Ockham Residential

Set for Urban Renewal

Image for Set for Urban Renewal

Mark Todd knows a good thing when he sees it. And when the Auckland developer heard about land becoming available alongside the Avondale Racecourse, he was keen to secure it for his company Ockham Residential’s next project. 

Ockham is the company behind a handful of top- quality developments in Auckland, including the Isaac and the Turing apartment buildings in Grey Lynn, and Daisy and Station R in Mt Eden. Mark and his business partner Ben Preston style themselves as “urban regenerators”, and the Avondale site was ideal for one of their developments, which provide smart, sustainable and well-built apartments. 

“The Avondale site is great because it’s a great urban regeneration site, and part of the Avondale Town Centre’s 10-year master plan,” says Mark. 

“A lot is happening in the area, including a new community centre and library going in next door, and we are very excited to be the first significant development in the new town centre. 

“We’re going to be right in the heart of what is a cosmopolitan and multi-cultural community, and so close to everything.” 

To be known as the Set apartments, the development on the site of the old Suburbs rugby club will be 300m from Avondale’s shopping hub, 600m from the train station, 2km to LynnMall and 3km from the Waterview interchange on the North Western Motorway. 

There will be three buildings: Subset A, B and C. A and B will have three levels of walk-up apartments: 18 in A and 24 in B. Subset C will be a five-storey building with 30 apartments, and it will also have a community lounge, play area and vegetable garden for all residents. 

All three will be constructed from solid concrete, with timber and brick in the facades, and Subset A and B will feature striking pitched roofs. 

Ockham’s in-house lead architect Tania Wong, who grew up in Avondale, says the look of the buildings was inspired by original architecture in the area. 

“The idea for the pitched roofing came from the old stables around the racecourse and also the old St Ninian’s Church, which is nearby,” says Tania. “We wanted the apartments to have a character flat feel.” 

Decorative patterning on the buildings is based on Venn diagrams, and ties into the mathematical inspiration behind the Set buildings. 

All of Ockham’s developments are named after critical thinkers or concepts, and the Set buildings are influenced by the idea of sets being one of the 

most fundamental concepts in mathematics (Ben and Mark studied maths at university). 

The apartments will all have 2.7m studs — the ones on the top floor of Subsets A and B will feature pitched ceilings — and balconies. Kitchens will have engineered stone benchtops, Smeg appliances and New Zealand-made Methven tapware. There will be porcelain floor and wall tiles and polymarble basins in the bathrooms. 

Mark says the buildings will live up to Ockham’s reputation for producing apartments that are sustainable, well-liked by the community, made from durable, low-maintenance materials that age gracefully, and designed to minimise noise and on- going costs. 

He’s excited about the fact that Ockham is managing to keep the prices of the Set apartments affordable, from $420,000 to $820,000. 

“Hardly any new housing built in Auckland comes with that price point but we’ve done it by keeping them down to one or two bedrooms, or one bedroom and a study,” says Mark, adding that 

costs have also been reduced thanks to having car parking next to the buildings, rather than underground, and just one lift, which is in Subset C. 

The company is helping people to get a foot in the door thanks to the First Home Solutions scheme run by the Ockham Foundation, the charitable arm of Ockham Residential. The scheme allows purchasers of certain apartments (around 20 per cent of the development) to defer payment of 15 per cent of the total price for up to 10 years. 

At the end of 10 years, or before if the apartment is sold, 15 per cent of its market valuation needs to be paid to the Ockham Foundation. But in the meantime, the purchasers are effectively paying less on their mortgage, which could make a huge difference when it comes to their ability to buy the apartment. “So if you have a 20 per cent deposit, in effect, you only have to borrow 65 per cent of the purchase price from the bank, not 80 per cent,” says Mark. 

Construction is due to start around August and be finished by about July next year.