Transformation credit to teamwork
The location may be familiar, and the layout of the buildings the same, but Botany Palms could be described as a ‘vibrant butterfly’ which has shed its former Sacramento identity and been revamped and revitalised into a solid complex offering a superb lifestyle.
The modern buildings with clean lines and smart exteriors are a far cry from their previous life, which was plagued by its reputation as one of the largest ‘leaky building’ establishments in the country.
Botany Palms committee member Ralph Caulton, who is also an owner and resident, says the rebirth of the complex is the result of a concerted effort by a dedicated committee together with a well executed plan – a victory for the ‘little guys’.
“It’s really cause for celebration – the fact that we have virtually done it all on our own, with no help from the Government or council.”
Issues started to emerge not long after the original building work was completed and Ralph says turning to the Government, and what was the Manukau City Council, proved fruitless.
“About three years after Sacramento was built we realised we had a problem. Then it became a matter of recognising what was wrong and going through a legal process of mediation to get the people responsible to own up to it.
“With the council and Government stepping back from the problem, we claimed against the private companies which were responsible for the buildings.”
After mediation between the committee and various contractors, a settlement was reached early in 2009, but this left a significant shortfall. More was needed to ensure the 153 apartments met stringent new council requirements.
Apartment owners agreed to meet the shortfall and pay around $45,000 each to get their properties back up to scratch. “Quite a few owners wanted to fix their apartments themselves,” Ralph says. “We had to convince them how much more beneficial it would be to fix the whole complex.”
Fellow committee member and apartment owner Geoff Fletcher also stresses how important it was to get all the owners onboard.
“Some apartments were worse than others, but we had to restore the whole complex to be sure that all issues were solved and that we could then confidently say there would be no further problems.”
Contracting CoveKinloch for the redesign, the committee outlined nine areas which had to be improved, including four major projects:
• Replacing the monolithic cladding with sturdy weatherboard
• Replacing the roofs which previously had no eaves
• Altering the slope of the roof
• Replacing flashings on all windows
“We stipulated quite clearly what we wanted. The buildings weren’t demolished but the outside walls were all removed. CoveKinloch had a skeleton to work with and had to fit the existing space,” says Ralph.
Once the redesign was complete, the construction was put up for tender and commercial construction company Canam Group – the 2011 Supreme Winner of the Westpac Auckland West Business Awards – commenced work in January 2010.
“It had to be done in stages. Residents vacated their apartments for up to six months to enable work to be completed. Canam Group worked well to their timeline and budget – we were extremely satisfied with the way they went about it,” Geoff says.
With building work complete, Botany Palms meets Resource Consent and strict building compliances and Ralph says the value of the apartments, which are all fully tenanted or owner occupied, has increased dramatically.
“The council has put in very stringent building conditions and is now extremely wary of signing off these buildings.
“This complex has been ticked off as complying with all those regulations and the extensive building work has brought the establishment back up to market value.
“We’ve had some great comments from tenants and owners, who are thrilled with their new homes. Sacramento is history, Botany Palms is the future.”
With its spaced-out one, two and three-bedroom apartments, Botany Palms is more like a village than an apartment complex.
Nestled amongst beautiful palms and plenty of other trees, shrubs and green spaces, the two-storey buildings are private and peaceful despite their close proximity to Chapel Road.
The completely renovated gym has a brand new interior and boasts a top-of-the-line air conditioning system to keep residents cool while they work out.
Heated to 22 degrees, the large swimming pool is inviting whatever the climate and the barbecue area is the perfect place to gather with family and to entertain friends.
The wind-sheltered tennis court makes it easy to get in a bit of exercise whether social or competitively.
Located next door to Botany Town Centre with all its service amenities including two supermarkets, banks, doctors, dentists, a library, movie theatres, numerous cafes and restaurants and all the shopping one could hope for, Botany Palms is in the perfect spot for day-to-day living.
This attractive revitalised complex is handy to Barry Curtis Park providing 94 hectares for leisure activities including skateboarding, children’s playground, sports fields, walking track and much more.
Primary and secondary schools are within walking distance and there is a bus stop virtually at the door with direct routes to Howick, Manukau and Auckland City.
Botany Palms is also an easy drive to local beaches, riverside walks and sports clubs with the countryside or motorway just minutes away.