Tallest apartment tower planned in NZ: 183m 55-level giant seeks fast-track consent

The tallest apartment tower in New Zealand has been proposed for an inner-city Auckland site, eclipsing the existing record-holding block for height by a mere 5m.

Developers from Melbourne want to build the soaring 183m 55-level, 357-unit Federal Apartments, and say it will have aspects of indigenous design.

The block will be one level shorter than the existing 56-level The Pacifica apartments developed by Hengyi Pacific on Commerce St.

But The Pacifica, built by Icon Construction, is just 178m so the planned Federal Apartments would set a record for height in NZ.

It will be “a design inspired by the cultural heritage of New Zealand”, plans say.

Developer Melbourne’s ICD Property is chaired by Michael Mai, and the business is spearheading post-pandemic high-rise recovery projects across the Tasman.

ICD is using a locally registered company headquartered at its premises on Melbourne’s Collins St to seek state-approved Covid-19 consent to fast-track planning on the tower which will have offices, shops and car parking in its lower levels.

The fast-tracking consent avenue was launched two years ago when the pandemic hit to speed up resource-consenting processes and allow fewer people to have a say and try to stop significant schemes.

Federal Apartments is proposed for 65-71 Federal St, home of a seven-level car park.

The low-rise building was previously part of SkyCity’s operation.

The property is now owned by P0012 Auckland NZ Pty whose sole director is Tao Mai of Armadale, Australia.

Collins St, Melbourne-based companies P0012 Auckland 1 Pty and P0012 Auckland 2 Pty own the NZ business that owns the Federal St land.

Ross Cooper of Auckland-based planners Tattico and Simone Grevasi of ICD Property are listed as contact people for the application, with Auckland’s Phil Eaton of Greenstone Group.

The application has been lodged with the Environment Protection Authority.

“The scope of the project is to demolish an existing seven-storey car parking building on land at 65-71 Federal St and to construct a mixed-use building in its place,” the application says.

“The development is proposed to be 55 storeys and 357 residential apartments, retail and commercial premises and parking areas for cars, motorbikes and bicycles,” the document on the EPA’s website says.

The land around the site has a number of medium to high-rise residential and commercial buildings.

Australia’s Icon is listed as the builder. The local arm is headed here by Kiwi Dan Ashby and recently finished The Pacifica.

Landlab is listed for landscaping, WSP Structure as structural engineers and Norman Disney & Young as service engineers.

Greenstone Group is the project manager, Holmes is the fire engineer, Flow has done the transport engineering and MEL Consultants are wind engineers.

Boyd PR was contracted to run an engagement approach to talk to neighbours and other stakeholders in the area, the application said.

The site is only the size of a large Auckland house section: 1600sq m, described in the architectural reports as “small”.

“The development will set a new benchmark for quality, design and liveability and will provide approximately 357 new homes,” the architectural report says.

“Aspects of the tower design have been heavily influenced by local Māori iwi through the mana whenua process.

“This ensures that the tower will retain a relevance and significance that is dedicated to New Zealand’s cultural heritage and identity.

“A defined ground plane with marketplace and food and beverage offerings seeks to act as a catalyst for urban renewal to the precinct.”

The tower aims to blend “harmoniously within the existing Auckland skyline and ensure urban densification”.

“The overall tower height tops out at 183m above ground level, sitting well below the height limit constraint for the site estimated at 320m as defined by the Aotea height control and ensuring a respectful approach in the massing relationship with the adjacent Sky Tower.”

Woods Bagot and Peddlethorp are the architects for the tower. Their reports said the facade was inspired by the diversity and texture of New Zealand’s flora, citing the silver fern and its “luminosity”.

The site is between Hobson St and Federal St, Kingston St and Victoria St West.

Consent for the tower has not yet been granted but the EPA said it complied with requirements set out in the legislation.

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