Nelson's Saltwater Creek apartment plan pulled after low sales

An artist's impression of the Saltwater Creek apartment development which has been pulled from the market.

An artist's impression of the Saltwater Creek apartment development which has been pulled from the market.

A planned $30 million, six-storey apartment complex set to be Nelson's "biggest and most expensive" has been withdrawn from the market because of low pre-sales.

The Saltwater Creek apartments, overlooking Anzac and Rutherford parks, won approval as a Special Housing Area (SHA) in Haven Rd, and construction was set to start in April.

But the lack of presales has forced developer Bernard Downey to pull the pin on initial designs.

Downey said last year that unless 70 per cent of apartments were sold before April, construction would be pushed back.

Saltwater Creek takes to buyers market

On Tuesday he said he would review the entire design and "consider options going forward" after being "quite a ways off" the sales goal.

Downey would not comment on the total deposits received, saying it was commercially sensitive but all deposits would be refunded.

Designs for Saltwater Creek were revealed last November with plans for 32 apartments ranging from single bedroom units priced at $395,000 to luxury apartments at $1.95 million.

Downey said the prices were to blame for the low buyer uptake.

"It's too expensive right now I think, and that's the bottom line. You have to meet the market.

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"I can say that I wasn't surprised ... there was always that suspicion in my mind that this was perhaps too pricey for the Nelson market."

Downey said a new design could be "scaled down" to decrease building costs.

"You know there were four glass lifts in that building and it was big on entrance ways. There was a lot of space that wasn't liveable space. It's a question of per square metre."

The apartment complex was advertised through Bayleys Nelson and Downey had hoped buyers could move in by the end of 2018.

Bayleys agent Nina James said in November the fit-out was aimed at the top-end real estate market and she expected 25 per cent of the apartments to be sold by the end of the year.

Saltwater Creek was taken off Bayleys website on Friday.

Downey intends to contact Nelson City Council to inform them of his intention to modify the concept.

The resource consent for Saltwater Creek will remain valid for a five year period and any modifications on the approved design will have to be re-approved by the Nelson City Council before development or sales.

In November Downey said he worked to develop affordable housing options however, the price tag impacted on aesthetic architectural design elements. The final design therefore settled on the $30 million complex created by Donald Design architect Robert Donald who also designed Tahuna Sands.

Donald has building designs in Auckland and Wellington, but it was his Mission Bay design that captured Downey's eye for the Nelson build.

"To build in the mid-range sector was quite crowded with all these buildings coming online. I thought it would be better to go to the top-end of the market ... quality always sells," he said then.

The original designs had two levels of above-ground parking for 39 vehicles with one-way access off Haven Rd.

Above the parking levels the next four floors contained a mixture of one, two and three bedroom apartments finished with LED lighting, European bathrooms, kitchen fittings, and appliances and floor-tiling to complete the "luxury look".

The block was one of 18 SHA complexes that was  approved by Housing Minister Nick Smith and the Nelson City Council.

In 2015, NCC set the target of consenting 720 new dwellings over the next three years through the SHA process.

The SHAs were designed by the Government to increase housing supply and allowed developers to prepare their land and build houses at a faster rate.

 - Stuff


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