Decision out on 40-level Auckland CBD tower at the centre of litigation; Fletcher says structural but airport says not structural - what’s going on with carpark building? The Greenhouse has been called a once-in-a-lifetime project for Ockham Residential but what of its other plans? And how did Auckland Council go pulling out of commercial office leases? All is in today’s Property Insider.
The High Court at Auckland has ruled in the case brought by owners of one of New Zealand’s tallest apartment buildings: the 40-level 406-unit Harbour Oaks, 16 Gore St near Britomart. They have a decision in their bombshell case.
But the outcome remains under wraps.
Gareth Lewis of Grimshaw & Co Lawyers, acting for the owners, told Property Insider last Thursday: “The court has directed that the judgment not be released to anyone other than the parties for the time being.”
Body Corporate chairman Haydn Ash concurred, saying owners were under instructions to share the outcome with no one in the meantime.
This decision is extremely detailed and weighty, people who have copies said. It could be around 500 pages long.
In 2022, owners sued for $140 million. In one decision, a judge said the claim was one of the larger building defects cases involving a single building. The cost of remedial work had been estimated at $131m.
At the start of the proceeding in 2014, the unit owners’ claim was for a more modest $11m, one judge noted.
The owners say the building was constructed with fire, structural, weather-tightness and internal moisture defects, according to an interim decision in the matter out in 2021.
This will be another important case in the shameful defective building blight which has hit this country so hard.
John Gray of the Home Owners and Buyers Association says New Zealand’s largest leaky building case remains St Lukes Garden at around $200m.
Ockham Residential’s The Greenhouse - it’s a gas
It might be a few months later than the expected opening date, but it sure is pretty.
The Greenhouse has 150,000 imported iridescent green glazed bricks on the eye-catching exterior, glinting in the bright summer sun.
On Friday this week, Ockham Residential will have Mayor Wayne Brown open the block at 20 Williamson Ave, Ponsonby, opposite Woolworths.
Ockham says the new block is its flagship building “nurtured through years of planning and construction and now complete”.
Last year, the development business headed by Mark Todd anticipated opening The Greenhouse around November to early December. It’s now February and still not entirely finished.
Each brick cost more than $10, Todd said, indicating a $1.5m bill for that cladding alone. They were fired by Sant’Anselmo brick company from Venuto, northern Italy near Venice.
Construction experts admire Ockham for the beauty of its buildings, designed by in-house architects, as well as efficiencies of scale.
“You look at the bathrooms, kitchens, skirting in each of their developments. They all look different on the outside but the same inside,” one high-rise expert said.
We may hear more on Friday about how Todd sees the outlook for apartments after Ockham repaid deposits and cancelled The Feynman last year due to poor presales.
Certainly, the business has big prospects with the planned multi-billion dollar Maungārongo beside Unitec and the old Carrington Hospital.
Ockham also has many other sites around the city. What happens to the site of The Feynman, 339-359 Great North Rd, where once it planned to build 165 units?
Some units at the new Manaaki in Onehunga are still to be sold.
You thought the hard bit was finding a car park
What precisely is wrong with NZX-listed Wellington International Airport’s (WIA) new carpark block?
That was the question posed by one reader after Fletcher’s decision last week to provision $15m to fix problems.
Um, problems? What problems? Did we know there were problems with this block before Ross Taylor announced the fix-up provision?
Did the airport say? That wasn’t material to trading in shares, Property Insider has been told.
Go back in time. It was in late 2018 that the airport was delighting in the fancy new nine-level building with more than 1000 parks opening at the north or city end of the existing terminal.
At the time of opening, Wellington Airport’s transport manager Pippi Kettle said: “It’s a great milestone for Wellington Airport and we think the public will like the new building and parking options available to them.”
This month, a spokesman for the airport company told Property Insider that the colourful cladding blended in extremely well with the background hills, sky and sea.
So it was a surprise when Taylor’s speech last Monday, which went with a presentation, said: “I want to also briefly update where we’re up to at Wellington Airport. We’ve been in discussions with the airport on potential solutions to the structural quality issues in the carpark through the last six months and while these have not been yet fully agreed, we now consider that we have an appropriate technical solution that can be implemented. Based on this, we have made a $15 million provision which we expect will be implemented through calendar 2024.”
Questions have been put to WIA about what’s wrong with its car park. Could it be cladding?
“The issues with the building are not structural,” the airport spokesman said.
Yet Taylor said last Monday there were “structural quality issues”.
Taylor says one thing. The airport says another.
The precise nature of failures remains unknown at this point.
Will we hear more on Wednesday at Fletcher’s 1H24?
Five-building retreat - how did that go, Wayne?
How did Eke Panuku go with leasing ex-Auckland Council offices in Mayor Wayne Brown’s attempts to prune costs?
It was last year that the Herald revealed a five-building retreat to lower costs.
We’ve got an update. Rod Aitken, council corporate property head, said this month all the CBD space has been sub-let. Only space in the new Asset Plus-owned council building on Munroe Lane, Albany remained to be leased.
“The council’s property optimisation programme has continued to consolidate staff accommodation and reduce the property footprint across the Auckland Council group,” Aitken said.
At Auckland House, 135 Albert St, a new lease has been signed with the Department of Conservation for half a floor.
Each floor in that ex-ASB building is 1205sq m.
Tātaki Auckland Unlimited and Eke Panuku Development Auckland have each exited their leased premises and moved into two floors at Auckland House, taking four floors in total, Aitken said.
The lease for two floors at 167 Victoria St West had been fully assigned to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
The lease for one level at 20 Viaduct Harbour Ave went to the Automobile Association.
Two floors at 82 Wyndham St have been fully surrendered to the building owner, Argosy Property.
The sub-lease of a floor at 6-8 Munroe Lane, Albany had not occurred, he said.
Anne Gibson has been the Herald’s property editor for 24 years, has won many awards, written books and covered property extensively here and overseas.