Setting our sites on the future: Ockham returns to Avondale

We have bought 1.58ha of land on Racecourse Parade in Avondale from Auckland's regeneration agency, Eke Panuku. With partners, Marutūahu, we plan to build 750 apartments across eight blocks on the site.

On Thursday 30 July, Eke Panuku, Auckland City’s urban regeneration agency, announced the signing of a sale and development agreement for a 1.58-hectare development block in Avondale town centre to Marutūāhu-Ockham Group.  

The agreement heralds the largest collaboration yet in a series of projects Ockham are working on with Marutūāhu. It will follow on from Tuatahi in Mt Albert (completed 2019), Kōkihi in Waterview (completed 2021) and Avondale's Aroha and Manaaki in Onehunga (both under construction). 

The development of the central site in Avondale – often referred to by locals as ‘the 3 Guys site’ in remembrance of a much-missed supermarket – will create up to 750 homes. With easy access to transport links such as the Western rail corridor and the New Lynn-Avondale shared path, the development will sit alongside the Avondale’s new town square, multi-purpose library and community facility, as well as provide new retail and commercial premises along the site’s Great North Road edge. 

What's the haps for Avondale?

Ockham captain, Mark Todd, is delighted to return to Avondale following the success of Set and the sold-out Aroha: “Our vision is to re-imagine urban communities and create beautiful buildings that people love to live in, stand the test of time and bring a fantastic lifestyle to as many people and communities as possible,” he says. “We are thrilled to be selected to work with Eke Panuku to deliver a masterplanned development for this site.”

“Our plans propose eight buildings of differing heights and configurations, featuring sustainable homes at a minimum of a 6 Homestar rating,” he continues. “The plans will include integrated outdoor spaces for residents and a public walkway joining to the new town square. We look forward to working further with other key community leaders to bring this key site to life as we have done with our other Avondale developments.” 

Eke Panuku Priority Location Director-West, John Carter, enthuses over the advantages of this city-fringe neighbourhood. “Avondale is a suburb with a huge amount of potential,”  he says. “To enable this and truly support the community of Avondale a well thought-out plan, supported by investment, and strong partnerships is required. 

“Since launching the high-level project plan in 2017, Eke Panuku has been making steady progress delivering on this plan and bringing all the differing elements of urban regeneration together to ready this neighbourhood for change. A great example of this is the Marutūāhu-Ockham Group Aroha development further down Great North Road with 117 apartments due for completion early next year.” 

The 1.58-hectare development block comprises two large sites at 6 (‘the 3 Guys site’) and 10 Racecourse Parade which Eke Panuku has sold together. Following recent negotiations to purchase the adjacent site at 10 Racecourse Parade from Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Eke Panuku has been able to take both to the market as one larger site allowing for a significant development opportunity. 

“Through collaborating with our partners such as Kāinga Ora, we can deliver an outcome for this neighbourhood that otherwise would not have been possible,” Mr Carter continues. “These sites are part of a programme of residential development in central Avondale which has been supported through strategic land acquisition. We have been able to assemble a site of scale that can deliver well designed homes and commercial spaces right in the centre of Avondale,” says Mr Carter. 

“The new development by the Marutūāhu-Ockham Group will be high quality, with well-designed housing providing homes for thousands of Aucklanders. It will be well served by rail, bus, and walking and cycling links... it’s going to be a great place to live.”

Mayor Phil Goff  

Community leaders give thumbs-up 

Mayor Phil Goff says the regeneration of central Avondale is much needed and long overdue. 

“For years, sites such as the one once occupied by 3 Guys have been left vacant, creating an atmosphere of neglect,” he says. 

“The new development by the Marutūāhu-Ockham Group will be high quality, with well-designed housing providing homes for thousands of Aucklanders. It lies adjacent to where council will be building a new town square, library, and community hub. It will be well served by rail, bus, and walking and cycling links, and will have easy access to the city. The town centre will be boosted by new retail and commercial outlets - it’s going to be a great place to live,” Phil Goff said. 

 Whau Local Board Chair Kay Thomas says “I couldn’t be more thrilled by this news. The community has been keenly awaiting an update on the future of this site and I am delighted that Eke Panuku has secured a development partner with the vision to help unlock the potential of this central location. Based on the high-quality developments we have already seen from the Marutūāhu-Ockham Group I have no doubt they are the right partner for this amazing opportunity, creating new homes and employment opportunities right in the heart of Avondale.” 

Whau Ward Councillor Tracy Mulholland added, “Today’s announcement really underlines why Council’s investment in key infrastructure is so important in our communities. Our commitment to the ongoing regeneration of the Avondale town centre with the new Library and Community Hub and town square shows that with the right infrastructure other partners will be encouraged to work with us to develop the Avondale of the future. I am delighted that we have a contractor on board for early involvement in the planning for delivery for this new community hub to offer buildability and constructability advice. Council’s Annual Plan has provided certainty on the level and timing of funding available, and I look forward to seeing this important community facility delivered for the current and future residents of Avondale.” 

Marcus Amosa, chair of the Avondale Business Association says, “I couldn’t think of a better outcome for Avondale. This announcement is the result of public and private sector organisations collaboratively working together for the best outcome. The 3 Guys site has been an eyesore in Avondale that has cut our main street in half for over 20 years. This announcement today will finally reconnect both sides of Avondale's main street retail strip and inject new life into our town centre. 

“Avondale is such a unique and creative place. With all of us working together with a shared vision, this will enhance all the features that we love as well as bring new elements into our neighbourhood. It's great to see that Eke Panuku has chosen a development partner with a track record in Avondale and a reputation for high quality developments. Really excited about this one."