Long-delayed plans for the first of a $200 million apartment scheme at the North Shore's Milford have been reignited, with the developer preparing a building consent application for the first $100m-plus block.

Campbell Barbour, NZ Retail Property Group general manager, said last week paperwork was underway for a nine-level 63-unit block to be built beside the existing Milford Centre retail hub, facing Omana Rd.

"We're going through a building consent process at the moment. We've already got a resource consent," Barbour said of plans for the luxury block where units are planned to sell for $1.5m to $5m.

That could yield about $120m but no overall price of the project is available yet.

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Barbour said although initial plans dating back to 2016 had not proceeded, NZRPG would still go ahead with the project.

In 2016, it marketed units from $1.7m to $6m for its first block on a site off its outdoor carpark facing Milford Rd.

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The Milford was to have 115 units and the first residents were to move in mid-2019. An apartment display suite was opened September, 2016 in the ex-ASB bank retail outlet in the mall, with a full-sized mock-up bedroom, kitchen, living area and bathroom.

The Milford Residents Association had strongly opposed the scheme and plans went to the Environment Court, although some association members later expressed an interest in buying units.

But the association said it had won victories over the project, with the height reduced from 60m to 45m.

Read more: First glimpse: Inside new $200m Auckland apartment project

In November, 2017, NZRPG put the scheme in the affluent neighbourhood on hold and initial works stopped.

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Barbour said at the time high bank borrowing costs, falling house prices, low pre-sales and delays getting contract building prices had prompted the business to delay building the first 115 apartment units and 20 new shops.

Marketing two years ago promoted this image of the first apartments.
Marketing two years ago promoted this image of the first apartments.

But last week, Barbour said: "We're in the process of preparing a building consent application. We've been undertaking some off-market pre-sales, with people we have been dealing with previously. Eventually, we will go for a full, on-market programme."

The first work was now planned for an entirely different site than where the business had first planned the initial block, he said.

Instead of building in the carpark off Milford Rd, plans were to develop the first block further down the hill behind The Warehouse.

"As far as the site goes, it's a lot more straightforward because it's pretty much self-contained. It's on its own site, down at the back of The Warehouse," Barbour said.

Apartments to rise there would look towards Milford beach and the marina and basement excavation would provide 90 car parking spaces.

How one of the Milford apartments might look inside, according to 2017 marketing.
How one of the Milford apartments might look inside, according to 2017 marketing.

NZRPG has owned the 14,000sq m Milford Centre since 2006, has 65 tenancies there and 757 free carparking spaces. Anchor tenants are The Warehouse and Countdown. Around 44 per cent of shoppers at the centre have an income of $100,000 or more and 29 per cent are aged between 40 and 60.

Read more: Milford to get 12-level apartments

Shoppers are predominantly female, aged 30 to 60 and NZRPG says they are "perfectly positioned for high-end retail brands and services across fashion, homeware, hair and beauty, dining and more."

The business, owned by Mark Gunton, describes itself as New Zealand's largest privately owned retail development, investment and management property company.

Barbour is also chairman of the NZ Council of Retail Property.