What's not to love about Onehunga? The heritage suburb is well on the way to being the next Ponsonby, reckons Joe Holden of development company Avanda Group, due to its character and mix of great cafes and restaurants.

Plus there's fantastic shopping, including New Zealand's biggest outlet mall, Dress Smart, and excellent transport options, thanks to the nearby motorway and railway.

And the rejuvenation of nearby Onehunga wharf is going to eventually create a mini-Viaduct that will make the area even more popular.

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That's why Avanda didn't hesitate to snap up old warehouses on the corner of Church Street and George Terrace a few years ago.

"It is such good location — so close to Onehunga Mall and also the Onehunga Bay Reserve, which is a great place for walking dogs," says Avanda project manager Joe.

Nor did Avanda waste any time when it came to building — construction of the six three-story buildings that make up the new Onehunga Bay Terraces is well under way.

Roofs are already on and the first two blocks are expected to be ready to be occupied in June and July next year. The remaining four will be done by August and September.

"We just wanted to get on with it," says Joe. "There is a lot of interest in this part of town, with people looking for quality, long-term homes, and they don't want to wait."

To date, much of the housing stock in Onehunga is quite old, and not everyone wants a home they have to spend a lot of time and money maintaining, says Joe.

"People want homes that are low-maintenance and upmarket, so that is what we are giving them."

Avanda is also giving buyers plenty of space in the 38 terraced homes. They have two bathrooms and three bedrooms; they also have a single garage with internal access, plus an additional parking space. Outdoor living will be provided in the terraces with both a courtyard and a balcony.

The apartments have one bedroom, and come with an option of an open air parking space. Four of the apartments have been designated as affordable Special Housing Areas.

The plans, devised by award-winning Auckland architectural design practice Creative Arch, have been carefully thought-out to maximise space, including providing ample storage.

The terraces and the apartments will have a bright and airy feel, thanks to floor to ceiling windows, and partially raised ceilings in some rooms will add to the sense of spaciousness. Euro-style kitchens will have stone benchtops and Fisher & Paykel appliances. Top quality materials are being used throughout, says Joe.

The concrete construction, which features brick and aluminium panel detailing, will create warm and dry homes that also have high levels of sound-proofing. Windows will be double glazed.

"We believe that if you are going to do something, you should do it right," adds Joe.

He says there has been a lot of interest from people who already live in Onehunga and appreciate everything the area has to offer, including the fact that the opening of the Waterview tunnel makes it a much quicker journey into the city via the motorway.

Also, plans for a new lightrail system would connect Onehunga with both the city and airport. The current rail line goes to Britomart via Penrose.

With schools and parks (including Cornwall Park and the Onehunga War Memorial Pool and Leisure Centre at Jellicoe Park) also within easy reach, Onehunga Bay Terraces will appeal to families as well as couples.

"We think there is going to be a really nice community feel, and that people will want to live there for a long time," says Joe.

Onehunga Bay Terraces
• Onehunga Bay Terraces features six apartments and 38 three-level terraced homes in a new development in Church St, Onehunga. Just 200m from the Onehunga Bay Reserve and 500m from Onehunga mall, including Dress Smart, and walking distance to the Onehunga train station. A 10-minute drive to Auckland Airport and 25 minutes to the city centre, off peak.
• Options: Freehold three-story terraced house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, single garage, another car parking space and courtyards, ranging from 144-150sqm (including deck), priced from $850,000. Apartments with one bedroom, one bathroom, ranging from 52-60sqm (including deck), priced from $510,000* without car park, or $620,000 with one open-air car park.
• Body corp: $2600 a year.
• Inspect: Display suite open at 22 George Tce, Onehunga from noon until 2pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and noon until 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
• Schools: Onehunga Primary, Royal Oak Intermediate, Onehunga High School.
• Contact: Sherryl Todd, Colliers International, 021 222 6308, OnehungaBayTerraces.co.nz
*Special housing area terms and conditions apply