Property developer Mark Todd may not have a crystal ball but he can confidently make a predication: "Avondale is going to be the next Kingsland," he says. "Just you watch."
He's so positive about the future of the suburb he jumped at the chance for his company, Ockham Residential, to build a new development, Set, alongside the Avondale Racecourse.
Like Kingsland, Avondale has a multi-cultural vibe, a train station and a colourful main strip of shops that give it a village feel. It's quick to get into the central city, and nearby motorway access also makes it easy to get to other parts of Auckland.
The suburb is ripe for regeneration and Panuku Development Auckland, the Auckland Council organisation helping to rejuvenate parts of the city, has identified Avondale as an area of major opportunity. It has plans to revitalize and intensify it over the next 15 years.
Along with supporting the upgrade of the town centre, Panuku is encouraging the growth of local businesses, which will be great for residents of Set.
In the nearly four years since Ockham bought the former Suburbs rugby club site to develop, Mark's noticed changes in the area, including the welcome arrival of an excellent cafe, Browne St, a short walk away in Rosebank Rd.
"It's super-trendy, and the food is as good as anything you get at a cafe in Kingsland or Ponsonby," he says. "And I think we are going to see a lot more places like that in Avondale. It's got a really big future."
Set offers people a chance to get into the area while prices are still reasonable. Ockham, founded by Mark and his business partner Ben Preston, is known for apartments that are affordable, as well as sustainable, well-designed and made from durable, low-maintenance materials that age gracefully, and Set is no exception.
The solid masonry and brick complex is now finished, with only 17 apartments still available. They include a range of two-bedroom and one bedroom plus study homes, all facing north or west, and some with fantastic views to the Waitakere Ranges.
A couple are top floor apartments, which feature striking pitched ceilings with a stud of nearly 4m. There's one ground floor apartment with a garden left.
All of Set's apartments have New Zealand-made kitchens with engineered stone bench-tops, European engineered timber flooring and double glazing. They come with full appliance packages, heat pumps, storage lockers and are wired for fibre, alas well as being fully insulated for warmth and sound.
Set is spread across three buildings, called Subset A, B and C. Subset A and B have three levels of walk-up apartments, while Subset C is a five-story building.
The look of the development was inspired by original architecture in the area, including the pitched roofing on stables around the racecourse and the nearby historical St Ninian's Church.
All of Ockham's developments are named after critical thinkers or concepts, and the three Set buildings are influenced by the idea of sets being one of the most fundamental concepts in mathematics (both Ben and Mark studied maths at university). The Venn diagram, used to denote the intersection of two or more sets, is used in the detailing of the buildings.
Something else Ockham is known for is the inclusion of communal residents' lounges in their developments, and Set also has one, on the ground floor of Subset C.
The lounge opens out to a west-facing patio and there's also a communal garden with vegetable patches and fruit trees.
The apartments come with one secure carpark but are also ideal for public transport users — they're just a couple of minutes walk to the train station and bus stop.
"It's easy living, it's close to everything, the apartments are low maintenance and brand new," Mark says.
"They've really got a lot going for them."
• What You Need To Know: Set, at 26 Racecourse Parade, Avondal, features 17 apartments positioned on a west-facing site alongside Avondale Racecourse with views to the Waitakere Ranges. Just a few minutes walk to Avondale shops, cafes and the Avondale Train Station.
• Options: Apartments range in size from 45 to
51sq m for a one-bedroom apartment through to 67 to 81sq m for a two bedroom apartment (not including balconies which range from 7sq m to 12sq m).
• Body Corp: Estimated from $2900 a year.
• Inspect: Sat/Sun 2-3pm or by appointment, 26 Racecourse Parade, Avondale.
• Price: From $540,000 to $795,000, including one secure car park.
• Contact: Maria Salmon 027 274 0573, Joss Lewis 021 245 5155 or Nick Reid 021 721 915.
• On The Web: theset.nz