Covid 19 coronavirus: developer of $35m 43-unit Epsom apartment scheme says hes unfazed

The pandemic outbreak and alert level 4 hasn’t dented a developer’s plans to convert an Epsom office block into 43 apartments in a $35 million scheme.

Andrew Lamont of Lamont & Co said the project at 303 Manukau Rd near the historic former Epsom Post Office planned to turn a 1970s office building into residential units.

Covid made little difference to his business plan, he said.

“We’re unfazed by this shutdown. It’s proven there’s good underlying demand and we still have full employment and interest rates will remain low,” Lamont speculated.

Plans to open a show suite on the site might, however, be slightly delayed, he said.

“We’ll get straight back into it as soon as we can,” Lamont said.

His company paid $9.5m for the land and buildings and Kalmar Construction was the preferred contractor, Lamont said.

Jasmax had designed the project, named Symphony303 “because we did see it as a building composition. If you look at the word, it means harmony and we think this will be a harmonious place for people to live”.

Lamont & Co has converted another office block into apartments: Grafton’s ex-Winstone House near the Symonds St/Khyber Pass Rd intersection.

SKHY is now finished occupied “and we’re planning a third after Symphony303. Repurposing offices to apartments works if the site is right. We think it’s a great way to add something beneficial for the city.”

Tim Lamont – Andrew’s twin brother – said that in Epsom, having a ground level with an existing 44 car parks was a benefit.

“We will strip the original building back to its concrete frame in order to preserve the existing character elements including the generous ceiling height. It will then be extended and two additional levels will be added to create a five-storey building – four levels of apartments on top of a ground floor dedicated to car parks, bike stands and storage units,” he said.

The site is 1682sq m and one, two and three-bedroom apartments will be from 43sq m to 111sq m.

Prices will start at $650,000 and go up to $2.27m. The property is in the double grammar zone, which the Lamonts said was one of the reasons they bought it.

Lamont & Co also developed Fabric in Onehunga, which won a NZ Institute of Architects award.

Colliers has identified more than 11,000 Auckland apartments planned between now and 2023.

That will bring enough new residences to house the entire Queenstown population in our biggest city if all projects go ahead.

Chris Dibble, Collier’s national director of partnerships, research and communications, said 11,256 new residential units were either under construction, being marketed or in the planning and feasibility stages in the city.

All up, 197 new projects worth billions of dollars are rising or planned to be finished by 2023, he said.

So the amount of new building work planned for Auckland over those three years is the equivalent of creating enough new places to house the southern mecca’s entire population.

Dibble said current work eclipsed previous apartment construction levels.

This year, 4927 new Auckland units are scheduled to be completed followed by 4398 units in 2022 and 1931 units by 2023, he said.

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