Roofs are going on New Zealand's biggest, most
expensive new residential development, which could be
finished next summer.
Four houses for Russian billionaire Alexander Abramov are
rising at Northland's pristine Helena Bay.
Chris Seel, of project manager Northland Coastal
Developments, said progress was excellent.
About 100 people have been working at the rural property,
home to the lavish residences estimated to be worth $40
million-plus when finished.
Mr Seel said he was happy with all aspects of the job.
"We've had a good season. It wasn't wet enough to stop work
on many occasions," he said.
Neutral-toned, asphalt shingle tiles are being laid on the
roof of the main U-shaped house and the three huge residences
nearer the beachfront. Windows are about to be fitted.
Concrete tilt-slab construction and in situ poured concrete
walls were rejected in favour of masonry block walls. Further
landscaping has been completed, after 150,000 native trees
were planted some months ago.
Mr Abramov is understood to have visited during the year.
The property is south of the Bay of Islands, about 40 minutes
from Whangarei, north of Whananaki, down a private winding
driveway off the back road to Russell.
Roofing contractors, electricians, electronic data-cable
specialists, carpenters, block layers, steel fixers, concrete
layers and masonry specialists have been busy at the site for
well over a year.
Mr Seel said his Northland Coastal Developments had 80
fulltime employees at the secure site and additional labour
was being hired locally because it was the firm's policy.
Internal finishing, including plastering and painting, won't
start until the structures are closed in with the roofs
finished and windows installed.
No tiling, asphalting or paving has started around the
houses, but a 233m-long coastal walkway to a pontoon with a
jetty of about 13m at the southern end of the beach has been
in place for some months.
That will enable Mr Abramov and guests to tie up a boat and
mount deep-sea fishing expeditions.
The Department of Conservation originally opposed the
resource consent application to build a concrete path across
coastal rocks and a pontoon, saying it was unnecessary.
But Mr Abramov won, with a number of conditions.
Replica rocks were used building those elements, to make this
aspect as discreet as possible.
Earlier this year, Mr Seel said the pontoon access way was
designed and built by sculptors to mimic perfectly the
natural rock formations and to sustain sea life to the same
extent as natural rock - which is already evident.
As the wealthiest person on the NBR Rich List, Mr Abramov
paid $15.9 million for the 214ha farm. The Abramov Family
Trust committed to spend $250,000 to improve the quality of
pasture, fencing, stockyards, troughs and service tracks.
Mr Abramov's application to the Overseas Investment Office
said he would build a high-quality residence/lodge and
ancillary buildings, which would be used by him and might
also be made available on a commercial basis to wealthy
domestic and international clientele".
"The Abramov Family Trust will improve the farming business
by the conversion of the farming operation from stock
fattening to stock breeding," the application said.
$15.9m spent on 214ha farm by Abramov
$250,000 spent on improving the farm
$40m approximate value of finished mansion
100 people working on building
150,000 native trees planted in surrounding area
3 years spent on project so far.