The company planning New Zealand's tallest apartment tower may be an unknown in this country, but across the Tasman it has become a specialist in giant residential projects.
Hengyi Pacific is behind three big Melbourne residential high-rise developments, one set to soar to 72 levels.
Headquartered on Melbourne's Collins St, the business is now planning The Pacifica, a 57-level Auckland tower with 54 levels of apartments and a hotel, between Commerce St and Gore St near the city's waterfront.
Dean Fossey, Hengyi Pacific's property development director from Melbourne, and Liz Scott, New Zealand general manager, say resource consent for The Pacifica has been issued by the Auckland Council and a head construction contractor will soon be appointed. Completion is planned by 2020.
Demolition on the site is complete, and Hengyi will open a display suite for The Pacifica at the end of this month at 152 Quay St. Part of a floor in that building has been fitted out like one of the planned apartments, showing kitchen, bathroom and bedroom features.
Scott says consultants working on the Auckland project include sole real estate agency CBRE, project managers AECOM, engineers BGT Structures, fire engineers Holmes, Wood & Grieve Engineers and Marshall Day Acoustics.
Hengyi is an affiliate of mainland Chinese company Shandong HYI, whose business interests include property development, investment, energy resources, commercial operations, agricultural business and e-commerce.
Fossey says Hengyi had examined apartment development prospects elsewhere in Australia, but found Auckland more attractive.
"We've bought into Auckland ahead of Sydney and Brisbane. We go to all these cities regularly," he says.
Scott says, "Hengyi is making a significant investment in our country and in Auckland. There's plenty of places globally to invest money and a lot of competition."
The pair are well aware that some Auckland apartment projects have not gone ahead, but they are adamant The Pacifica is one that will be built. Construction is due to start in the last three months of this year.
The Pacifica's architects are Australians Jaimin Atkins and Ian Briggs, of Plus Architecture, a business which established offices in Christchurch in July 2015, then in Auckland. Atkins says he is originally from Tasmania but lives in Christchurch. He came here from Melbourne where had worked on apartment developments Eminence, Element and Gravity Tower.
Fellow lead architect Briggs is a Plus founding director and based in Melbourne, Atkins says.
A video has been released marketing The Pacifica and an interactive flat-screen display is in the show suite, showing plans for each floor and individual apartment layouts. Fifteen apartments will be sold from $2.9 million, 138 from $818,000 and 94 apartments from $640,000, the display shows.
Hengyi does not plan to dig deep to create many subterranean parking levels. Instead, the 138 carparks for the 295-unit block will be above-ground, behind the new hotel planned for the lower levels, Scott says.
"We don't need to go into the ground. The only excavation work will be for piling," she says.
Carparks will be tandem - one vehicle parked behind the other - so a valet service will be offered to provide access to vehicles, she says.
A 20m lap pool will be on level seven, where a spa, gym, steam and sauna room, barbecue terrace and entertaining area are also planned.
Level 25 is planned to be a recreational amenities floor, with a media room to show films, a library and lounge area.
Fossey lives in an apartment in Melbourne and Scott is also voting with her feet, paying a deposit for a unit in an upper level in the not-yet-built tower.
Across the Tasman, Hengyi is changing Melbourne's skyline with three big projects:
• Swanston Central: Excavations have just begun for the 72-level, 1039-apartment project at 168 Victoria St, Carlton
• Light House: Construction under way, 69 levels, 607 apartments at 450 Elizabeth St, Melbourne CBD
• The William: Completed, two towers, 21 and 23 levels, 531 apartments, 199 William St, Melbourne CBD
Now it has designs on Auckland:
• The Pacifica: Planned. 57-level apartment/hotel tower, between Commerce St and Gore St
(Source: Hengyi Pacific)