AUCKLAND'S BIGGEST WATERFRONT RESIDENTIAL SITE:
1.5ha of waterfront land with 16 separate street addresses
• Owned by a company whose directors include Berridge Spencer
• He is a member of one of NZ's richest families: $720m fortune
• Fortune from the Caxton paper empire but now in diverse interests
• New Auckland house planned for Berridge and Olivia Spencer
• Spencers also own historic Man O'War property, Waiheke Island
A mansion is set to rise on one of Auckland's most scenic waterfront spots on a site featuring 16 separate street addresses - with one real estate industry expert saying its land value alone would top $50 million.
Plans obtained by the Weekend Herald have revealed the future face of a 1.5ha Stanley Pt property near Devonport - including the demolition of an old residence, a stately new "English-cottage style" home, two jetties and a boat shed as big as a small house fronting the magical secluded Secret Cove on Ngataringa Bay.
The home, surrounded by groves of native trees teeming with birds, will be extremely secluded and private and face the northeast.
Much of the land has been in the wealthy Spencer family for three generations, initially in the hands of Berridge Spencer snr, whose son John Spencer died earlier this year in Britain.
Plans for the pending development were submitted to Auckland Council by Wendy Baverstock of planning and resource management consultancy Isle Land. The plans show the 16 addresses owned by one entity.
The NBR Rich List says the Spencer family is one of the country's richest, estimating its wealth this year at $720 million.
Now, a company whose directors include the John Spencer's son, businessman Berridge Spencer - listed by the Companies Office as living in Surrey, England - has made a resource consent application, assessed as not needing notification.
Tokoeka Properties, of which Berridge Spencer is a director, has applied to build on the 15,428sq m site, vast in a city where plots as small as 300sq m are sometimes developed into three-bedroom houses with two-car garages. Tokoeka also owns properties in the name of McLeod and Albon, Baverstock's document showed.
Quotable Value lists the site's main house as dating back to the 1914-1929 period but Baverstock's report cited Veron Building Consultants: "The existing dwelling is in poor physical condition, including showing signs of dampness and rotting. There may also be asbestos present." The house, not visible from the street, had no historical significance and was not a pure example of a Spanish Mission style house due to the extensions in 1936, 1940 and 1959, the report said.
A new two-level dark brown brick and timber-clad dwelling with steel joinery and chimneys will be "a modern interpretation of an English cottage style", plans for the Stanley Pt property show.
That house will have a 34sq m porte cochere, 77sq m pool room/guest house to the east with bedroom and ensuite, open pergola to link that guest house to the main dwelling, a pool and spa on the northern side of the main new residence, 42sq m outdoor room covered by a glass roof with retractable blinds and a four-car garage, according to planning documents.
The first floor will be 239sq m and have a master bedroom, ensuite, walk-in wardrobe, store room and two additional bedrooms.
Dave Serjeant, the council-appointed duty commissioner who reviewed the application to see whether it should be publicly notified, wrote on August 30 that the resource consent should proceed on a non-notified basis. Documents showed the new house was designed by architects Sumich Chaplin will be for Berridge and Olivia Spencer.
Ollie Wall of Graham Wall Real Estate said the land value alone of the property was mouth-watering.
"A property of that scale on Auckland's waterfront could easily sell in the vicinity of $50 million. It's what the whole world wants and there's no price limit on paradise."
Chris Darby, an Auckland councillor whose family home abuts the property being developed, praised the plans, which Serjeant's report showed would remove 15 protected pohutukawa, macrocarpa and liquidamber trees.
"I'm encouraged by the development. We're dealing with a private estate, in the Spencer family name for three generations and they have held most of that land since the 1920s, with Berridge Spencer snr building the Spanish mission-style house," Darby said.
"The Spencers have proven themselves fearsome protectors of great trees. It's a wonderful park-like estate which many of the locals would say 'that's where all our birds come from' and one of the [city's only] pohutukawa canopies not wrecked by excessive, constant hacking and pruning. The existing house is hardly habitable, run-down, built of very light-weight materials."
"The Spencers have proven themselves fearsome protectors of great trees"
Serjeant wrote that demolition of the existing house would "have no adverse impact on heritage values given its highly modified nature and limited historic heritage character".
Tree removal would be mitigated by replacement planting, he said. Discretionary activities include extending a driveway into the rootzone of a protected tree, site works exposing 2421sq m of bare earth, demolishing an existing house and establishing four new dwellings on the site, Serjeant's report said.
The Weekend Herald approached Baverstock seeking comment from her client, but had not received that at press time.