A new $70 million town centre and 1.1km road are being built by the country's largest housing land developer on Auckland's northern outskirts.
Evan Davies, Todd Property managing director, said the town and road were now under construction at the 162ha Long Bay housing estate, the country's largest new greenfields residential project above the popular regional park.
The town and the new 1.1km Glenvar Ridge Rd are scheduled for completion by 2019. Around 450 residences have now been built at Long Bay but 1700 are planned in the project, due to be finished around 2022.
Stephen Martin, Todd land development general manager, showed how the town was being built in a gully near the Vaughan's Stream, below the new housing estates. Earthworks for the new supermarket - whose operator is yet to be named - are well under way.
"The supermarket of 2500sq m will be an anchor and there will be five restaurants, a medical centre, gym - signed but we can't announce who - and a range of other retailers including a real estate agents, food and beverage, health, beauty and a travel agent," Martin said.
Davies said the village being built by Naylor Love would fulfil two objectives.
"First, to be the heart of the new community, providing all the services, anchored around the supermarket and second to be a destinational seaside village for a broad range of Aucklanders visiting the regional park. That's why it will be more heavily food and beverage than you'd expect," Davies said.
Martin said Auckland Transport had a significant role in the new road, including securing the route.
Auckland Transport said the road started opposite the Long Bay Baptist Church on the existing Glenvar Rd and ran to the western boundary of the lower Long Bay development site.
"Auckland Transport and Long Bay Communities Ltd have an agreement to build the new road. The agreement makes it possible to build the road by 2018 - seven years earlier than would have been possible by ratepayer funding alone. Sharing the cost will save ratepayers an estimated $7.5m over the next two decades," AT said.
Martin said work was being carried out by Hick Bros Civil Construction.
The 22m wide twin-carriageway had a footpath on one side and a shared cycle path/ footpath on the other side and no parking, Martin said.
Residents now drive in via two access roads from the existing Torbay street network. But the new road would provide a swift alternative for residents and park visitors, Martin said.
The road is being built down a ridgeline from upper Glenvar Rd. Davis said it would transform transport to the area.
"It's a more direct route for traffic from the northern motorway and it will provide a wide range of views, including vistas of the Hauraki Gulf and views through to the wetlands and the Vaughan's Stream corridor, where we are planting more than 120,000 new trees and plants," Davies said.
The new road would alleviate the heavy build-up of traffic on Beach Rd in the summer, he said. Construction includes sinking piling up to 15m below the surface, extensive geotechnical engineering works and 770m of subterranean work.
As part of the project, Todd is working with the Ministry of Education to build a new playing field adjacent to Long Bay Primary School.
Julia Parfitt, chairwoman of the Hibiscus Coast and Bays Local Board, said the new road and town centre were "always planned. Our board was totally supportive of the village and Glenvar Ridge Rd".
Karol Helmink, Long Bay Residents Association secretary who lives on Te Oneroa Way, praised the work.
"The village centre will be right at the bottom of our street and I'm really excited about it all coming to fruition. I walk so I can envisage a circuit, having a coffee on the way home. I think the road will take a lot of pressure off the other end of the entrance to the beach. It will be fantastic," she said.
"Apparently there's a park within 400m of every residence. They're putting a new one in just above the container cafe," she said, adding that a dog park, like at Hobsonville Point, would also be popular at Long Bay. Dog walkers use the beach during winter but a park would be a bonus during summer, she said.
• 162ha of land being developed
• Residential, retail commercial development
• Estimated to be completed by 2022
• Website www.longbay.co.nz