Plans out: New North Shore shopping centre and apartment development

Source: NZ Herald

A vast new shopping centre and residential community is being planned at Birkenhead on Auckland’s North Shore.

New Zealand Retail Property Group’s presentation to the NZX, ahead of a partial planned listing, showed the development potential of Highbury and Westgate and artists impressions of what the centres could look like at 2030.

Five big luxury residential apartment towers up to around 12 levels high are shown at Highbury, with large decks sprawling out to the sides of the blocks. An outdoor courtyard is shown to one side of the blocks, to be built high up on the ridge overlooking the North Shore.

Beneath the towers will be a vastly expanded shopping mall at Highbury.

Plans for Westgate at Massey on the city's north-west fringes.

The Westgate plans show the new town centre now under development but also high-rise towers, a new apartment residential zone, the existing town square and a commerce hub.

NZRPG, headed by Mark Gunton who is its founder and chief executive, owns the Highbury shopping centre and has long held ambitions to develop its land there but it has not yet begun that project.

At Westgate, it is advanced.

“The vision for Highbury is to create an integrated, mixed use centre with residential apartments, greater public amenities and invigorated retail,” NZRPG says in its presentation.

“NZRPG has a large scale vision for Highbury’s redevelopment. It anticipates it will not only transform its own property, but be the catalyst for an acceleration of the ongoing regentrification of the Birkenhead town centre.

Mark Gunton of NZ Retail Property Group. Photo/Nick Reed

“The development agenda for the site is expected to comprise a retail repositioning and a cluster of residential apartment buildings which it expects will ‘give the ridgeline a skyline’.

“NZRPG’s patience in holding Highbury until the time is right for it to reach its full potential, combined with the indisputable property fundamentals, have created the opportunity for a significant redevelopment.

“This is anticipated to cement Highbury’s retail position in a thriving town centre and deliver significant capital returns from apartment residential development,” the company says.

A company spokeswoman said the Highbury image was “a conceptual vision for how we could create an integrated retail and residential space on the Highbury site. It’s by no means an absolute and it’s simply an exploration of how we could position a mixed use development on the site with retail on the ground level”.

People in the community would be consulted, she stressed.

Of its Massey project, NZRPG says Westgate is already one of Auckland’s largest retail offerings.

NZRPG and Auckland Council worked together on the town with street-based shops, internal retail, commercial business and public areas.

“The plan provides for a genuine town environment as a central focus for the community while delivering a commercially successful venture,” NZRPG says.

It is designed primarily to serve the northern and western catchments but people will come from elsewhere “through its strong motorway connections adjacent to Auckland’s Northwestern motorway with its own exit, which has been significantly enhanced by the recent opening of the Waterview connection”.