Los Angeles' Beverley Hills has its famous 90210 postal code so Remuera now has its 1050 - a $40 million revamp of part of the town centre, using those numbers in homage to the area's postal code.
Greg and Nick Wilkinson of Guardian Group plan to develop six new buildings in an area off the main street in what could be the area's biggest makeover in decades.
Work has already started on some shops standing on a third of a hectare site between Clonbern Rd and St Vincent Ave off Remuera Rd.
John Banks, former Auckland mayor, ex-cabinet minister and ex-Whāngarei MP, praised the project, saying Remuera had to compete with the $790m expansion of Westfield Newmarket: "This is exciting. Greg is a visionary and a breath of fresh air in this area. There's been nothing much developed since the 1950s in Remuera."
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Banks, now a project manager working in the real estate sector, said strip shops like the blue-ribbon Remuera needed to change "or die and some of the landlords have been antediluvian, resisting change and not wanting to spend money.
"I applaud Greg and what he's doing. Strip shopping areas all over Auckland must change to compete with bigger centres," Banks said.
The Wilkinson father-and-son duo's Guardian Retail 415 has applied to Auckland Council for resource consent to build new low-rise commercial and hospitality developments.
Greg Wilkinson, aged 59, said some buildings fronting Remuera Rd and the Village Green would be refurbished but five new single-level "pavilions" and a three-level block were planned on the 3400sq m site.
Architectural plans were prepared by Bureaux.
"All the pavilions will be single-level. We looked at going higher but we thought we would be ruining what we were setting out to achieve because that creates shading," Greg Wilkinson said.
"Stage one will be around $40m," he said of costs for the project, due to start about June and finish next September.
A green park-like area behind the shops will be developed.
Remuera Heritage says that area currently known as the Village Green was originally a works depot for the Remuera Road Board, and later for the Auckland City Council. The brick buildings were probably constructed around 1902 and are still standing, it said.
Wilkinson said the Village Green was "always privately owned" and although it appeared somewhat as a reserve or public space, the land was attached to adjoining titles.
"We're going to be generous with the areas surrounding the new buildings which are low-density, he said.
Shops, hospitality, cafes, restaurants and offices were planned but no apartments because Wilkinson said that was not what the business did.
"We've asked what Remuera needs. It needs a hub and a catalyst was changes planned for the New World and neighbouring carpark," Wilkinson said of a planned supermarket redevelopment and work on the Clonbern St carpark owned by the council's Panuku Development Auckland.
"Our proposal is to repurpose all the existing buildings. We like the character with the brick," he said of existing buildings "and then we'll develop in the spaces in-between."
A height restriction of 18m applies under the Unitary Plan. The development sites are near the Thai Village Restaurant.
Wilkinson, formerly of Axis, has other CBD Auckland investment. For example, his business owns the Farmer's Building, previously Whitcoulls, on the corner of Queen St and Victoria St, a building Auckland Council says is valued at $40m as well as shops in Landmark House.
"I"ve been investing in Queen St for the last 16 years," Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson also still owns some retail units in the historic Guardian Building further down Queen St which he refurbished some years ago. His business name change from Wilkinson Property Group to Guardian Group was "because we had no profile but now we are doing something with profile".
He grew up in Remuera where he lives. He praised real estate agent Megan Jaffe of Ray White Remuera who spent $12m on a building she bought at 411 Remuera Rd. Her refurbishment and renovation showed how good development could be achieved using an existing building, he said.
Jaffe has also bought the Hospice Shop premises on Remuera Rd.
Banks praised Jaffe for "leading the way in Remuera," saying her $12m redevelopment had been a beacon of hope for change in the area.