Development at ‘bow wave’ of Albany Village upgrade

10:00 AM Wednesday August 5, 2015 Colin Taylor

Artist’s impression of one of the seven of The Alba planned retail, commercial and apartment blocks.

Land and consented building plans for the development of mid-rise retail, commercial and apartment blocks in Albany Village on Auckland’s North Shore have been placed on the market for sale.

The proposed development, tentatively named The Alba, would occupy 3927 square metres of freehold land at 243-247 Dairy Flat Highway overlooking the old State Highway One route.  

The consented plans allow for the construction of seven five-storey blocks with retail units at street level, commercial offices on the first floor, and apartments on the upper three levels.

The six retail sites range in size from 158 square metres up to 290 square metres, while the commercial premises range from 205 square metres up to 310 square metres. The office premises are being promoted as professional open plan urban work spaces.

The top level of each planned tower features designs for 179 sq m three bedroom and two bathroom penthouse dwellings with wrap around open decking. Aside from the penthouses, the approved apartment configuration contains a mix of one, two and three bedroom units ranging in size from 76 to 112 sq m - all with elevator access to underground car parking facilities.

The land and consented development plans for The Alba are being marketed for sale through a tender process closing on August 26 through Gary Douglas of Bayleys Long Bay.

“The Alba development would be at the bow wave of modernising Albany township,” Douglas says. “While there are plans for other mid-rise commercial and mixed-use commercial-residential blocks elsewhere around Greater Albany, nothing like The Alba has been brought to the market so far. It’s a far more boutique concept and of low-rise intensity based around an existing and mature social infrastructure,” Douglas says.

He says the lay-out and design plans for The Alba complex have Dairy Flat Highway linking through a lane-style pedestrian and vehicular access to the rear of the development overlooking Kell Park.

243-247 Dairy Flat Highway, Albany - artist's impression of The Alba retail, commercial and apartment blocks - wide horiz.jpg

Artist’s wide street impression of The Alba development at Albany.

“As part of the consenting approval process, the approved development proposal opens up Kell Park’s potential as Albany town centre’s recreational zone. Frontages onto the park will be appealing for retail premises with a food and beverage focus and likewise with the apartments overlooking a mature green space.”

Douglas believes The Alba’s retail premises would appeal to ‘neighbourhood’ focused food and beverage operators which would complement and add to the existing ethnically orientated food offerings currently operating in Albany Village.

“Nearby Albany Mall food court and a handful of licensed bars and restaurants along its boulevard perimeter cater well for the ‘visiting’ clientele shopping during the day or attending the neighbouring Events Cinema complex at night,” he says.

“However, the vision for The Alba is that hospitality tenancies will be more targeted toward Albany village, Albany Basin, and Paremoremo locals, along with those new residents who will be living in the apartments above, as a neighbourhood type hub.”

The Alba’s current developer envisages that commercial tenants above the retail outlets would most likely come from the professional services sector – like architectural design, digital creative, accounting, and company consulting businesses.

“North Shore office premises in the Rosedale, Constellation Drive, Corinthian Drive and Takapuna commercial precincts are just that – purely commercial. They don’t exhibit the same residential and retail blend proposed for The Alba, which could suit tenants seeking a ‘work-from-home’ scenario in combined with apartment ownership above.

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Artist’s impression of office interior in The Alba complex. 

“With technology and digital communications now supporting a much more fluid workplace environment, along with smaller businesses choosing to be based outside of congested city and city-fringe centres, destinations like Albany Village present exciting opportunities – as identified by the inclusion of commercial premises in the development plans.”

Douglas says that while the three-pronged development plans being sold in conjunction with The Alba land had already been approved by Auckland Council, there was nothing to stop potential purchasers buying the land and submitting alternative building options which could contain greater or higher residential intensification options.

The land is currently tenanted by a range of trading businesses including a boat yard, café, physiotherapy treatment rooms, and commercial offices. All have various tenancy terms expiring next year with the potential of extending those out on month by month leases. Combined, the multiple tenancies generate rental income of $200,000 per annum.

Douglas says Albany Basin to the south of Albany township has undergone a big metamorphosis over the past 15 years – first through the development of bulk retail premises and commercial offices, then through the arrival of Westfield Albany, the Events cinema complex and then ensuing residential blocks.

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Gary Douglas, Bayleys Long Bay.