Work is nearing completion on the long-vacant green building on the corner of Wellington Street and Fencible Drive, Howick. It was known in the past as Howickville, Howick Mall and Centrepoint.
“What a transformation,” says Derek Presland, a director of Augusta Group which owns the site and is developing The Terraces. “Given what the building was like and what it looks like now, it’s a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
Traditional apartment building concepts, such as basement parking and lifts, have been thrown aside. Instead, the complex includes 12 two-bedroom and 10 three-bedroom terrace houses on the top two levels complete with built-in double garages so that residents can drive to their front doors. Loft residents on the middle floor are provided with two car parks in a covered car park facing their front door off an access corridor.
One of the main constrictions was the column layouts of the basic building structure which formerly housed a supermarket and a variety of retail outlets, along with a roof car park.
But the columns come into their own where the 12 two-bedroom “New York” lofts boast the luxury of a 3.3 metre internal stud height. The external roof line also exaggerates the “lofty” feel inside. Blocks have been structured to slope in alternative directions to break up the roof expanse.
A cavity-based, flush-finished, monolithic plaster wall cladding is used for the exterior walls. It consists of fibre cement sheet fixed over timber battens to form a cavity which is described as the first line of defence against water penetration. The second line of defence is the jointing and trowel-applied plaster system which is finished with a specially-formulated acrylic exterior paint.
Each house is long and narrow fronting onto substantial decks facing Fencible Drive and the late afternoon sun in the south-west and to the north-west and the Hauraki Gulf on the other side.
Borrowing natural light is a theme of the houses. Glass panelling in the garage ceilings lets in natural light to the terrace house entrances and to the spare bedrooms facing onto the garages.
Because most of the master bedrooms are internal rather than on outside walls, a popular hotel room style has been used. Large glass sliding doors instead of internal solid walls are installed to let in light from the main living areas. For those who guard their privacy, there is an option to tint the glass or use curtains.
Rather than catering for extensive sea views, the developers chose to retain the original building layout instead of replacing it with a high-rise block. Consequently all the houses overlook the village’s central retail or residential areas.
However, the eye is taken to Point View Drive and Manukau City on one side and the Hauraki Gulf on the other.
Blonded oak floors and Wairakei egg shell colour for the walls and ceiling have been chosen to enhance the feeling of spaciousness, leaving individual owners to jazz up the décor with their favourite primary colours.
A feeling of spaciousness is also achieved in the two-bedroom terraces and lofts by running a galley kitchen along the outside wall from the front entrance.
“The galley shape has been designed to be easy to work in and it’s a social part of the whole,” says Val Steven who is marketing The Terraces for Barfoot & Thompson.
“People who are moving from a big house love the simple look of the kitchens because they don’t have to maintain a big living space.”
The kitchen area in the three-bedroom terraces takes on a more conventional design with a full-scale island unit and breakfast bar extending across the width of the kitchen area.
In addition, a separate laundry and a small powder room are located on the ground floor.
A feature of the bathrooms in all the terraces and lofts is the over-sized shower booths which are accessed over flush walk-in flooring. Main en suite bathrooms have double hand basins. Because the terraces are attracting more mature people who are down-sizing from large family homes, 34 storage units (measuring 1.2 x 3 metres) have strong appeal. Also all the residences are wired for high-speed broadband and television connections and heat pumps are installed.
Prices range from $475,000 to $775,000.