Howick and Pakuranga Times
Botany and Ormiston Times : Howick and Botany Times, Wed, Nov 7
Many a Howickian or Pa- kuranga-ite lives, works, or plays on a Neil develop- ment because, for almost 50 years, The Neil Group has been devel- oping sections, homes, shops and parks in the east Auckland area. Company chief executive, Grant Brebner, says Neil's first involve- ment in the area was in response to the growing demand from baby boomers for new homes in which to raise their families. "The group was prominent in affordable housing in the early days and we had developments all around Auckland," he says. "We started in West Auckland in the '50s but rapidly spread to South Auckland, North Shore and East Auckland in the '60s. "The demand for the Howick, Pakuranga area was strong and offered plenty of amenities and community facilities for people to use while raising their families." A long-time local, Grant started with the company in 1973 and has lived in the Howick area since the mid 1950s. He says he has always been biased towards local development because of the lifestyle the area offers, with its village atmosphere, beaches, access to the harbour, parks and rec- reational facilities. "New developments are almost always met with some opposition, so one of our biggest but most satisfying challenges has been working with people and local councils to produce a good result," says Grant. The Neil Group has been involved in many local developments starting in the Cascades Road area in the '60s, followed by the Ben Lomond industrial area and Highland Park in the 1970s, the Pigeon Mountain, Botany Road and Meadowlands areas in the '80s, the Burswood, Eastern Beach and Golflands areas in the 1990s and, more recently, in the Flat Bush area. "We did a lot of residential build- ing in the early years, but after Neil Housing was sold to Fletchers in the late '80s we became more focused on commercial building and resi- dential subdivision. "The commercial building has included retail developments in Aviemore Drive, Ti Rakau Drive, Botany Road and the Sommerville Shopping Centre. "We impose building covenants on all our residential subdivisions covering such issues as minimum size, height restrictions, so views aren't compromised, and ensur- ing appropriate building materials are used. We don't want to be too restrictive, but think, wherever we develop property, it always pays to be a good neighbour and ensure a good standard of development." Although Grant says Neil's only current local developments are in the Flat Bush area he is opti- mistic about the company having future involvement in the Howick, Pakuranga area. Most recently the company has been working on the construction of a retirement village, Lauriston Park, in Cambridge. As the project draws near to com- pletion, Grant says it may serve as a model for developments elsewhere, but acquiring enough land for a retirement village in the eastern suburbs would be challenging. "When the baby boomers were looking to settle down and buy their first homes, we were here, provid- ing affordable housing and sections to meet their needs. "Now that many from this gen- eration have retired or are approach- ing the end of their working years, retirement homes are in demand and we are keen to be involved." www.times.co.nz Howick and Pakuranga Times --- Celebrating 40 Years, 2012 --- 19 THE NEIL GROUP Aviemore Drive, Highland Park artist impression, circa 1974 Some of the subdivisions Neil Construction have been involved in: 118352-v2 Living next door to Neil Development of the new Highland Park subdivision was a major undertaking for Neil Construction. Photos supplied February 27, 1974 Highland Park housing dream comes true Nearly two years ago, Neil Construction, a subsidiary of Neil Holdings, bought 149 acres on Pakuranga Highway just out of Howick with the intention of creating a prestige subdivision. The faith the company had in the How- ick and Pakuranga areas was borne out when the company found out its bid for the land from Manukau City Council was $100,000 higher than the next tenderer. Last weekend 110 sections out of a total 600 sections of The Highland Park sub- division were released and one third were sold over that weekend. The prices ranged between $11,500 and $20,500. Two $20,500 sections went to prestige builders. Highland Park is the name of the original farm. When Neils decided to bid for it, it was the last available piece of serviced, resi- dentially zoned land in the area. The sections released during the week- end are part of the first stage of the subdivi- sion. The project involves four stages and will take four years to complete. Another subsidiary of Neil Holdings, Executive Subdivisions, has been responsi- ble for the sale of sections and has distrib- uted the authority to all other real estate agents involved to be able to sell sections on the subdivision. Managing director of Neil Holdings, Mr R N White, said the company was keen to upgrade its image and become recognised as builders across the board rather than being responsible for low cost develop- ments only. So, he said, it was decided to move into other fields including high class developments such as Highland Park. Efforts to create this image have not been spared in the Highland Park project. A stand of impressive trees along the back of the subdivision took a great deal of time and effort to ensure they were preserved in the best possible way. Neil's consider the inclusion of trees of prime importance to any subdivision and to this end have their own nurseries, the brainchild of Neil's chief engineer, Mr J C M Reelick. It was never possible to buy large enough trees from nurseries so Neil's nurseries now shelter a variety of 30 to 35 different trees, especially designed to with- stand the massive exposure they are submit- ted to on newly developed subdivisions. Already some 200 trees have been planted on the Highland Park subdivision and it is envisaged that eventually between 1200 and 1500 trees will grace the area. A great deal of effort had been put into the landscaping of the subdivision with wider roads and wider sections, Mr Reel- ick said. Neil's had lost 40 sections in their efforts to stand by their desire to make it a more prestigious subdivision. Just along the road and overlooking Highland Park is Manukau City Council's regional park, Lloyd Elsmore Park -- acres of passive and active recreation area. As well as that there is provision in the new subdivision for neighbourhood reserves. Also provided for is a buffer zone between the residential sections and the 10 acre commercial area to be developed by Highland Park Shopping Centre Ltd. "I don't see this commercial area (which will contain a supermarket and allied serv- ices) as detracting from other local shop- ping areas," Mr White said. A large element of professional people had bought Highland Park sections, mar- keting manager of Neils, Mr R Pearce said. A large percentage of the sections had also been bought by prestige builders. "The demand for the Howick, Pakuranga area was strong and offered plenty of amenities and community facilities for people to use while raising their families." From the archives...
Howick and Botany Times, Wed, Oct 31
Howick and Botany Times, Wed, November 14