A new housing and retail development in Frankton may mark the start of a new face for the old suburb.
Construction has begun on Village Quarter, a modern mixed-use complex on the corner of Lake Rd and Hall St.
Developer Andrew Yeoman said he believes the suburb could be developed into a "mini Ponsonby", imitating the Auckland suburb famous for its many hospitality and retail outlets.
"I'm actually hoping to get in and grab as much of that land as I can."
He said the area was attractive for its proximity to supermarkets, banks, shops and Forlongs department store.
The development consists of five buildings, which will be constructed over the next two years.
The projected completion date for the first section is October this year and when finished will offer three offices, three retail stores, a cafe and 18 apartments. The retail and office spaces have already been filled. Apartments are available for sale from $270,000 to $380,000.
One office will be occupied by Harcourts Rentals, who can manage rental properties on behalf of landlords.
"It's fantastic for anyone looking for it as an investment property," said Yeoman.
The other offices will be occupied by an architect and Yeoman Developments.
Stage two will be complete in late 2015. At the completion of a third stage, there will be a total of 49 apartments.
Yeoman said medium-density housing is his specialty, and he aims to create attractive, lasting buildings.
He said it is easy to make a lot of cheap and nasty buildings.
"I like designing buildings now that the council will come through in 100 years' time and say ‘That's so cool I'd like to make it a heritage site."'
Yeoman is behind several other developments, including Queens Park near Hamilton Lake.
He said there was high demand for intensive housing near the city centre. All of the houses at Queens Park are sold, and Yeoman is already speaking to interested investors and tenants for Village Quarter.
The area is designed to be low-maintenance, but visually attractive. There will be gardens, but tenants won't have to get their hands dirty.
"It's all fully maintained. We've got a comprehensive landscape plan."