Costly Brightside refurbishment goes ahead

An expensive refurbishment of the Council-owned building at 1 Brightside Road is taking place, despite uncertainties about the site’s future.

Ratepayers will spend around $100,000 bringing the Auckland Council owned former dairy and residential building at 1 Brightside Road, Stanmore Bay, up to building code and renovating it so that it can be leased to a commercial entity.

This work has begun regardless of the uncertain future of this site, which is held by Auckland Transport (AT) for transport network improvements.

The property, which is on the corner of Brightside and Whangaparaoa Roads, is managed by Auckland Council’s property arm, Panuku Development, on behalf of AT.

When the dairy and residence were vacated late last year, the building needed such major repairs that it was unable to be re-let until those were completed.

However, it was hoped that the work would be put on hold because at the same time, AT is investigating this stretch of road – its eventual plan could have an impact on the intersection, and the building’s future.

Also in the mix is the fact that the site was purchased by the former Rodney District Council for work associated with Penlink.  At the end of July, AT confirmed that the site “may be needed for safety improvements at the intersection in the future as part of Penlink, or some other works” – currently Penlink is scheduled to begin in 2024.

Recently AT put its proposed sale of 23 nearby properties (472 Whangaparaoa Road to 6 Brightside Road) on hold while it looks at traffic and access issues more closely. This was seen by local councillors as an opportunity to also consider improvements to the busy Brightside/Whangaparaoa intersection. Any work on the intersection is likely to impact the building at 1 Brightside Road.

This uncertainty around the site has led to fears that an extensive renovation could be money down the drain.

Cr Walker says that a big spend on the building now is not good use of ratepayers’ money. He says there are at least two more affordable offers on the table, including one from the Men’s Shed – which offered to do inexpensive repairs to retain and use the building in the medium term – and one from a local who proposed using part of the building for a co-working/hot desk centre. Both offers were rejected.

“If they invest a big sum in fixing it up, whether they will get a return in what could only be a few years, seems unlikely,” Cr Walker says.

Panuku’s property portfolio director, Ian Wheeler, says the building “deserves a spruce up” and while the timeframe for the long-term outcome of the property is yet to be determined, the investment in renovating the building is important to make good use of the property until the site is needed in the future.

The work entails a full renovation of the interior, including a new kitchen, carpets and floor coverings upstairs. The inside will be repainted, cleaned and minor defects repaired.

“In addition, upon close investigation we discovered structural damage associated to a section of floor bearers that had rotted out due to poor design and workmanship, which had to be rectified to meet the building code,” Mr Wheeler says. “We’re looking for a commercial tenant and since it’s a prominent and visible site, we’re conscious the exterior look will be of high concern and will need to look good. A large portion of the outside will be painted, the older weatherboards will be replaced. The decking area will be tidied and repaired, and the yard and garden will be tidied and fence repaired.”

Contractor Big Mal has begun work on the building and Mr Wheeler expects the project to take around five weeks.

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