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Aidan Bennett is the Publisher of Channel Magazine and Managing Director of parent company Benefitz. This is his monthly Channel Mag column.
As the year comes to a close I have been thinking about how much progress Takapuna has made over the past three to five years.
I was in a meeting recently with a prominent local person who lives between Takapuna and Milford and he commented to me about how he loves the changes taking place in Takapuna. He’s a discerning bloke who just loves the variety now on offer right on his doorstep. And I do too. Everything has improved in Takapuna over the past few years – eating out, bars and cafes, shopping, opening up the beach – and there’s more on the way!
Personally, I am a fan of the quality apartment developments coming on stream for the area. As long as they are quality, then the people they bring will only add to the vibrancy and growth of the area. And they look to be quality to me, with some exciting new developments advertised in this very issue.
I thought that this month I would give you all a whisper of a few other things that are happening in Taka.
Firstly, I have heard a whisper that a proposed development for Lake Road may include a supermarket with residential apartments above. Wouldn’t that be great! At the same time the old gasometer site between Northcroft and Auburn Street’s – once tagged to be a supermarket with residential – looks set to be developed for parking to alleviate this problem that has still to be solved in Takapuna.
Talking about parking... the days of lots of tickets being handed out in Takapuna may be drawing to a close. I understand that an ‘App’ parking system may be introduced as part of a new strategy aimed at making parking in Takapuna much more user friendly for shoppers and visitors.
Wiltshire Property Group continues to by a great ally for Takapuna. They developed the wonderful McKenzies precinct and are now expanding that with some new retail or hospitality outlets that will link Hurstmere Green and McKenzies via an upgraded balcony/walkway along the back of Partners Life House. Wiltshire's are also doing some renovations on Partners Life House that will result in high quality office space in the top two floors (1260 and 960 square metres respectively that is available) and a new glass facade for the top floors. This is all set to be completed around March/April next year.
As we have highlighted with our cover feature in this issue Fifth Avenue Diamond Jewellers are relocating to Hurstmere Road, to a space also owned by Wiltshire’s. Wiltshire Property Group purchased quite a few of the tired shops at the Lake Road end of Hurstmere Road a year or two back and have set about enhancing them and putting some great tenants in. Lets Get Outside is one great clothing store, then Michael Hill opened a bigger store on the corner, followed by Ebbke Jewellery, and now Fifth Avenue. One empty store remains and I understand a ‘cool brand’ looks set to fill that which is the front (Hurstmere Road) part of the store occupied by Tosca & Salome at the rear, on the Strand.
I also love Fourtieth & Hurstmere, the Laneway development opposite Hurstmere Green. Some great hospitality outlets (Bird On A Wire, Dante’s Pizza, Kombi Coffee, El Húmero), and at the moment there is also a pop-up store for The Block NZ winners Alex and Corban. Popular gourmet burger outlet Burger Burger (in Ponsonby and Newmarket), run by ex-Jam owner Adrian Chilton, is opening there in March/April as well. Look out also for a small bar to be the final addition to Fourtieth & Hurstmere in the future.
I can’t detail all the good things in Takapuna without mentioning the Main Beach hospitality precinct on The Strand (Francs, Regatta and Tokyo Bay) developed by John Copson’s Crown Group, which opened around 12 months ago and has well and truly opened up the beach. And how good is Madam Woo! A fantastic addition to Takapuna on Lake Road, beside the carpark, with a lovely new fashion store for Superette right next door.
Other new stores opening in Takapuna include RipCurl – in the old PitaPit site on Hurstmere Road – and then Pita Pit are opening a totally new outlet on Anzac Street in the old site that was House of Travel. 3 Wise Men now have a great new store in Hustrmere Road and in the near future they will have a new kids clothing store along side called Grey+Wild, offering awesome brands for rad kids from birth to 13 years. I understand there will also be a new cafe next door to Grey+Wild as well. Look out also for a new store called ‘Far Far Away’ opening on Hurstmere Road – an event planning company specialising in kids parties in Auckland.
It’s two or three years away, 2018, but the centre of Hurstmere Road, the Hurstmere Green area and either side will be redeveloped with a view to this being extended over time. I believe this may develop into a bit more of a shared space, making the area much more user friendly for pedestrians. My own belief is traffic should be changed to one-way down this part of Hurstmere Road, with only essential traffic encouraged to use it.
Shore City remains on the market and the word is that any buyer will look to redevelop and expand the mall and this will probably include residential apartments above. I also understand some major hotel chains have Takapuna on their radar. Another international hotel would not be out of place in Takapuna and the beds are apparently much-needed.
All this exciting stuff and very soon we will also have New Zealand’s best playground on Gould Reserve, close to the beach. A project I am extremely proud to be involved in that has generously been underwritten by Jackie and Chris Reeve. The build is likely to be around February or March next year so it’s not far away.
While I am banging on about Takapuna, I thought I would show off my Huffer Takapuna t-shirt (see photo) I bought recently from their wonderful store at McKenzies. It’s a beauty and I reckon you should all get one to celebrate the resurgence of Takapuna!
I hope you enjoy reading all this positive news about Takapuna. Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year. I am looking forward to 2016 – it’s going to be a beauty!
Channel Magazine: Issuu 61 December 2015 January 2016