Builders and mechanical diggers are busy onsite now that construction has started on Fabric of Onehunga's apartment buildings.

Andrew Lamont, who runs development company Lamont and Co with his brother Tim, says: "It's full steam ahead and our builders Kalmar Construction are making excellent progress."

Stage One, designed by architects Ashton Mitchell, will consist of three four-storey apartment buildings a couple of blocks from Onehunga's main strip and the train station and handy to the regenerated foreshore.

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The once semi-industrial site housed the Holeproof clothing factory from the 1960s, and later a company producing fruit-sorting machinery.

The Lamont brothers chose New Zealand company Kalmar Construction, based on their cooperation with another project, the SKHY development under way in Auckland's Uptown.

Says Andrew: "In our view they are the most experienced residential multi-unit constructor."

Kalmar, whose recent projects include CBD SugarTree apartments and Stonefields' apartments, have been on site at Onehunga since May.

They've already demolished an existing warehouse and office building towards the Victoria Street side of the 1.29 ha site, which stretches all the way from Spring Street.

Excavation for basement parking is well underway, with foundations due to begin soon. Kalmar are responsible for bringing to fruition the architect's design, which reflects the site's light industrial heritage with apartment buildings wrapped in steel cladding, black joinery and timber detailing.

Tim says: "We wanted the architecture to be distinctive."

Originally, designs included light-filled multi-storey atriums with suspended pedestrian walkways providing access to the apartments, but these needed to be dropped when the designs moved from the preliminary to the detailed phase.

Andrew says: "We trust Kalmar who said it was impractical to build the development with the atriums as they had been designed because of weathertightness and fire concerns.

"They have been replaced with wide 2.5-metre corridors with full height glazing at its southern end."

Tim says: "From our perspective the end result is we have actually got a more robust building long-term, and all the essence of what we wanted to create definitely remains.

"The other important thing to note is that one of the things that sets this development apart is the extent of landscaping, including the central pocket park which separates the buildings. The new building corridors will be wide but because the atriums would have been wider, the landscaping between buildings becomes even more generous — in some areas an extra 6-8m wider.

"You get a good view of the site from Victoria Street now the demolition's been done and a sense of just how spacious these outdoor areas will be."

Nearly 70 per cent of Stage One's 161 apartments have sold. There are only two one-bedroom and one three-bedroom apartments available, the balance being two-bedroom residences, although some of the best north-facing apartments are still available.

Some upper apartments will get good views towards the Manukau Harbour.

The Lamonts have noticed the Waterview Tunnel's opening substantial quickened their journey from Onehunga into the CBD.

Prospective buyers can view a full two-bedroom, two-bathroom display suite onsite (which has been created in an office building which will be demolished for Stage Two of Fabric).

Stage One's apartments are referred to as F, A and B, spelling out the Fabric name. The scheduled move-in dates for F and A are in April-May 2020 and for B October 2020.

The Lamonts are looking at undertaking Stage Two's final two buildings from mid-2020.

11 SPRING STREET, ONEHUNGA
• Stage one of Fabric of Onehunga at 11 Spring St will consist of three four-storey apartment buildings.
A: 1-bd, 1-bth, 58sq m (plus 11sq m-47sq m balcony or private ground floor terraces), at $675,000. Inc 1 car park.
B: 2-bd, 2-bth, 77sq m-93sq m (plus 8sq m-229sq m balcony or private ground floor terraces), from $775,000. Inc 1-2 car parks.
C: 3-bd, 2-bth, 110sq m (plus 69sq m in ground floor terraces), priced at $1,250,000. Inc 2 car parks.
• Body corp: From $2,263-$4,190 a year.
• Inspect: Display apartment at 11 Spring St, Onehunga, open daily 11am to 3pm.
• Schools: Onehunga Primary, Royal Oak Intermediate, Onehunga High School.
• Contact: 0800 258 358, Karishma Singh 021 0235 9083, or Duncan Macdonald 021 903 237, Colliers International, oneroof.co.nz/1026269