“Enough is enough,” says Auckland’s Mayor.
Article originally published JUNE 7, 2005 –Reviewed and approved.
By Neil Jenman
Ugly Auckland apartments are about to be banned.
From July 1, 2005, all apartment plans submitted to the Auckland council will be rated by a scoring method. The aim is to weed out buildings likely to pollute the skyline of a city, segments of which are often described as future slums.
Over the past few years, tiny apartments – dubbed “shoeboxes” – have sprung up in big buildings that resemble, at best, Lego blocks and, at worst, hideous metal, and glass monsters.
It’s almost as if the city has held an ugly building competition.
The winners have been dodgy developers and slick spruikers. The losers have been the citizens of the city.
But now Auckland Mayor, Dick Hubbard has said, “Enough is enough.” He set up a mayoral taskforce to stop one of the Pacific’s loveliest cities becoming one of the ugliest.
As well as scoring apartments for architectural appeal, minimum sizes will now apply which will spell the end of the Auckland shoebox apartment. Spacious and beautiful will be the new standard.
Studio apartments will have to be at least 30sqm; one-bedroom apartments – 50 sqm; two-bedroom apartments – 70 sqm and three-bedroom apartments will have to be at least 90sqm. Many recently built Auckland apartments are less than half the proposed minimum sizes.
So, what will this mean for those ugly shoebox apartments that have already been built, or even those still under construction?
Well, unfortunately, the council can’t tear them down, but the shoeboxes will become seriously tainted.
“Anyone who bought a small apartment is about to see their property value drop substantially,” said one expert last week.
Other than the victims of some local get-rich seminar spruikers, most Aucklanders have been too savvy to buy a shoebox. Many buyers for these tiny apartments have been Australians. Large newspaper advertisements, radio campaigns and the usual spruiker suspects have targeted thousands of naïve Australian investors in the past two years.
Although Aussies might have been buying ugly Auckland apartments, it’s Kiwis that have to look at them.
But, no more. Enough is enough.
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