complex on the former Tauranga Squash Club site on 7th Ave, but no details were available.
The resource consent issued by the council listed One Selwyn's applicant as the WM Taylor Family Trust.
Pinny said One Selwyn was being built on a 2609 sq m site, and the landowner always intended to bring apartment plans to the market once the time was right. The proximity to Takitimu Drive meant the design included reinforced "hush" glass on the balconies.
He said they had received 65 inquiries since marketing began last month.
"We are seeing a lot of people taking an interest in the CBD again because they see it as an opportunity."
The first of the new generation of downtown apartments to be built was expected to be Beeches on Monmouth, where five of the six apartments have been sold and construction due to start very soon.
In another development near the police station, a resource consent application was lodged last month by TYBI Ltd for a 31-apartment, seven-level development that included 49 carparks.
John Pope of Ray White has noticed that whenever the residential house market levelled off, interest in apartments and lifestyle blocks increased.
Simon Anderson, chief executive of Realty Services which operates Eves and Bayleys, said the market for top-end apartments had noticeably lifted.
"There has been a real change in attitude over the last few months."
Apartment developments in the downtown area could be driven by the realisation of Tauranga's traffic congestion. People whose children had left home were also looking at the advantages of a "lock and leave" lifestyle without lawns and gardens.
"It is a real confidence booster for the downtown. With these numbers, things start happening."
Neville Falconer, LJ Hooker's Bay franchise owner, said the level of development was a good thing for Tauranga compared with the Mount. "We need that sort of life in the city."
Planned inner-city apartment developments
Quest boutique apartment hotel: 42 apartments
Cliff Rd Apartments: 31 apartments
One Selwyn: 19 apartments
Beeches on Monmouth: Six apartments
107 Wharf St: Four apartments