'Maturing' Hamilton gets mixed-used apartments

An architect's drawing of the commercial space offered by Parkhaven.
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An architect's drawing of the commercial space offered by Parkhaven.

A new Hamilton mixed-use development will make a move away from the traditional building styles seen in the central city,

With views over Boyes and Hinemoa parks, the Parkhaven building at 220 Tristram St is under construction and will be a first of its kind in Hamilton: a purpose-built mixed-use structure.

Lodge Real Estate commercial property specialist Vaughan Heslop said traditionally construction in central Hamilton had been sprawling low-rise with high site coverage.

Parkhaven is an example of Hamilton maturing as a city, Lodge Real Estate commercial property specialist Vaughan Heslop says.
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Parkhaven is an example of Hamilton maturing as a city, Lodge Real Estate commercial property specialist Vaughan Heslop says.

"With Parkhaven, the developers have looked at the model used in larger centres around the world where the drive is towards much taller buildings.

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"This has resulted in much better design with commercial and residential occupants able to enjoy elevated views."

What made Parkhaven different was that its first two floors would offer retail and office space, while its upper three levels would comprise of 21 premium apartments.

To date, nine apartments have sold off the plans and the majority of the commercial space has been signed up.

The rear of the site will includes 90 car parks. Site clearance has been completed and the project is expected to be finished in 12 to 18 months, Heslop said.

"Parkhaven is an example of Hamilton maturing as a city. This has been prompted by new rules under the city council's Partly Operative District Plan and a number of parties have expressed their enthusiasm for the quality of the design.

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The availability of car parking is a huge selling point and relevant to businesses trying to accommodate staff and customers in an environment where parking is increasingly hard to find.

The 2300-plus square metre site was formerly occupied by the Hamilton office of Community Probation Services, which moved into purpose-built premises in London St.

The impetus behind developments including Parkhaven draw their steerage from Hamilton City Council's Partly Operative District Plan, which states under its Downtown Precinct section that Hamilton's CBD will provide the largest portion of the region's commercial growth over the next 30 years.

The plan calls for taller buildings, a pedestrian-oriented central city and a relationship with the Waikato River. 

Within the Downtown Precinct is a "city living" area bounded by London, Tristram, Mill, Collingwood and Hill streets in the north; Tristram St and Ruakiwi Rd to the west; Anglesea St to the east; and Cobham Drive to the south.

The plan states that "development in this area will combine activities to encourage mixed-use, multi-level and residential development".

"As a high-amenity and working precinct the area will be characterised by 'human-scale', safe, pedestrian-friendly streets and open spaces, and high-quality, sustainable buildings that contribute positively to the public realm."

Parkhaven architect Brian White, of Edwards White Architects, said central Hamilton had two major assets: the west town green belt and the Waikato River. But for a long time little effort had been made to make the most of these natural attributes.

"A lot of older developments had turned their backs on the parks and the river but this is changing," he said.

"Developments including Parkhaven and the re-development of the former Foodtown supermarket site [corner Tristram and Bryce streets] which now houses Genesis Energy and Civil Defence, is designed to make the best use of the views over the green belt."

White, who has spent 12 years as an architect in Hamilton, said it was a "fantastic" city in which to work and there had been some attractive rejuvenation of older buildings.

The riverbank precinct, under development, would be another great asset to the city, he said.

 - Stuff

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