This is the just completed Merchant Quarter in New Lynn, designed by Jasmax, it offers one bedroom freehold apartments from around 250k, as well as larger ones. I believe the new owners are about to move in.

MERCHANT QUARTER_5732

Merchant Quarter is step along the way of the planned revitalisation of New Lynn metropolitan centre begun by Waitakere City Council and continued by Auckland Council. A process to transform a declining and depressed area into a vibrant and more successful contributor to the city as a whole. The apartment tower itself is a privately funded development, the Council, with AT, NZTA, and the [previous] government through Project Dart have invested in the massive transport changes at New Lynn and now it is up to the private sector to develop the built environment. The Council have also invested in the public realm with both streetscape upgrades and open space. Below is a small urban park with works by Peter Lange referencing the area’s long history of brick making.

The plan aims to enable the addition of 20,000 new residents to the wider area by 2031. And right now, apart from the train and bus station, it is pretty empty; it’s not hard to see how ready New Lynn is for thousands more people and what a powerful economic transformation they will bring.

NEW LYNN_2989

The new apartment building sits directly above a multi level carpark and is connected to a large medical centre by air bridge. It is also, of course, directly adjacent to the New Lynn Train and Bus Interchange Station:

MERCHANT QUARTER_6038

Above is a view of the apartment building from the Train Station. On the other side is the New Lynn Library and of course all the retail glories of LynnMall. Below shows the Medical Centre. At the ground floor spaces are all activated and open to the street with retail.

So not only are the dwellings affordable here but clearly so are their occupants’ likely transport needs. And importantly, this comes with a rich abundance of movement options. The people who choose to live here can buy or rent car parks in their building, and for any experience or service not within an easy walk, they have a huge range of increasingly higher quality movement options. This type of living choice will score very highly not only for walkability but also by any Housing/Transport affordability metric.

MERCHANT QUARTER_6059

This is a very good and important addition to the mix of dwelling options for Auckland. It will not suit everyone just as detached houses at the end of a long drive does not suit everyone, and nor does it need to. It is great at last to see the market  being able to diversify beyond the monotony of  ever more distant new greenfields developments.

Just as important are the considerable efforts by all parties here to provide as high quality features as possible for the lower end of the market. In recent decades this has been a segment that no one has properly addressed; we have either built luxurious but expensive apartments or cheap and nasty ones. Both types are clearly visible in the central city. It is really important that the both the Council and the private sector close the door on that regrettable chapter, and find way to insist on and enable higher quality at all market segments.

MERCHANT QUARTER_5766

The next stage is for duplex terrace-house style dwellings directly on top of the corten steel clad carpark building. These seem to me a rather strange conflation of the suburban and the urban, rather curiously suspended in space, but I guess that’s one way to deal with such an enormous carpark? They will however provide yet more dwelling variety and with all of the locational advantages of the adjacent apartments.

Merchant Quarter Stage II

Update. It seems the internal layout has not worked that well for some. One buyer (only) has apparently objected to a column placement, claiming they didn’t know about it. Gleefully reported in the Herald. We’re sure to hear more on this, I hope it gets resolved.

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103 comments

  1. A quarter of a million is hardly “affordable”. If one uses their noggin, you can get four times as much space for half the price in suburbia. And without any effort at all, for $250k you’ll get a 3 bedroom house and 1000sq of land in many towns.

    These apartments, like most apartments, are extremely poor value for your dollar, but they do make developers very rich. I once read that apartment complexes are “how capitalists take money from socialists”!

        1. Geoff all you are doing is showing your total failure to understand the power of location in property value. Just saying that you are happy to live somewhere completely unrelated does not make them equivalent in value.

          The cost of some rural shack is irrelevant.

          1. There’s nothing special about location in New Lynn, it’s a standard suburb with standard shops and a mall.

            Not sure of your rural shack comment, as nobody said anything about a rural shack.

            At the end of the day this apartment building is NOT affordable housing. The cheapest apartments in this building are $5234.00 per square metre. That compares to my neighbour’s home in suburbia at $250.00 per square metre.

          2. Do you ever engage in good faith Geoff?

            Try find a dwelling anywhere in the whole city that costs $250k. Also, your neighbour’s house is a lie. $250/sqm would make a huge house 50k.

      1. Yup, suburban Auckland. That’s why I wrote “use your noggin”, as opposed to just buying straight out. My neighbours bought their 400sq section, bought a second-hand house, had it trucked to the section, power & water connected etc, for under $100k. Even Auckland can be affordable.

        I plan to do the same, although the section I’m looking at is 380sq, so quite small.

        I’ll say this though, the New Lynn apartments certainly look nicer than their Soviet, North Korean, Chinese and Romanian counterparts 🙂

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_planning_in_communist_countries

        1. I just did a search for sections under $150k on Trademe. Exactly zero in “Auckland city”, “North Shore” and “Manakau City”. There were however 3 in Waitakere city:

          http://www.trademe.co.nz/property/residential/sections-for-sale/auction-696127862.htm
          http://www.trademe.co.nz/property/residential/sections-for-sale/auction-743785207.htm
          http://www.trademe.co.nz/property/residential/sections-for-sale/auction-760014804.htm

          They all appear to be a little out of town, surrounded by bush.

          1. TradeMe, and real-estate companies, don’t deal in true affordable housing. To get true affordable housing, you need to create it yourself. It’s not that hard, but most people are too lazy, and just want to buy ready made. You can buy sections for $20k if you look hard enough, and you can buy a full sized house for $30k and transport it to the section. Get all the utilities hooked up, complete the landscaping, create a garden, and you end up with a house worth $400,000 for under $100,000. It just takes patience, imagination and creativity.

          2. Geoff:

            ” You can buy sections for $20k if you look hard enough ” – Perhaps you can get the odd one though knowing the right person and being in the right place (which I suspect will be in a rural or semi-rural area) but this isn’t something that can scale to thousands of properties each year.

            Please provide some concrete information on this source of $20,000 sections. When bits of hilly bush down windy roads are selling for $150k your claims require some concrete information to be believed.

            I’ll take you word on transporting an old house and hooking it up for under $100k but I am very dubious about getting the land for the low numbers you state.

        2. Geoff, your statement is rubbish.

          The only standalone single three bedroom house in the region below $200,000 is in Meremere. The rest: apartments. (If you knew the slightest thing about real estate you would know that every credible agency lists on TradeMe.)

    1. Geoff I don’t think you understand housing affordability. You talk as if housing affordability exists separately from jobs and amenities, which is clearly ludicrous. Locations are primarily combined bundles of wages, rents, and amenities. Wages are defined by the jobs you can access from a location, whereas amenities are defined by physical and cultural factors. Rents are the way land markets “clear” insofar as they equate demand for a location with the supply of housing in that location.

      You can find certainly find cheaper places to rent than New Lynn, but they will not tend to deliver the same access to wages (i.e. jobs) and/or amenities. As others have noted, land is cheaper further out, but you have to travel further to work and all the other things people want to access.

      And before you go on another one of your rants about job centralisation in the city centre, then you’d do well to remember that only 20% of Auckland’s jobs are located thereabouts. This is important because it highlights how places like New Lynn are not just worth more because they’re proximate to the city centre, but also because they’re closer to *almost everything that matters*. As someone who flies a lot for work and pleasure, for example, I place a high value on living between the Airport and the city (i.e. Mt Eden/Dominion Rds) so I can wander out and catch the airbus. Take me away from that location and I’m spending more time/money on taxis, so I’m prepared to pay more to live there than say, Swanson.

      So really what it comes down to is horses for courses: Different people value different things. And I think many people will consider $250k for an apartment in New Lynn to be relatively good value. You may not, which is fine. What I don’t get is why you (arrogantly) assume that your preference for low density living applies universally for other people, when it clearly doesn’t.

      1. I understand all your points Stu, but $5234.00 per square metre is not the definition of “affordable”. It’s actually extremely expensive. Affordability should be about bringing prices down, not leaving them high and just getting less space in return. Shrink the prices, not the homes to deliver affordability.

        There should also be more thought and advice forthcoming from government about how to do what my neighbours, and many other Aucklanders, have done to give themselves a truely affordable home. It is actaully possible to have a house on a section for under $100k, but all we have is the likes of Labour aiming for $350k homes because they only want to work within the normal developer-appeasing framework.

        1. Geoff, affordability comes from people making trade-offs in all sorts of ways.

          I repeat: It’s not up to you to arrogantly decide what trade-offs are and/or are not acceptable to other people. The reality is that when presented with the choice many people, such as myself, are willing to accept less space and pay less rent. Personally I am willing to trade-off less physical space and instead spend my money on 1) intelligently-designed internal layouts and 2) well-designed furniture so I can make better use of the space I do have. The heritage apartment building I live in has a communal laundry, so straight away I don’t need space for a washing machine and/or dryer. And I actively choose to live in areas which have a lot of restaurants where I can hold dinner parties if I do want more space. Ultimately, I consider myself to be better off even though I have less space.

          I repeat: You’re arrogantly assuming that what you want, i.e. lots of space at a low price, is what everyone wants, when given a choice. That line of argument is bollocks and needs to be called out everytime it’s advanced, because it simply ignores the fact that what people consider “affordable” depends not only on the price per square meter, but the value they place on the square meters that they get. And ultimately that comes down to a w-de-range of locational attributes, many of which – such as access to jobs – are external to the individual property, as well as a wide-range individual preferences.

          1. “It’s not up to you to arrogantly decide what trade-offs are and/or are not acceptable to other people. The reality is that when presented with the choice many people, such as myself, are willing to accept less space and pay less rent.”

            I didn’t claim it was Stu. But actually, this blog (and yourself) do that very thing all the time. You say you are happy to pay more for less if it means good PT nearby, and that nobody should criticize that choice. Yet the fact that most people choose to pay to use/own a car because it means transport freedom, you criticize it, calling them “auto dependent” or whatever.

            What’s good for the goose, is surely good for the gander?

            You may be happy to pay $250k for a 10-minute frequency fixed route transport option. But that is vastly inferior to the on-demand 24/7 flexible route transport option that most people would prefer to spend their money on.

          2. There you go with your ‘most people’ statements again. How do you know they have this preference? Owning a car due to poor alternative choices is not a preference.

          3. GB: “But that is vastly inferior to the on-demand 24/7 flexible route transport option that most people would prefer to spend their money on” – clearly it’s not inferior at all (let alone “vastly”) to the developers, purchasers and residents.

          4. “There you go with your ‘most people’ statements again. How do you know they have this preference? Owning a car due to poor alternative choices is not a preference.”

            You ask me how do I know, then make a definitive statement about all car owners in the same sentence……

            Most people do not own cars because of poor choice. They own them because it’s the most flexible method of transport, and they don’t mind paying for that.

            My car in Swanson gives me much greater transport options than a train or bus from New Lynn ever will to those apartment dwellers.

          5. I have never had a problem with people who choose to live in low density environments and/or drive.

            I do have a problem with policy and pricing settings that favour vehicle use and/or low density development, which our current settings do. That’s why I support removing building height limits, minimum parking requirements, floor area ratios, and building set-backs. I also favour pricing parking where demand exists, and congestion pricing wherever there is significant congestion.

            And as far as I can tell there’s more restrictions on urban intensification than there are on urban expansion. So if people truly were acting freely then I’d expect a city that was much denser than Auckland is today.

          6. Gb: “Most people do not own cars because of poor choice. They own them because it’s the most flexible method of transport, and they don’t mind paying for that” – how do you know that any of these sweeping generalisations are true?

            “My car in Swanson gives me much greater transport options than a train or bus from New Lynn ever will to those apartment dwellers” – may be, but it misses the point. In general, transport is a derived demand – people use it to do something else, not for its own sake (unless you’re on a Sunday drive, or on some sort of tour). What matters is accessibility – can people get to where they want to go? Living in New Lynn scores highly on this, because many desired destinations are walkable, and more accessible by public transport. It won’t suit everyone, but it does suit lots of people and lets them get to where they want/need to go without the use of a car (which many people don’t have).

          7. “Most people do not own cars because of poor choice. They own them because it’s the most flexible method of transport, and they don’t mind paying for that.”

            So again, how do you know what most people do?

          8. Also Geoff, remember your previous comments on this blog don’t delete themselves, if I could just call you out here

            Geoff Blackmore
            July 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm · Reply
            SB, what car? Where did I say anything about a car? You’re making up stories again…..

            My weekly rent and transport costs are $115.00. I don’t charge myself for my walking 😉

            (I’m guessing as an Aucklander, you just assumed everybody drives?)

          9. “So again, how do you know what most people do?”

            If you open your eyes you will see what I see – cars parked at every home. Unless you want to believe that everyone has a car under duress, then you should assume most of them choose to drive because they want to. Almost everyone I know owns a car, and I can’t think of anyone of them who would give it up. One would need to significantly curtail their lifestyle to only ever go where & when PT dictates, and in a land such as ours, PT will never suit most people for most travels desires.

          10. Conan, I drive for recreation, the post to SB was about his assumption I drive to commute, which I don’t.

          11. “everyone I know”

            So you have normalised this group against the general population? I imagine in the far west owning a car is pretty ‘normal’. I know many people who don’t own a car and don’t have to curtail their lifestyle. Based on this ‘most people don’t own a car’. It’s just as valid as an argument.

          12. Here’s the comment stream here. Scroll up. This is his comment you replied to:

            SB: “Bullshit. There is no way that rental for an adult and transport costs are $115 a week. A car costs a miniminum of 10 a week in fixed costs, plus new tyres, oil, lights, petrol costs, window replacement, you have a history of lying about costs so I want some hard numbers if you are going to claim such outrageous drivel.”

            http://greaterakl.wpengine.com/2014/07/24/location-affordability-in-new-zealand-cities-is-greenfield-growth-really-affordable/#comment-119534

          13. Dear me – yet more sweeping generalisations and unsupported assumptions! And it must be nice to be able to do only want you want to do!

            Back in the real world, people have cars, washing machines etc not necessarily because they want them, but because they want the results of the function they perform. So a car gets you to places that you want/need to go – but so do walking and PT, particularly from a place like New Lynn.

            And what about that large number of people who can’t use a car? Too old, too young, too poor, no licence, no car available at the time… That’s a lot of people!

          14. “So you have normalised this group against the general population?”

            Yes, in the same way this blog compares the general population against the small minority that the blog’s regular topics represent. Everyone has cars because they are forced to, everyone lives in suburbia because they are forced to, blah blah blah.

            What is good for the goose, is good for the gander 🙂

            “not necessarily because they want them, but because they want the results of the function they perform”

            Well no kidding – the purpose of having anything is precisely that 🙂

          15. Precisely so – which is why your statement that “you should assume most of them choose to drive because they want to” is like saying that people use a washing machine (or dishwasher, or lawnmower, or …) because they want to use that machine.

            Nonsense, no?

          16. Equally, someone without a car may have to use PT, not because they want to, but because they need to. I think we are in agreement.

    2. What a context-less comment “bad value for money”. If dollars / square metre are your only metric, then you may be right.

      But all your comment betrays is that you either never lived in an apartment, or that you hate the idea of doing so. Fine. But nNeither of the two qualifies you to make a value judgement for OTHER people’s housing choices – you sound like one of those unitary plan opponents who’d like to add lawn and a minimum tree requirement (!) to EVERY dwelling…

    1. Yeah that is weird – how on earth did that happen? It’s like the plans for the walls (to contain the pillars) got misaligned or something. Most odd. Jasmax usually do much better.

    2. I think one of two things has happened here – either the plans these people purchased off don’t match what was built, fault to the builders/developer or if what they were sold and was built are consistent but they thought they were buying something else, fault to the purchaser. Not ideal either way, but someone is clearly in the wrong..

      1. What a mess that has created, and this is EXACTLY the kind of bad press such developments (and the UP) don’t need.

        So now everyone reads the Herald Screamer story and says “Better not buy any of these “cheap” apartments, you’ll get ripped off/less than you pay for”.

        1. It is a shame this happened. Hopefully it doesn’t overshadow the good design in general of the building and surroundings. I do wonder if she got a discounted price because of the pillar. Seems odd that she wouldn’t. Also the developers saying the pillar was always there seems odd.

          It would be interesting to know if other buildings in Auckland have this issue.

        2. Regardless of the rights or wrongs in this case, putting pillars inside the apartment rooms is the sort of trick commercial developers would do (as you lease the floor by net square metre, not “usable” space and internal fitout is your problem not the landlords) its not a suitable thing for residential buildings. And I’ve seen plenty of commercial building with pillars blocking windows and the light, but not a problem for commercial usually.

          And as Patrick says suggests the developer seems to have been guilty of “moving the walls” (and goal posts) after the initial designs were done.

          Not really sure how you can protect against this sort of thing – if the plans you were given to review don”t show something like this and the completed building does.
          Its unlikely your “experts” would have picked it up before you bought. No matter whether it was paper of electronic version.

          And part of the issue seems to be multiple sets of plans were being used.
          Presumably what was actually consented by council would be the actual “arbiter” of what was to be built, as if it doesn’t match the consent, it won’t get certificate of compliance.

          In this case, a lack of site access for progress checks also meant the buyer(s) had no possibility to find this issue out sooner.

          Something not a problem with most normal housing builds – you can drive past the site as often as you like and check it out, not so easy when the apartment is on the 5th floor of a tower block.

          And this is the sort of surprises and issues that really need to be eliminated for the benefit everyone who is buying an apartment.

        3. Greg I’m not saying the developer sold a different plan to what was built, but rather there is one buyer who is now unhappy. I look forward to seeing the whole story here. If there is more I may do a follow-up post.

        4. Patrick, wasn’t meaning to put words in your mouth. As you say the internal wall layout appears to have changed at some point between engineering design and construction, why that was the case, is not clear, perhaps as you say crunching everything up to get 1 more apartment per floor.

          I do note that this buyer said it has pillars in two rooms (whether they were both bedrooms or not wasn’t made clear), so you’d expect they either are the unlucky “11th apartment” and got the bad design, or they are merely the tip of the iceberg.

          The price they paid (10% deposit of $57K means a total price of $570K), would indicate its not the cheapest apartment in the block either.

          Anyway, its not a good look for future apartment purchasers to read these horror stories, as even if the buyer is 100% at fault, it still makes buying apartments appear “too hard”.

        5. Indeed. And did you notice the unsubtle way the Herald worked an ‘it’s Len Brown’s fault angle into the story construction? All sadly predictable.
          And all the more reason why good design needs to be emphasised and enforced: for the sake of buyers and to avoid slanted coverage like this. A real shame all around.

    3. A complete FU. The plans should never have been sided off. Those apartments are now condemned to be slums which will pull down the rest of the complex.

        1. Yup, they’re quite unique in the cbd Simon. There’s a sister development in Eden Crescent. The only thing I miss out on is being higher up for a view but all good.

  2. My Lynfield based parents are in their early eighties, and aware their lifestyle will change once one or both of them can’t drive. They’ve investigated retirement villages, and have come to the conclusion they don’t make financial sense until you need extra care. Their main haunts are Blockhouse Bay and New Lynn, and I can see the cogs turning in my Dad’s head about these New Lynn apartments being a good next step – and he’s not wrong. I suspect the “terrace houses on the roof” adjacent to these apartments will be a better bet, giving my Mum an opportunity to still dabble in the garden.

        1. Well except among the great advantages of apartments for older people is single level living with lift access. Along with high security, easy lock-up and leave, and proximity to Transit and amenity. Oh and of course no 1000m^2 paddock to mow…..

  3. It brings to mind Nelson Mandela house (Del boys home in Only Fools and Horses fame, to those not in the know). I would truly love to see the same built in the Epsom electorate and in a typically Brutalist style. They are deserving of this most affordable housing!

    1. I Agree, it is hideous IRL. However, New Lynn has been marked for great things in the unitary plan and is meant to be a PT hub so I looked hard at buying one of these apartments. However, and I know this goes down like a pork chop in a synagogue around here, I found these apartments (like all apartments) ridiculously expensive per metre, especially when you consider that they do not appreciate in value anything like a more traditional dwelling and have no outdoor area attached. A one bedroom apartment at 250k might be affordable in pure dollar terms, but my final decision after looking at all the numbers was buying any apartment is a foolish investment in the great scheme of things.

      1. Oh I don’t know Sanctuary, it appears that a buyer gets a free pillar thrown in that they weren’t expecting in some odd location in a room. I mean its not everyday you have to design a bed to fit around a major support beam for a high rise.

        It bloody worry though as to what is holding this place up if this is the Mickey Mouse standard of construction. You would have to be a very brave person to either buy off the plans or even participate in buying anything to do with a new high rise given building standards are so erratic. You need not look any further than the Nautilus in Orewa (built 2004) where claimants were having to go to court seeking a total of around $30.5 million made up of estimated repair costs ($19.6 million), consequential losses and general damages for individual claimants, all from water tightness issues.

  4. THere are some quality apartments going up in Stonefields. They really do look great. Two of the blocks are finished. One is under construction. That area seems to be more popular, or market ready as they say. It could use some public transport though.

      1. And how likely is that gonna be Patrick?

        Absolute Zero chance right?

        Won’t be too may years from now before its know as slumfields

          1. Of all the places I’ve lived in Auckland, including inner suburbs, my transport costs here in Swanson are the lowest I’ve ever had. Transport costs are not the result of location, they are the result of how you structure your choice of travel patterns. A person living in Newton and working in Papakura will have higher transport costs than a person living in Massey and working at Westgate.

      2. I think it’s possible if someone get’s hold of the Auckland Uni block and extends the street through to GI, and more importantly the train station.

        1. How so Bryce?

          The closest “as the crow flies” distance from anywhere with an actual or residence on it in Stonefields to the Merton Road entrance to GI station is 1km.
          (GI station platform itself is about 150m further on). By current Merton/Morrin road layout its more like 1.3KM to the GI Station entrance.
          And most residents are a good 4-800m further away than that in the Quarry proper.

          2Kmto the train station? A bit far for walking, and the 1 bus route that goes near the place has crap frequency right now and new network consulting is years away still and doubtful that the frequency will improve much.

          And even when/if old Tamaki Station (re)opens? Well, the numbers don’t change much.- as the crow flies its 600m from the closest residence to Tamaki Station, and with existing roads, more like 1km+

          So, Stonefields is buggered and ever will be so. Too far from good PT, and to difficult to get in and out of for that to change soon.

          1. 2.5km’s max to a frequent rail service. On pretty flat land. Frequent buses and safe cycle-ways would take care of that as Patrick has noted.

          2. “Flat”? in your dreams.

            Stonefields is in a huge hole in the ground, its wasn’t called “a former quarry”, for nothing.

            Most of those who live in it and want to walk anywhere useful face a 40+ metre vertical rise, on sloping ground just to get to the neighbouring streets level, in any direction.

            Not a big deal for some, but plenty of people when faced with such a hike would drive instead. It may look “horizontal” when you drive it – not when you cycle or walk it.

            Same goes for the distance to the trains, few people will walk that far on a good day, Let alone as crappy Auckland wet one. So they’ll drive too. Buses too infrequent to count on.
            Council’s own planners consider 1200 metres pretty much the limit of a walking catchment for PT.. 1.2Km from GI station to the Quarry covers the extreme north east corner only – about 500 residents.

            As for PT – nothing useful exists now, and what does run, still requires you to make a reasonable hike within the quarry to get to your nearest bus stop which you do via a maze of streets that don’t connect very well. So you have to make big detours just to get to “the nearest” bus stop in the quarry, and nothing runs on the neighbouring streets either so its the 635 service or nothing.

            Cycleways would help, except when you get to the train stations there is are no facilities to speak of (GI has 8 lockers and some bike racks, lockers are first come first served on a monthly allocated basis).
            Panmure right now: nothing of note.

            Yes it can be fixed, but it won’t be fixed anytime soon thats for sure.
            Why? Well If you talk to the council planners they all think Stonefields is the absolute bees knees example of a planned development and can’t fall over themselves quick enough to praise everything about it.
            So if it ain’t broke in their eyes why would they sign off on any moves to “fix” it when there are plenty of other worse areas that need it more?

    1. They might be great inside, the first one has all the appeal on the outside of a 1970’s Soviet style apartment block with slab grey concrete with little variation or design elements.
      The second one (Altera) attempts to add some “jazz” to the blandness, time will tell.

      So while the residents in them may have a great outlook, anyone else forced to look at them doesn’t.

    2. If a BRT Busway running from the East via Panmure Station goes up Lunn Ave / Abbots Way to Greenlane Station (and possibly onward to Dominion Rd and the Western Line as stage 2) then Stonefields would be well served by PT
      Basically a 10min Bus service; Botany / Howick – Panmure Sta – Greenlane Sta – Dominion Rd – Western line.
      2 stops on Lunn Ave 250m to the NW and SE of Mitre 10 Mega Mt Wgtn with pedestrian access through the narrow commercial strip would make at least 70% of the development within 600-800m of BRT access. Essentially its core; Barbarich Dr – Stonemason Ave – Stonefields Ave.
      If a secondary ‘commuter’ loop was run say Stonemason Ave – Searle St – Tihi St back up Stonefields Ave to Morrin, Merton Rds and Apirana Ave and Glenn Innes Station then the whole development would be pretty well served.
      By ‘commuter loop’ I mean something like 20min frequencies 7 – 9am, 4 – 6pm with perhaps a bus every hour 9am – 4pm weekdays and every 30mins weekends and public holidays.

      1. Well here’s the approx. relationship between the Stonefields and the coming FTN Network, including the bus from Panmure to Ellerslie:

        That St John stop is presumably on St Johns Rd? Could be one near the Merton/College Rds cnr? The more southern one is on the Mt Wellington Highway.

        The determination of the developers to orient the new place away from the declassé Mt Wellington and more east and north means the street pattern has very poor connectivity in the former direction.

        1. Wow! So the biggest planned community in Auckland with 6-7k people is / will be essentially devoid / bypassed of FTN PT?
          How did / is that happening!?!?!?

          1. Because the developers somehow managed to opt out of the connecting road necessary (from memory).

          2. Stonefields shows every sign of trying to conform to last century’s conditions while leaning at bit towards this one’s. Its poor connectivity and auto-priority are two of the signs of the former.

            Those FTN routes are rational and direct, and suit the existing street pattern.

            There are stops for some kind of service on the aptly named Bluegrey Ave in the middle of the development…. does it connect to the stations? Does it have any kind of frequency?

          3. Stonemason Ave? This was the site of a quarry. I well remember the shot blasters in action, the stone crusher, the fleet of Leyland Leopards that woke the residents of Abbotts Way at 6AM every work day morning. No sign of any stonemasons. It would be nice if the streets were named after long serving quarry staff.

          4. Patrick – the one and only service that uses those stops is the 635 bus, it goes down Stonefields Ave and up BlueGrey when going to town (and v.v. when coming from town).
            it starts/terminates at GI bus station opposite GI station.

            Frequency is every 20 then 20, then 30 minutes at peak. (i.e. 2-3 per hour at peak with variable times) 1 per hour at 15 to the hour off peak.

            https://at.govt.nz/media/355046/e06_remuera_rd_feb_2014_web.pdf

            Hardly a great service, route or service hasn’t changed in years. Quicker to talk to the trains station than rely on that for anything useful.

            Bryce: “Because the developers somehow managed to opt out of the connecting road necessary (from memory).”

            They were told by the Environment court to investigate if a bus link from the corner of Lunn Ave into the Quarry for use only by buses was feasible or not and put one in if it was.
            Of course they came back and said it wasn’t, and thats the end of story. No bus links for you.

            And so if there ever was a bus service along Lunn Avenue, Stonefields folks would have quite a hike and a steep climb to get to it. 60 metres vertical rise and 1km distance at least for most.

            Service it is not. Enough said.

          5. “Stonefields shows every sign of trying to conform to last century’s conditions while leaning at bit towards this one’s”

            Therefore those who seek what you refer to as “last century’s conditions” (actually more modern than the concept you promote) will live there. Every home being built there is being snapped up quickly or purchased in advance, so clearly it’s a popular place exactly as built.

        2. I see no reason though now that there is a clear and serious hole in the centre of the Eastern network why say the ‘green line’ across from Mt Albert to Ellerslie (on the network map) couldn’t push through Greenlane and Greenlane station and connect back / terminate at Mt Wellington?
          An FTN Busway / route along Lunn / Abbott connects the Mt Wgtn (Lunn Ave) commercial centre, Stonefields, north Ellerslie, south Remuera AND Ellerslie Racecourse / Ascot Hospital.
          So it would cover both amenity / destination as well as residential connections.

          1. There is a bus called the 007 which does most of that which is what the GreenLine comes from, except it uses Remuera Road not Lunn /Abbott now.

            As for Stonefields – even if such a bus went down those those streets, most Stonefields folks can’t access them..

            Heck they can’t even WALK to the supermarket or shops on Lunn Ave from Stonefields without mounting a major expedition, so they simply drive everywhere.

            The density of cars “per residence” in Stonefields must be at least 4 to 1 judging by the number of cars parked on the streets from residents and all the full up with cars garages they have as well..

        3. Would it be possible for someone to set up a private bus service to transport Stonefields residents to Glen Innes train station? It’s a quick 10-15 minute loop and would be one way of connecting the estate to the train network, which would reduce the traffic in that area.

          1. The New Network will do exactly that already, have a look at the final version of the RPTP. A fifteen minute frequency all day service will run along College Rd at the head of Stinefields (the end of the Remuera Rd run) while a half hourly all day service will come right and loop through the suburb via Stonefields Ave and Bluegrey Ave. Both go direct to GI train station in a matter of minutes. The half hourly one also goes pretty much straight to ellerslie station in the other direction.

          2. Well good to know there will be pretty decent 15-30min connections to GI, Ellersile and Newmarket stations (not that I have an interest in Stonefields, I’m not even living in NZ at the moment!).
            Nick looking at your All Day Network Map, why do you think Greenlane is such a ‘leper’ station?
            I guess it is only a 150-200m interchange from Great South Rd but it just seems odd doesn’t it the lack of connectivity there?

  5. “At the end of the day this apartment building is NOT affordable housing. The cheapest apartments in this building are $5234.00 per square metre. That compares to my neighbour’s home in suburbia at $250.00 per square metre.”

    Geoff, would you do the maths on your mate’s purchase for me please.

  6. Does anyone know the BC fees for the building?

    I do think that 250 for a 1 bedroom doesn’t quite fall into affordable – I bought a 1 bedroom in the (very) downtown for 265 a couple of years back and I thought that was steep. For an average income family with kids this would still be tight and obviously not enough space, so your typical aucklander will still scoff. In the long run I think our only saviour will be adjusting rental laws to make it more favourable and stable to rent, and probably a change in culture of landlords (allow painted walls, small homemaking modifications, things hung, fittings changed). Kill the demand by giving better alternatives (think of home ownership as a single vehicle travel vs rent as using transit!).

    Add to that new options for investing money instead of putting 100% of our wealth into housing (being under 30 the stock market still does not feel like somewhere I want to put any money)

    Or something. I wish i didn’t own sometime, just for the hassle and expense and always finding new ways to spend more money, but the certainty is nice, and the ability to have red walls and hang up some artwork is all I really need.

  7. I think Patrick is right (this time- lol). Affordability is never measured by a per square metre rate otherwise people with limited means would be living in aircraft hangars. Affordable means the total price and if you have to put two adults and 3 kids into two bedrooms then that is what you do. Quite simply there isn’t much out there at this price, irrespective of transport. As for columns in bedrooms- well it just got cheaper.

  8. I have to say that there’s an even better opportunity across the road next to Les Mills, with a massive and under-utilised carpark just begging for another apartment tower.
    And please turn the old movie theatre back into a movie theatre

    Also, any apartment dweller needing a new lightbulb will find Bunnings, Placemakers, and Mitre 10 within walking distance 😉

  9. “These seem to me a rather strange conflation of the suburban and the urban, rather curiously suspended in space..”
    I think they look downright odd, not so much because they are terraces but because the building looks unbalanced in a jarring way.

    1. Absolutely agree here, looks as though it is about to topple over, still a unique building to anchor the town centre….

      1. The concept is all but new though. Have a look at the Google aerials of of the townhouses east of Broadway in Newmarket (next to Khyber Pass intersection). Another laneway 5 floors up…

  10. Is there any green spaces near by?
    If Manukau could get more apartments that were more artistic and colourful I’m sure it’ll be a lovely place to live. Hayman park, train station, mall/shops oh and I dear say it motorways.

    Interesting development in New Lynn, sucks that the last minute changes have tarnished the buildings reputation a little.

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