A prominent yellow figure on Karangahape Rd has met the wrecking ball as work progresses on creating what developer Mark Cooper promises will be a landmark eminently more chic in nature.
The vibrant yellow building that had housed the Dick Smith store on the corner of K Rd and Cobden St is no more, its exterior levelled as work on the Lighthouse apartment block moves forward.
This defunct retail space is understood to have been an early New Zealand store in the electronics chain which expanded rapidly through Australasia in the 1980s before going into receivership two years ago.
Lighthouse developer Mark says: "In a way its removal signified an iconic part of Karangahape Road disappearing — so best we replace it with something that truly is iconic."
Mark lived at a K Rd address 25 years ago and respects the road's character-laden history but is also happy about the significant of those yellow walls disappearing.
"I know we've got our consents, we've got our funding, we've got our builder, we've got our pre-sales and we've started construction onsite. About half Lighthouse's studios, one-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom penthouses and sub-penthouses have already sold.
"But there's nothing like a digger onsite to say 'yes, we're going ahead' to buyers."
The boutique 31-unit apartment block designed by architect Alister Kitchen of Leuschke Group Architects is being constructed by Amstar.
Mark says the name Lighthouse signifies the fact the corner site on the corner of no-exit Cobden St, which cannot be built out, will deliver light and openness to its apartments, plus significant views.
The Lighthouse name also fitted with him wanting the new building's design to make it a beacon. Its distinctive stepped front design features arched steel framing on the fore of the building.
This references the arched shape used in inverted form above windows in its neighbouring three-storey brick heritage building.
Other exterior materials include glass, vertical ribbed profile Colorsteel and Alucobond aluminium composite panels.
Mark started his development career in New Zealand, and then spent 15 years in Switzerland and Los Angeles before returning home.
He says he is on site every day and knows this building will be special and built to the quality necessary to satisfy him. However, he can appreciate how important piece of mind is when buying off the plans.
"So we have a 10-year structural and building envelope warranty through Lloyds of London."
The development's location will deliver northerly views with many residences above level one able to see the harbour. Two-bedroom penthouses will be on level six and two-bedroom sub-penthouses on levels four and five.
Mark feels the buyers to date are people who appreciate the building and the area's distinctiveness. They are not content to live in a big, bland apartment block.
He marvels at how the road close to Ponsonby, Queen St and the Nelson St cycleway retains a bohemian character while constantly evolving with more galleries, eateries and produce.
Mark says Lighthouse will be marketed with current pricing for three to four months but he anticipates then taking remaining stock off the market to sell near completion after reviewing pricing upwards.
He says: "We're confident the apartments will be worth more then."
Interiors will feature kitchens with composite stone bench tops, engineered timber flooring and bathrooms with floor to ceiling tiling.
• Work is now under way to build Lighthouse, an apartment development at 442 Karangahape Rd, Auckland. Completion is scheduled for August 2019.
• 1-2 bedrooms, 1-2 bathrooms, 1 parking space.
• Inspect: 460 Karangahape Rd open daily 1-1.45pm (free parking at rear off Cobden St).
• Schools: Newton Central School, Kowhai Intermediate, Western Springs College, Auckland Girls' Grammar.
• Contact: Jill Jackson, Barfoot and Thompson, 021 745 424; Emma John, 021 862 242L, lighthousekrd.co.nz/