After years of planning, Flat Bush in south-east Auckland is getting its long-awaited town centre at Ormiston in a $200 million scheme now under construction.

Evan Davies, Todd Property managing director, said construction began in October at the 4.5ha site beside Barry Curtis Park. Savory Construction and Scarboro Construction had begun on the retail centre which would eventually be 45,000sq m, with JFL doing civil works. In addition, 1250 carparks were planned, he said.

In 2007, developer Nigel McKenna and Manukau City announced plans for the Flat Bush Town Centre, bounded by Te Irirangi and Redoubt Rds. McKenna had a $1 billion vision for that area but last decade, he was bankrupted and despite rapid population growth in the area, the centre was never built.

That frustrated some people who bought homes, expecting it to rise. For example, Jason Chiang of Botany Junction expressed disappointment and said construction should have started by around 2009.

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By 2012, Auckland Council Property chief executive David Rankin and Davies announced a scaled-back version of McKenna's original plans for the same land. Now, Todd has issued a statement saying the town centre "begins to take shape".

Davies said Todd built and owned the Pak'nSave in the centre which was the first development there. That opened at the end of 2015. Todd had also created sites for 129 new residences, built by Fletcher and developed other smaller retail associated with the supermarket.

The site is bounded by Ormiston Rd, Stancombe Rd, Murphy Rd and Chapel Rd and is near Sancta Maria College, the Catholic school.

"I don't think it's taken so long in reality," Davies said, referring to the global financial crisis around 2007/08, the development work which had already taken place, getting consents for the town centre, developing services for the sites and negotiating with Panuku.

"A great deal of work was required on infrastructure. I'm pretty happy with the way progress has gone."

Davies said shops, a gym, eight-theatre multiplex cinema, library, aquatic centre and open spaces are planned for the site. A dining lane, food hall and restaurant precinct are planned.

Premises would be developed for about 100 commercial and retail tenants including The Warehouse, Hoyts and another supermarket.

Housing at Flat Bush (also known as Ormiston) on 1700ha in south east Auckland.
Housing at Flat Bush (also known as Ormiston) on 1700ha in south east Auckland.

Panuku Development Auckland said Ormiston would eventually service a population the size of Gisborne.

The layout would be around a traditional main street format. Work on the 19ha site on Auckland Council-owned land began in 2013. The first stage was due for completion in December 2015.

Completion of the entire Ormiston development is expected between 2019 and 2022, Panuku said. Davies said Todd planned to gradually buy all 19ha of the land.