Interesting news about the Warehouse’s future plans for their site in Balmoral

Say goodbye to the big red box on Balmoral Rd.

A cafe and apartments are included in The Warehouse’s plans for a major redevelopment on the site.

A two-building, 7130 square metre complex including The Warehouse, 34 apartments, and 234 car parking spaces will be built if the retail giant’s property company, Eldamos Investments, is granted resource consent by Auckland Council.

The Balmoral Warehouse is due to close this month and would be demolished along with a fruit and vegetable store and coffee shop, the Balmoral Rd BP service station, and a house at 16 Rocklands Ave to make way for the complex.

The Warehouse is working through a nationwide programme to review and modernise its stores.

“It will enhance the environment of the site considerably,” a spokesperson for the retailer says.

The company is working through a consultation process with stakeholders.

An application has also been made to rezone part of the site from residential to business.

This application was first notified in 2010 and 106 submissions were made asking that it be declined. Six were in support.

It was put on hold until the council received a traffic report in November and is now being renotified.

What I find interesting about this is we are once again seeing a traditional big box retailer starting to get into residential development. The other major one being Progressive (Countdown) and the Vinegar Lane development. I’m guessing a large part of it is about making better use of the land these companies own as well as possibly helping to offset some of the costs of their new stores. I suspect there are a heap of sites all around the city where something similar could be done in coming years. It is probably also something that would be helped as minimum parking requirements get eased as part of the unitary plan – although sadly not completely removed.

On the issue of parking there are 234 car parks in total, 200 of those are for the retail development at a rate of 1 space per 36m². As a comparison, for retail in town centres the proposed unitary plan sets a maximum of 1 space per 20m² so it is well below that and is also below the minimum set for retail outside towncentre which is 1 space per 25m². Most of the carparking will be underground. That leaves parking for the apartment development at 1 space per apartment.

Here is what is planned for the site. Building A is the proposed new warehouse building which would also contain a few ground floor retail sites that face out on to a new street. Building B is will have the 34 apartments and also have ground floor retail.

Warehouse Balmoral

Here are some images of what the development is meant to look like. The first one showing what it would look like if you were driving past on Balmoral Rd. It’s certainly better than the look of an open car park but does present a large blank wall to the street. While that road is fairly inhuman at the moment, clawing back that free left hand turn lane could make a significant difference and so it would be nice to have that edge of the building activated.

Warehouse Balmoral Store 1

And here is an image of the proposed street and apartments.

Warehouse Balmoral Apartments

Lastly here are some before and afters, this one from the corner of the intersection with Dominion Rd.

Balmoral Warehouse before and after 1

And from straight across the road at the bus stop by Potters Park

Balmoral Warehouse before and after 2

I’m sure there will be some locals bound to complain about the height but to me it seems about right and doesn’t dwarf the town centre. I would also imagine that for those residents, they will be spending a lot of their time and their money in the Balmoral Town Centre which is great for the retailers.

You can see the planning application here.

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  1. Looks great! That store is a shocker at the moment which is weird in such a prime spot. Also the apartments is just what Balmoral needs a heap more of, considering it’s on Auckland’s best bus route.

  2. Wasn’t there mean to be a Dominion Road bypass around the Balmoral shops to make that area safer, more pleasant etc? With this plan, and the McDonalds site already developed, this doesn’t look to be the case anymore

    1. No the idea from the 90’s was to build light rail down Dominion Rd but so as not to get in the way of cars and parking, it would go behind the shops at the various town centres along the road. The designations for that were lifted a few years ago.

  3. I used to live behind the McDonalds just across the road from this and I think it’s fantastic. The current Warehouse is pokey and unwelcoming, and there’s currently a sea of carparking between that, the BP and a sad, tiny, forgotten little shopping centre out the back. Balmoral will benefit from an influx of apartment dwellers.

  4. yes, the current warehouse is a shocker and the new plan looks cool. What would really improve things though is if they found a way to relocate there the public carpark spaces next to the chinese eateries on the first 300m of Dominion Rd after the intersection with Balmoral. These are a real safety hazard with buses weaving in and out of their lane (which should be avoided), pedestrians aplenty and a few cyclists. And the warehouse is closed at dinner time, when these carparks are most needed.

  5. In general- great, what an improvement in land use. There’ll be more and more of this as people increasingly do not want to live way out on the edge. Yes space is a luxury but so is proximity. And these apartments will be close to a great cinema, some great cheap asian restaurants, and a very frequent and direct transit route.

    Bring it on.

    1. Agreed Patrick ..speaking as a local it will be a vast improvement. Looking forward to this happening. Adding big value to our Superhood! Just hoping the fruit and veg shop survives … it’s the best around for miles in my opinion.

  6. Hey what an outstanding project. Not a bad strategy for the Warehouse IMO – take an poorly performing store and build the demand around it!

  7. Isn’t Balmoral / Dominion Road getting a Frequent Transport Network Interchange too? That might change the looks of that intersection.

    1. According to the maps included in the resource consent application, AT’s plan (as part of the Dominion Road upgrade) is to remove two of the slip lanes (southeast and northwest), but otherwise keep the intersection largely as-is.

  8. Warehouse has previously developed a retail hub up at silverdale, so while this may be their first residential, they do have experience outside a big red box, cleverly ensuring that there is other retail to draw shoppers to the area.

    1. It may well not be notified publicly – may be limited notification to directly surrounding landowners and residents only?

  9. This is good stuff, particularly the use of the new through-street. It’s so rare that we get to properly cut up any of our gigantic blocks in a way that adds a decent connection.

    Hopefully the UP will prompt a lot more redevelopment of big-box surface carparks that are handy to PT. If you want a lot of land with nothing much on it, you can’t do much better than a surface carpark! The Countdown further north on Valley Road is a similar sort of size, and also mostly surface parking… seems like an underused site, too.

    1. I agree Steve. That site also really ruins the whole vibe of that area. The little shopping complex there is typical of the awful, cheap, auto dominated, commercial development that ruined so much of Auckland during the latter part of the twentieth century. It would be great to see Eden Valley turned around over the coming years and developed into a real city fringe urban village. Like so many other of these areas (both along Dom Road and others like Epsom along Manukau Road and Mt Albert around New North Road), the biggest improvement would be to take some of the traffic off Dominion Road and make it a more pleasant place for pedestrians to get around. This is one reason why I’m a big fan of the proposal for light rail down Dominon Road. I agree wih Bryce’s comment below re putting Dominion Road on a diet for cars.

  10. I did some checking on Balmoral Rd traffic counts and volumes have been dropping over the past 10 years. Once the Waterview part of SH20 is open, there is no reason Balmoral Rd cannot go on a ‘diet’ for motor vehicles and add bus lanes and bike lanes. Perhaps as a boulevard?

      1. No way. For a start, what about the buses (later, trams) and their users? Bikes? Did you think of anyone other than car drivers for that suggestion?

    1. Yes, wait for it.

      Quite a contrast between the response on this site, and the 6 for / 106 against stats quoted by Matt.

      1. The 6/106 is hardly unusual, though. Most people don’t bother to submit unless they oppose something! The absolute number of opposing submissions is a better metric – the thing is to see how it changes this time, and how it compares to, say, Bunnings Arch Hill (50 against, 1 neutral).

  11. This is good to see, and it would be great if other big box retail centres had gone with a similar approach, (I’m looking at you St Lukes). It would be good if the Warehouse building (ie Building A) incorporated smaller retail shops around its outside, particularly down the lane between the two buildings. Balmoral is a great spot, and hopefully this will only increase its vibrancy and bring some more variety to the retail offering (as much as I looove some of the Chinese restaurants on Dom Rd). It may obviate the need for so much on street parking on Dom road through the Balmoral shops.

    1. Building A does, in fact, incorporate smaller retail shops around its outside, both on the corner of the lane and Balmoral Road, and all the way down the lane (aside from the foot and carpark entrances to the Warehouse itself).

        1. There’s more detailed renders of the layout and use of the lane in the resource consent application, if you’re curious.

    1. I’m going to make a wild guess that the Warehouse isn’t keen on A. being a residential landlord, or B. selling off strata title above the store, preventing them from redeveloping later. It would have to do one or the other.

      1. Other possibilities: they want to reduce the number of columns in Building A to keep flexibility about how they use the floorspace.

        1. That’s it, as it is they can build a relatively simple and inexpensive light-weight structure. It’ll have to wait for the next generation of intensification, if it happens, for developing up there too to stack up.

  12. This Warehouse used to be my “local” but new Warehouses at Pah Road and Stoddard Road have cannablised its customer base. It’s a big ugly almost derelict site ideal for intensification. Three sides of the site are commercial/park/roads, so there is unlikely to be much resistance except from Rocklands Road residents as it doesn’t gel too well with the existing villas and bungalows. As noted in Matt’s piece, one house gets bowled, and the development is presumably hard up against its neighbour – so rather overpowering if it’s in your back yard.

    Balmoral could be a great place to live with the funky old shopfronts, lots of eating places, new apartments, public transport north/south and east/west – and light rail…

  13. Also, The Warehouse in Hamilton is built atop an underground railway station (the only underground railway station in NZ for a long time until Britomart, perhaps?). I believe one of the conditions of their purchase of the site was that access to the underground station be able to be restored at some point in the future.

  14. This is a wonderful move by the Warehouse. Yes retailers are starting to think about unlocking the value of their land holdings cf that wonderful development planned for Milford Mall.
    For many years I lived in close proximity to this site and as a young person worked in the petrol station. I am struggling to see any downside at all for this development.
    The modus operandi of the Warehouse has always been to be competitive by paying cheap shop rentals (hence you don’t see them in many malls). This is likely to be the main reason for a simple store plan.

  15. A good site to intensify but why so ugly? A wall of a building alongside Balmoral Road rather than an interface with the community? How come, especially when there’s a pocket park on the corner. Surely this needs to be humanised?
    And those ugly apartments. Why are they styled like bogan sheds? Surely if intensification is to be embraced by Aucklanders the developers need to provide something we want to embrace?

    1. The blank wall is disappointing, but in the context of Balmoral Road circa 2014, I can see why they chose not to open up to it. It’s a seven lane car sewer at that point, with pretty much no redeeming features, and little else to the east that you might want to walk to. No-one in the council has any plans to change any of those factors, and the building to the east is actually zoned residential, despite being used for quasi-commercial purposes.

      I also wouldn’t call the apartments ugly. Mediocre, perhaps, but this is the Warehouse we’re talking about. I assume they’re aiming for “everyone gets a bargain”, rather than trying to get a twelve-page spread in an architectural magazine.

      1. The difference in the Warehouse project is that it makes more use of the site by also providing small-scale retail and apartments, and adds a through-street. But the core of the project is the same – big-box retail with underground parking. It makes a difference in how beneficial the project actually is to the city, but in terms of people using the RMA to complain about perceived negative effects from things like traffic and shading, it produces the same issues, and should produce the same complaints.

        1. I’m not against big box. I’m against inefficient use of land and also snubbing existing residents completely. This project isn’t what i would call ideal but at least they have tried to incorporate it into the context of it’s location and at the same time make the area better for surrounding residents. Trucks already do deliveries there. Also, it appears that angle parking on Rocklands is being removed which is great. Does anyone know how much parking the existing building has?

          1. I counted on Google Maps and there are roughly 150 car parks there already so the expansion in existing parking is minimal given the additional retail shops. So no real change for locals. A much different scenario to the Bunnings proposal. the plans supplied above almost certainly include the removal of angle parking on Rocklands Ave which will make the streetscape a much nicer place. Enhancing the local area. I can’t see that locals will complain much at all.

  16. The Warehouse founder Sir Stephen Tindall managed to find money to put into the America’s Cup challenge (& good on him). He also says, “As New Zealand’s largest general retail group, we want to enable Kiwis to get behind our team in their quest to win back the America’s Cup. Seeing our country and its people thrive is something I’m truly passionate about and to win and bring the cup home would have huge economic and emotional benefits for our country”.

    So I think it’s a no-brainer for him, as New Zealand’s largest general retail group founder, to also commit to sustainable, green design that has architectural merit for the development of the Balmoral Warehouse site. Assuming he truly is passionate about “our people thriving”.

  17. Up until now The Warehouse has never been concerned about their sites being built in a sustainable fashion. And this dates back to when Tindall ran the place rather than just being the chairman, albeit the major shareholder. They were not sustainable because they were invariably on the fringe of towns/ cities and were generally not accessible by anything other than a car.
    Yes The Warehouse makes a good effort inside their stores to recycle, but in my view its window dressing.

    1. Also inside the store, but to be fair to the Warehouse on a point nor sustainability, there was a time when, compared to other big box retail, the Warehouse made far greater efforts to invest in energy efficiency.

  18. Have there been any updates on this project? I also can’t understand why the neighbours are grumpy about a replacement for their POC building that looks abandoned.

  19. Re residential liveability – Room for an Urban Orchard on the street frontage – never mind those fussy flowering Cherries

  20. Finally, after about 6 years thinking and paying consultants this has received resource consent. Still received about 48 objections and a couple in support. Were there any formal submissions in support from any readers?

  21. The Warehouse Balmoral arrived early 2000’s. Before that it was a Woolworths supermarket on that site in through the 80’s. Some might remember it. The building had sat empty for quite a long time and it was great when the Warehouse went in to liven the area up. It did bring that rather dull area back to life. It tends to be quite a gloomy strip of shops in that part of Dominion Td and sort of under par for meeting it’s potential. So the proposed project would be good for a mixed use site.

    If I lived in those new apartments, I’d rather be back up Balmoral Rd further, it’s gloomy looking over shops and cars, being away from Dominion Road you’re closer to other residences. But perhaps they can’t put the Warehouse nearer to Dominion for some reason. Whatever, it would be a good mixed use improvement either way.

  22. Does anyone know what’s happening with this development? Nothing seems to be happening on the site… is it still going ahead?

  23. The jungle drums are beating this week hinting that the The Warehouse are reopening this location has an end of lines/outlet store…

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