Last month the St George’s Church manse, on The Terrace in Takapuna, was demolished to make way for seven new luxury freehold town houses, one of which will become the new manse. It’s a big move for the church, but one that’s been discussed and dreamed about for nearly 20 years.
The brick manse was built next door to the church in 1919. For many years now, the manse has not met modern housing requirements, and after several years’ work to develop and finalise designs and obtain consents, demolition of the old manse took place in late April.
Graeme Wheadon, of the church’s manse committee, says it had been clear to the church for some time that the manse required extensive – and expensive – maintenance. To be suitable for modern living the old house needed to be insulated, re-wired and re-blocked at the very least, and its position did not make good use of the site. “We didn’t have a dwelling suitable for the minister, or anyone, to live in.”
After talking about development for some time, they began discussions with local resident David Gaze of Gaze Commercial about how they could develop the site and provide a new manse.
Having developed a concept for a number of elegant town houses, St George’s and Gaze Commercial worked with neighbours to discuss the impact on them of both the new buildings and of the demolition. Graeme says the initial plans were modified after listening to neighbours’ concerns, and the new buildings were moved back from the boundary and the roofline modified to address some of their concerns. In addition, “Undertaking the demolition by hand means most materials can be recycled, and has reduced the noise and dust impacts for our neighbours,” he adds.
Graeme joined Reverend Sylvia Miller-Hardie, other members of the committee, and Gaze Commercial’s Brendon Gaze, to watch early stages of the demolition. He says, “We’re very pleased with what we have ended up with. It’s a good business model for the developer and it offers intensification without going too high.”
All seven of the new town houses are three-level dwellings, with great views over the town centre and harbour, and with lift access from the ground floor. All have an open plan kitchen, dining and living area on the first level, with an outside balcony. The upper level has a master suite with its own balcony, and two bedrooms with a shared bathroom for family or guests. On the ground floor, in addition to garaging and storage, is a room that can be used as a study or bedroom with its own ensuite. Gaze has also put a lot of effort into developing the aesthetics of the exterior and landscaping, while intensifying the use of the site.
It’s not surprising, given their generous size, the appeal of each town house being freehold, and their proximity to the beach, shops and transport connections, that four of the properties were sold before demolition of the manse, let alone construction of the complex, began.
“The church could have sold the site to other developers; instead, by working with David Gaze we have ensured minimal impact on the surroundings,” comments Graeme. “By working with the slope of the land the properties are really only two and a half levels above ground level. We’re very pleased with what we have ended up with.”
Gaze Commercial, Level 1, 35 High Street, Auckland 1010
www.gaze.co.nz, ph 09 306 0122