Follow us on Twitter

Fletcher Building getting into the apartment game

It seems that the market for higher density housing is starting to heat up with news today that Fletcher Building has set up a special division to focus on building apartments.

Fletcher Building is making a big push into Auckland’s apartment development market, forming specialist new division Fletcher Developments this year to hunt down opportunities on big sites.

Graham Darlow, Fletcher Construction’s chief executive, said this was a new area of focus but Fletcher was not interested in building infill housing.

Instead, it wants sites where amenities can be provided, such as open space and reserves.

As Auckland demand shifts towards higher density homes, Fletcher decided to focus on that area and the formation of Fletcher Developments was a response to that and the general housing shortages in the city.

“Developments is focused on delivering carefully targeted, desirable, high-quality apartment opportunities within Auckland,” Fletcher Construction says on its website.

This is good news as one of the big issues we seem to be have is that most developers/builders are fairly small and simply don’t have enough scale and/or capital to pull off large developments. It also signals that large players like Fletcher definitely see a market for high quality, higher density dwellings which perhaps suggests they have started seeing purchasing trends change. I have heard recently that some builders are finding smaller dwellings selling much better than they expected

Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is that they are not just looking for sites to build apartments on but ones where they can add value through additional amenities which indicates that they recognise that it is the amenities that are critical to improving liveability. Of course amenities need to be more than just a park or open area and most of those needed are unlikely to be able to be provided in a single development but instead would exist within a wider town centre.

In other apartment news, a crane has appeared on the skyline at New Lynn to start construction on the Merchant Quarter Apartments for which more than 75% of the apartments have already been sold. The building is located almost directly above the train station.

New Lynn Apartments

I get a very strong feeling that we are going to see quite a lot more developments springing to life in the coming years as we shake off the financial crisis. Not all will make it through to construction but it definitely gives me hope that we might start to see some good intensification occur. In a way you could say that Auckland is moving onwards and upwards.

15 comments to Fletcher Building getting into the apartment game

  • Max

    Just for personal irony, I couldn’t see myself living above a massive car park but otherwise, that is a pretty purty looking apartment building. I believe the architects call than “accenting” and “articulation” – rather than boring, flat surfaces where even the windows blend in.

  • Bryce P

    I don’t need one but I almost feel like buying one anyway. Can’t explain why.

  • Liz

    I like the Merchant Quarter apartments, but I don’t understand why there’s not more communal space. A larger garden/courtyard/deck area would have been great.

    • Max

      From experience, communal areas are really hard to get used by people. Most won’t go use them at all in an apartment, from my experience. Better to invest into good individual apartment interiors, and real public (i.e. Council-owned) spaces.

      Though not to say that some architects can’t find the key to making common areas work – I just have VERY rarely seen it work in either Europe or here.

      • I agree Max. I lived in an almost new apartment in Prague that had a lovely courtyard with trees and grass. You could sit out there and have bbq or picnic.

        I was there from March to August (so Spring/summer) and I dont think I ever saw anyone in the courtyard. If people wanted to go to a green area they went to one of the great parks nearby. We were a 15min walk from the Charles Bridge.

        • Liz

          Fair enough, I have only stayed in apartments with friends, rather than living in one for an extended period of time. I did enjoy the rooftop deck of a place I visited in Sydney, and to me that seemed a better solution than the silly comments of UP-adversaries who say that every apartment needs a balcony big enough to use a BBQ. I have spent enough time on apartment balconies to know that I don’t want to BBQ on one… hadn’t thought that the same mindset would apply to communal space, but actually it makes sense. Unless you have a decent space of your own, it’s easier to go out to a park, etc.

  • Great to see Fletcher jump in on this. Unfortunately many of the apartments have been built by concrete pre-fab specialists, some of which have gone through several iterations to shed liability. However Fletcher name should provide some more expertise and certainty.
    Also well capitalized which is important too so will need lower proportion of pre-sales to start construction.
    Previously Fletcher had been into building big houses on small sections, so great to see them diversifying.

  • Tamaki

    I thought that article was more about the 6500 residents of Stonefields. And a logical question is, how will they get to work? It’s less than 1km to the reinstated tamaki train station, which is also in the unitary plan, so we should see it soon.

  • Feijoa

    They’ve seen the writing on the wall – we can’t go on forever building new Masseys (called out only because of the classic Hindsight series, where all of the new residents complained about how dull it was, dispersed and devoid of life).

    Good work Fletchers.

    Any speculators as to where these large scale sites might be within Auckland?

    • Tamaki

      One of the sites is the tamaki precinct in the unitary plan, around the proposed tamaki train station. Another 8000 residents zoned to go there.

  • There is a wonderful site in Takapuna that is just about ready to go and it looks as though it could easily fit 50+ apartments. Yes it will be a smaller venture, but a good one to cut their teeth on. This site also provides a wonderful opportunity for the government to demonstrate that they really do see other options than simply putting boxes on land half way to Wellsford.

    The site is the soon to be closed (relocated) Takapuna Fire Station. It is a great location with good amenities very close by and in close proximity to public transport routes.

  • It is great to see Fletchers moving into this sector – probably they are needed. There has been the demise of Krukziener, Henderson and Multiplex, all of whom contributed significant developments. There has also been the demise of large funders so Fletchers with its ability to source funding will be a welcome addition.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they are eyeing the Wynyard Quarter given their significant involvement in commercial development there.

    • Tamaki

      Good point. The death of the mezzanine finance industry has meant that only very big players like Fletchers, or one man band developers have been active.

  • JohnP

    I’m also stoked to see Fletcher getting into the apartment sector, for all the reasons mentioned above. It’s a very positive sign.

Leave a Reply