Relaxing outside the cafe at Hobbs Wharf, looking at the big blue sky, the yachts at anchor and sparkle of sun on the water, you appreciate the wonder of Gulf Harbour.
Michael Webb-Speight is the development consultant to Top Harbour Limited, developer of the stretch of land between the marina and Gulf Harbour Country Club. Michael says it’s the ex-pats who sum it up best. ‘‘They look at all this and ask the obvious question, ‘Why would you want to live anywhere else in Auckland?’’’
Michael’s grand project is Fairway Bay, first stage of a high quality 31 hectare housing development designed to face both the marina and the golf course. This is magnificent land for building, nicely elevated, well drained and mostly north-facing with stunning views. It encompasses the ridge, headland, waterfront and harbour positions.
The promotion of Fairway Bay has been carefully planned, with the establishment of a popular Sunday market, a seven-day cafe, jetty and pontoons, along with numerous community events preceding the first release of land. Shades of Field of Dreams and ‘if you build it they will come’ perhaps, but it’s working – the Sunday market is averaging 900 visitors per week, and 3500 turned up for a recent Halloween event!
‘‘It’s all about building a community,’’ Michael says. ‘‘Fairway Bay owners will have a stake in communal facilities such as a club pavilion, 18-metre swimming pool, and tennis court. They’ll have a say in the management of common areas and the general integrity of the development.’’
Top Harbourhave also done their homework in terms of infrastructure. High on the list has been the petitioning of city authorities and ferry operators about increasing the ferry sailings to the Auckland CBD, with the aim of making it as commutable as Beachlands’ Pine Harbour.
Four building companies were invited to build showhomes at Fairway Bay. All four companies – GJ Gardner, Jennian, Landmark and Sentinel Homes – have taken up the option, as well as the purchase of four lots each. The Mayor poured the first slab for the GJ Gardner showhome, and even at this early stage 18 of the first 36 lots have been sold.
Each stage has been planned with a certain style of housing in mind, in respect to the land contours, space and the demands of the market. Property sizes range from townhouse lots to 3500 square metres for the headland sections with harbour and gulf views.
Michael says interest is widespread: from North Shore families eyeing the less-pressured lifestyle and the decile 10 schools; ex-pats returning to what they see as simply a beautiful place; and couples wanting to put up the ‘gone fishing’ sign.
‘‘We’re building now,’’ Michael says. Behind that statement is the suggestion that perhaps what is being built here is a great new community.