By now, Wynyard Quarter needs no introduction to Aucklanders. It has become the byword for inner city revitalisation, its pedestrian- and cycle-friendly streets and massed buildings a demonstration of what good inner city density can be.
Only last week some of the precinct's newest commercial and residential blocks were recognised in the New Zealand Institute of Architecture awards.
The first residents have moved in and there's more construction coming on stream. The address 30 Madden, now being marketed by Barfoot & Thompson for developers Willis Bond, is the last of the residential blocks.
The two blocks have been released in stages: stage one started building in 2018 and is mostly sold; stage two is ready for a late 2019 build start and 2020 occupancy.
But getting to where residents can enjoy their new water-side community has not been a fast process. It was back in 2013 when Studio Pacific Architects, led by director Stephen McDougall, got involved with the Waterfront Auckland (the predecessor to Panuku) in the review for five residential blocks, along with the two other practices.
Willis Bond's Mark McGuinness said that it was important to have design diversity so materials, forms and massing are all different.
"New Zealand has some great architects, so we like getting a range of views and looks," he says. "In the past the inner city had all looked the same; this was our opportunity to look different.
"It was the start of a voyage of discovery. We learned that Aucklanders are really excited about living at Wynyard. They bought into that — we've sold nearly half a billion dollars of apartments."
But McGuinness says its not just about a building, the company has always focussed on creating a community for its residents. "The building is a means to an end. People are time stretched, they want good quality, good value for money, amenity and assets that won't depreciate over time."
That translates into essentials that McGuinness says distinguishes a well thought-through home — good natural light, good acoustics, aesthetic finishes that make people feel good about they way they live, even higher stud heights (at 30 Madden they are 2.7m) to make the homes feel airier.
This has extended to the company choosing the retailers and cafes that line street level — top tier restaurateurs like Williams Eatery great barbers, operators that understand they are creating a neighbourhood and get to know their customers by name.
And while McGuinness says the company, along with builders LG McGuinness ( yes, Mark's father started the company in 1953), is constantly lifting its game, it was up to architect McDougall and his team of engineers to deliver.
To manage costs and a tough construction timetable, SPA went back to the structural
bones ("structure is the new black", says McDougall) to rethink how the carparks could be incorporated without the cost and disruption of digging into former seabed. The solution was a modular grid plan for cars on ground level.
A private garden on the site will become a showpiece. The garden, 20m wide, is stepped and terraced to give owners privacy and meets the street in a New Zealand native version of New York's famed High Line.
The project is not just about pretty looks — sustainability is key. The build is aiming for a Homestar 7 rating, starting with recycling through the construction process, and features high insulation ratings, low energy LED lighting and appliances, low flow water fixtures, eco finishes and readiness for solar power installation.
As expected from Willis Bond, the detailing is top end with buyers able to chose from three colour schemes. There are optional extras such as natural stone and wine fridges in some apartments.
Naturally there are bike parks, along with an option for owners to buy carparks. But McGuinness, who himself lives in a city apartment, has found that he rarely uses his car during the week.
"This area is only going to get better as America's Cup comes to town," says McGuinness.
"With the big steps in the journey next around the tank farm, it's just going to transform Auckland. Auckland was waiting for this."
Madden features 63 apartments, with balconies, ranging from 12sq m to 72sq m
• Studios — 45sq m from $635,000
• One bedroom — 54sq m from $725,000
• Two bedroom — from 74sq m to 107sq m from $995,000, with media room from $1,595,000
• Three bedroom — 135sq m to 146sq m from $2,060,000
• Penthouses — 252sq m POA.
• Car parks are an additional $125,000 per park.
• View display suite, corner Daldy and Madden Streets, Sat, Sun 2-4pm
• Contact: George Damiris, Barfoot & Thompson, 021 956 111 or Gabrielle Hoffman, 021 021 666 11.