Snowbirds come to roost

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 05:00 27/02/2014
Sentinel Summers
SENTINEL SUMMERS: Living three months a year at the Sentinel is ‘‘simply the best’’, say Toronto couple Susan and Paul Prentice.

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North Americans chasing an endless summer have chosen to make a Takapuna apartment block their southern home.

Known as "snowbirds", for generations well-to-do northerners have migrated south wintering over in Florida.

But now they're going further afield, boasting Takapuna's 30 storey Sentinel building provides a Miami-like experience.

Toronto resident Susan Prentice, says taking refuge from minus 30 degree winters in summertime Takapuna with her husband Paul is their "best kept secret".

"I haven't seen a winter in a while and I hope I never see one again. I can't tell you how much we love it hear, it's like a little Miami South Beach" she says.

When in Canada she even finds time to read the North Shore Times online, she says.

About the only drawback Patrick Curry can think of living at the Sentinel is the pool.

"It's heated, but it's a little cool," he says.

The Virginian, who lives just south of Washington, DC, bought the apartment with his Takapuna-born wife Eileen so she could hold on to family ties.

Just like the Prentice's, they choose to spend two to three months a year living in Takapuna.

"She wanted a piece of her homeland; two of her sisters live around here," he says.

Dennis Ainsley, the president of the body corporate committee, says they have worked hard to make the Sentinel, "New Zealand's premiere apartment complex".

Residents from the 117 apartment complex have just celebrated a nearly $500,000 improvement to their pool and garden deck.

Mr Ainsley is proud of the building's body corporate, and touts it as one of the best-run, most community-focused in the country.

A lengthy legal battle with the Sentinel's developers resulted in a victory for the body corporate.

"We now have total autonomy over the building," he says.

Simon O'Connor, a fifth floor apartment owner, says living in the Sentinel is very social.

"It's much more friendly than living out in the ‘burbs.

"Why would I want to live in a three bedroom house in the suburbs when I can live in central Takapuna?" he says.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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