Saturday, May 18, 2024

Former library building finally sold

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The site of the former Howick Library has been sold. Times photo Chris Harrowell

The former Howick Library building has been sold to a property developer.

Auckland Council owned the large and derelict building in Fencible Drive which has sat empty since 2011.

As the Times has previously reported, it covers a 648 square metre site and was acquired by the former Howick Borough Council in 1975 for use as a public hall and library.

It was sold in 2001 and then on-sold in 2005 before being repurchased by the former Manukau City Council under mortgagee sale in 2008.

It’s among the large number of properties across the city the council voted in late 2020 to sell in an effort to raise money from “asset recycling”.

Council urban regeneration agency Eke Panuku Development Auckland handled the building’s sale.

An Eke Panuku spokesperson says the agency has concluded the sale and development agreement.

The successful development partner is Habib Enterprises Limited, led by East Tamaki-based property developer Ayesha Ashraf.

“Ms Ashraf has successfully developed standalone housing and commercial buildings across sites in east and south Auckland, and currently has terrace home developments in these areas under construction,” the spokesperson says.

“Fencible Drive will be her first development in Howick.

“This site was sold with specific outcomes as part of the development agreement to ensure it will offer opportunities for more people to live and work in the Howick town centre.”

The requirements include that any development at the site align with the Howick Village Centre Plan and provide a minimum of three storeys with active uses such as commercial or retail on the ground level.

It also has to be a minimum of Homestar 6 rating for residential dwellings and if on-site parking is required as part of the design it must not be visible from public areas with entry from Central Terrace only.

“Given the building is highly visible from all sides, the outcomes also require it to be designed ‘in the round’ and considered from all frontages, as well as ensuring it the design is in line with the special character identified within the Howick area,” the spokesperson says.

“Demolition preparations are under way with some preliminary works already happening on site so locals may notice some activity already happening.

“The new development which will be built to the footprint of the full site will offer basement parking, therefore the current building will be completely demolished, and all vegetation removed to allow for the necessary excavation.

“All works on site will be managed in line with the usual WorkSafe and council-approval processes.

“Some minor tree pruning may be required on the adjacent car park site for access during demolition.”

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