Initial pre-purchase deposits have been paid on 82 yet-to-be-built Auckland apartments projected to be worth $120 million in what could be New Zealand's tallest residential project.

But no building contractor has yet been announced for The Pacifica and building consents are yet to be granted, although resource consent is in hand.

Gavin Lloyd, residential projects national director at CBRE, the sole marketing agent for the apartments, said deposits had been paid on the 82 units in the proposed 57-level tower on a Commerce St/Gore St site near Auckland's waterfront.

The block's display suite opened this month in a nearby block at 152 Quay St.

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"There's a good spread of one, two and three-bedroom units sold. Prices range from $657,000 up to $5,875,000, from level eight to level 52," Lloyd said.

Deposits are paid into the vendor's trust account at Chapman Tripp and accrue interest, he said.

Last year, CBRE's Zoltan Moricz and Tamba Carleton found 2044 Auckland apartment units were shelved in the last four years, although they said some of these might be built eventually.

Asked if it was dangerous for people to buy off the plans, Lloyd said: "Not at all. It's a well-established industry. Off the plan sales have been going on since I've been involved in real estate, over 30 years."

A number of planned Auckland apartment projects being abandoned was "a way for the industry to regulate itself", he said.

The block, being developed by Hengyi Pacific, is planned to have 54 levels of apartments.

Hengyi is a specialist in giant residential projects, and is behind three big Melbourne towers.

Liz Scott, Hengyi's New Zealand general manager, said the tower was to have 295 units but that changed during marketing. Units were consolidated due to demand for bigger places.

Dean Fossey, Gavin Lloyd and Liz Scott at The Pacifica marketing suite. Photo/Norrie Montgomery
Dean Fossey, Gavin Lloyd and Liz Scott at The Pacifica marketing suite. Photo/Norrie Montgomery

"Sixteen one-bedroom units have now been consolidated into eight, so there will be 282 units," she said.

Hengyi would announce a building contractor "at the end of this month or beginning of next", she said.

New Zealand residents pay 10 per cent deposits and non-residents 20 per cent, she said.

"We're finding it's mostly residents who are buying."

Plans for the barbeque or outdoor terrace area of The Pacifica.
Plans for the barbeque or outdoor terrace area of The Pacifica.

A building consent application had been made to Auckland Council for foundation work, she said.

"We're on track and happy with how things are going," Scott said.

Lloyd said settlement of pre-purchase contracts was conditional on a number of hurdles. One of the first is that Hengyi gets council building consent by December 15 this year.

Advertising says the tower will have an indoor/outdoor lap pool, sauna, steam room, spa, gym, cinema, library, residents' lounge, and barbecue terrace.

The development is due to be completed by 2020.

Read more: 57-storey tower for Auckland's waterfront