Jockey club land for sale to pay down debt

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By KELLY DENNETT

A piece of Avon­dale his­tory is up for sale.

The Avon­dale Jockey Club is sell­ing a 9700sqm par­cel of land for­merly used for sta­bles and park­ing.

It is cur­rently cov­ered in bush.

The club is hop­ing to re­cover some of the debt it is in af­ter at­tempt­ing to launch night rac­ing in 1987.

Build­ing an ad­di­tional stand and putting up light­ing tow­ers cost the club $8 mil­lion but the ven­ture wasn’t as suc­cess­ful as hoped and still re­mains nearly $3 mil­lion in the red.

The club has sold off por­tions of land in the past and with a dire need for hous­ing in Auck­land, pres­i­dent Gra­ham Wake­field says it’s never been a bet­ter time to sell. Sub­di­vi­sion was ap­proved by Auck­land Coun­cil af­ter 18 months of de­lib­er­a­tions and ten­ders for the sale are open un­til May 15.

Un­der the op­er­a­tive Auck­land District Plan the land is zoned as ‘‘res­i­den­tial five’’ but the club is ap­ply­ing to have the land deemed a spe­cial hous­ing area.

This means the land would be­come a mixed hous­ing sub­ur­ban zone un­der the Uni­tary Plan and would al­low fur­ther in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion in a shorter pe­riod of time.

The club says the land could con­tain 28 ter­raced or semi-de­tached houses with an ex­tended en­trance from Sandy Lane.

With the in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion op­por­tu­nity and in­creas­ing Auck­land land and prop­erty prices, Wake­field is con­fi­dent the sale will clear the re­main­ing debt with some left over for re­fur­bish­ments.

Al­though cov­ered in brush now the land was orig­i­nally leased by peo­ple us­ing the sta­bles be­fore be­ing turned into a car park.

‘‘It’s hard to imag­ine now but at the races in the 60s the land was cov­ered in cars and buses,’’ Wake­field says.

‘‘We don’t get au­di­ences like that th­ese days be­cause things have evolved,’’ he says.

‘‘With track­side tele­vi­sion peo­ple stay home and use the in­ter­net if they want to put on a bet.’’

Some of the big­gest users of the land to­day are the Avon­dale Mar­ket and the coun­cil, which leases the grassed area for sports. The land sale won’t af­fect ei­ther, Wake­field says.

For sale: The Avon­dale Jockey Club is sell­ing the land that is cov­ered in bush, marked in red.

Photo: KELLY DENNETT

Prime es­tate: Avon­dale Jockey Club pres­i­dent Gra­ham Wake­field along the fence line where the club is sell­ing pieces of its land.

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