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The SugarTree project began when the Developer started design on the master plan and Stage One – the 10 level Prima, in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. During a time of market volatility, he saw an opportunity with more people moving to high-density living in Auckland and in cities around the country. These apartments needed to be more like traditional homes and offer a neighborhood environment. Greenstone Group were engaged for all 3 buildings of the SugarTree development. We knew the developer wanted to create a sophisticated urban community with retail on the ground level, apartments above and commercial spaces with a central courtyard walkway from Union Street to Nelson Street.


The unique nature of SugarTree’s commercial and residential elements meant a complex consenting process that included all 3 buildings on a master resource consent with additional detailed consents applied for each separate building. The success of the project and an important part of meeting construction deadlines and budgets was having the same team of key consultants and contractors, including architects Babbage Consultants, and construction company Kalmar Construction on board since planning started in 2011.

We understood that the SugarTree development was designed for the 3 buildings (Prima, Centro, and Altro) to work together and complement each other. It contains 695 units, with over 2,000 people calling SugarTree home. Conceivably, construction cost control and material availability are the two most critical challenges. Materials were carefully selected to ensure that a robust solution was achieved for end users with risks managed during the construction phase. Focus was put into the creation of urban walkable environments that link to two major streets with activities and focal points to engage with pedestrians and making a positive contribution to the surrounding environment.

Further effort was made to reserve ‘connection points’ with neighbouring properties. Our team implemented a change control system to closely monitor changes throughout the design and construction phases. We managed multiple stakeholders in order to ensure concurrence with the respective drivers and requirements of each stakeholder in relation to design and programming issues. We developed a procurement strategy to achieve client and funder requirements in relation to cost, programme and risk profile.


The location of the SugarTree has rejuvenated an area of central Auckland that hadn’t seen any development for years. There has been marked increase in the appeal to surrounding tenants/ residents. Commercial units provide convenience and the through-site-link has art by ‘Flox’ and access for the residents and pedestrians. All 3 stages of the project were completed on time and on budget with the developer receiving a considerable return on equity for this project. We have a great relationship with the client and look forward to new developments in the future.


  • Merit for Multi-Unit Residential Property Award at the Property Council New Zealand Awards 2020