Putting The Nix into Star Newton

Star Newton – our 14th completed development – officially opened this morning amid much fans and fare. We took a moment to celebrate the hard yakka that went into this red brick wonder’s completion.

Inside the building’s striking ground-floor commercial space, now headquarters for the Ockham Collective, a small horde of honoured guests gathered: four local board members, six reps from the new owners, Resident Properties, a dozen Stakhanovite subcontractors – and a full orchestra of Ockham teamsters.

The speeches, urban-Churchillian in tone, began. Architectural mastermind Hannah Chiaroni-Clarke shared Star Newton’s origin story. Inspired by the loft conversions of New York, echoing the old industrial warehouses of its Newton home, she suggested Star Newton was a simple, solid, enduring template that had brought residential warmth to its neighbourhood.  

“This building’s changed the whole narrative of the area,” averred Ockham captain, Mark Todd. This area was a shitty little block and it shouldn’t have been. It’s one block off K’ Rd and Ponsonby Rd, and yet no one wanted to build here.

Referencing nearby Ockham efforts Station R in Mt Eden and Hypatia on Khyber Pass, Todd said Star Newton had been transformative. “It’s made the area more softer, more human, and residential… it’s done exactly what we hoped it would do.

“It’s density done intelligently – you have 32 homes on a 345m2 site.”

Reimagining urban communities

The development spoke to Ockham’s mission to reimagine urban communities, Todd continued. 

“We think our buildings stack up on aesthetic grounds, but what’s less discussed is what they achieve from a city-building, urban fabric point of view.

“We get a huge amount of pleasure in reimagining things and imagining things other people don’t. That’s the thing that I’m most proud of – that we reimagine and shape our city.

“We’re here to contribute the best we can to city-building within Tāmaki Makaurau.” 

Featuring a top-floor residents’ lounge and deck with sweeping views across the city, Star Newton is Ockham’s second build-to-rent, following the success of Modal in Mt Albert. Other community facilities include a another top-floor deck on the south side overlooking Maungawhau / Mt Eden that will include exercise equipment and yoga mats, and a large bike garage and storage lockers on the ground floor (alongside the Ockham Collective’s new 150m2 headquarters).

Star Newton no more. Behold The Nix!

Keen Ockham students might have wondered about the evolution of the building’s name. When the Ockham Nomenclature Committee (ONC) were researching the history of the area, they were captivated by the story of the old Star Hotel, a notorious (and sadly demolished) hotbed of radicalism and sedition that once sat atop Newton Gully. It was here that a young Michael Joseph Savage – then a miner, flax-cutter and fiery Red Fed revolutionary moreso than the beatific Micky Joe of above-mantelpiece portrait fame – delivered some of his earliest and most incendiary speeches. The ONC were enraptured – and so Star Newton it became.

But this was perhaps a little obscure, a little Ockhamishly esoteric. New owners, the build-to-rent specialists Resident Properties, have rechristened it The Nix (the building sits on the corner of Chapman and Nixon Streets).

At the ceremonial key handover, Resident Properties’ director, Greg Reidy, thanked Ockham for delivering an amazing project.

“We’re blown away with how well this project’s been delivered. We came and saw it about two-thirds of the way through, thought it was really cool, and to see it now standing and completed in such an efficient way.

“We’re thrilled to bits.”  

The Nix