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Investor gets green light in sensitive Parnell area

Friday 12th May 2000

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PERSEPOLIS: Single bedroom units of 60sq m and two-bedroom units of between 70-90sq m
By Campbell McIlroy

Iranian-born property investor Mosen Haghi has succeeded in gaining resource consents for a section of Ngati Whatua leasehold land on the old railyards in Auckland's Parnell.

After a drawn-out two-year planning and resource consent process Mr Haghi's M&M Properties has gained a five-year resource consent for a 14,376sq m office, retail and residential development on the corner of Beach Rd and Ronayne St, adjacent to the former railway station building.

The notified consent allows a building up to 30m high with 135 one- and two-bedroom apartments, 1138sq m of office space, 415sq m of retail and a restaurant of 209sq m.

Plans also include a gym, two swimming pools and up to 288 carparks.

The $25 million building, to be called the Persepolis, has been designed by Ron Wright Architects in association with Harrison Grierson Consultants.

Originally the designer planned a 50m tower, as allowed in the operative district plan on Beach Rd. But the height is restricted to 30m on Ronayne St, and the proposed district plan further restricts height to 18m.

An application contending the height restriction of the Beach Rd frontage should apply was rejected by the council.

Mr Haghi has a 99-year lease on the land and is in negotiations with a few interested parties, including Arrow International, to undertake the development.

But Mr Haghi said he would still welcome expressions of interest from investors and developers.

While the resource consents are relatively specific architect Ron Wright said there was still room for variation in the final configuration of the development.

The current plan splits the apartments half and half between single-bedroom units of 60sq m and two-bedroom units of between 70-90sq m, with a few three-bedroom apartments.

The lengthy resource consent process was exacerbated by the Ports of Auckland insisting, as it has for all developments in the area, that apartments have noise insulation.

The port also attempted to have a covenant included in the plan which denied residents the right to complain about noise levels from the port.

A local architect also appealed against the planned development, concerned about the building's impact on the area.

Mr Wright said he was not sure what the architect's motivations were but the matter was settled out of court.

Despite the building boom in the Viaduct Basin and oversupply of office space in the CBD putting many plans for development on Ngati Whatua land on hold, property sources believe the area is a good long-term investment.

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