Day At The Track

Targeting families in Grammar Zone grossly unfair

04:08 PM 23 Jun 2016 NZST
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Alexandra Park.JPG
This is where the construction of a significant mixed-use urban village is taking place at the Auckland Trotting Club and inside the sought-after Double Grammar Zone.

Calls to toughen school enrolment zone rules by targeting the likes of families living in newly built apartments would be grossly unfair, says chief executive of Alexandra Park Dominique Dowding.

Ms Dowding is overseeing the construction of a significant mixed-use urban village at the Auckland Trotting Club and inside the sought-after Double Grammar Zone. It has been touted as one of the biggest brownfield developments currently underway in the city and one of the best-selling.

“I accept the nearby grammar schools are under huge enrolment pressure, but the suggestion to target families living in newly-built apartments is grossly unfair at best and discriminatory at worst. Families living in apartments are equally part of the community and hence should have equal access to everything everybody else has.

“To single out families opting for apartment living and penalise them accordingly would send the wrong message just when the Government and Auckland Council are promoting the absolute need for greater residential intensification in Auckland.”

Ms Dowding says while families make up about 20% Alexandra Park apartment buyers, most people buying cite the central location, quality nature of the master-planned development, the apartments’ freehold titles, and the easy access to key amenities as the main reasons for purchasing an apartment in the urban village development.

“Empty nesters and professional couples are a big part of our market, but stage two is attracting more local families and younger people. However, the families we are attracting are motivated by a number of things well beyond school zoning.”

She says the fact that the development sits in the Double Grammar Zone is sure an added bonus for most, but it has only been seen as a deciding factor by a few of Alexandra Park’s buyers – and that’s according to Colliers International buyer statistics.

“The impression given is that families are rushing out to buy apartments in the likes of Epsom just to get their kids into a grammar school. But our experience is most families are turning to apartment living for lifestyle reasons, to get the space without the prohibitive extra land cost, plus good capital gain,” says Ms Dowding.

In just over 12 months’ unconditional sales of Alexandra Park’s high-end apartments have totalled over $220m. Over 80% of apartments for both stages have been sold while just three large penthouses remain for sale. Beneath the apartments will be a gourmet grocer, cafes, restaurants and boutique retail.

The first of the 750 residents are set to move into Alexandra Park from next year.

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