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Maori blessing marks construction benchmark

Maori blessing marks construction benchmark
at suburban apartment development

A Maori dawn powhiri and sacred rock burial have benchmarked the latest construction phase at one of Auckland’s newest high-end apartment complexes. The official early morning function featured elders from Ngati Whatua Orakei – led by Taiaha Hawke.

The cultural acknowledgment at the 43-residence Outlook apartment complex in Kepa Road, Mission Bay, was held to coincide with excavation of the tower’s underground carpark last month.

Excavation work at the Outlook complex commenced at the end of last year. The prolonged fine weather spell at the start of the year has enabled digging and earth removal to progress well – with piling installed by the end of March.

Ngati Whatua Orakei elder Taiaha Hawke buried a sacred stone at the base of the excavation works to acknowledge that the deepest point of the construction had been reached, and that the five-storey apartment block would now only progress skyward.

The Outlook apartment project is being developed by Countrywide Residences, with apartments being marketed for sale through Bayleys VIP Projects. Some 28 units have been sold off-plan ahead of construction – prices range from $650,000 for a one-bedroom dwelling, up to $4.85 million for one of the four penthouse suites.

Three of the four penthouse suites have been snapped up to date, and Bayleys salesperson Trent Quinton said 15 Outlook dwellings remained available for purchase – including the final penthouse priced at $4.85 million.

“The strong inventory of off-the-plan sales has coincided perfectly with the weather-assisted construction process, as bank funding was secured early which allowed for the building schedule to be maintained,” Mr Quinton said.

“Clearwater Construction is now proceeding on time to make the most of the remaining ‘Indian summer,’ and is looking at a delivery date of July next year.”

Mr Quinton went on to say that Outlook’s strong sales and construction positions were in stark contrast to other competitor’s suburban apartment developments around Auckland, which had been brought to the market for sale ‘off the plan’ over the past year but had not yet reached construction.

The mid-2019 completion timeframe for Outlook means the complex should be one of the first large residential projects - outside of Hobsonville Point - to be built on land zoned Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings (THAB) under the new Auckland Unitary Plan.

According to Auckland Council’s planning definitions, the Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings zoning is designed to “make efficient use of land and infrastructure, increase the capacity of housing, and ensure that residents have convenient access to services, employment, education facilities, retail and entertainment opportunities, public open space and public transport.”

“Much of the credit for enabling approval of the development concept plans and ensuing excavation work must go to Auckland Council and their vision with the Unitary Plan” says Martin Cooper, who makes up one half of the Countrywide Residences Brand.

“Historically, medium to high-density residential development projects in suburban Auckland have been stymied by the restrictive planning rules which were preventing growth. Outlook is showing that under the new plan it is possible to achieve the goals of the THAB zone, with council support, when the appropriate configuration of inventory is factored into a development right from the design and concept phase.”

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