93yo says supermarket has forced him to sell home of 70 years

Albert Andrews has been something of a local identity in Point Chevalier – the former sparky has owned a house there for more than 70 years.

It’s the last house standing in Parr Road North (number 12), on the side of the street that is part of the block being redeveloped for Foodstuff’s new New World supermarket. Andrews’ two sons, who are in their 70s, continue to live in the house where they grew up, while he now lives in Mt Albert.

Andrews, 93, doesn’t want to sell, and says just over a year ago he turned down a $NZ2.5m ($AU2,346,000) offer from Foodstuffs to buy him out, saying the offer wasn’t anywhere near high enough, although the 2021 RV is $NZ1.6 million ($AU1,502,000). The owner at number 10 took a similar offer and sold for $2.5m. The median value in Point Chevalier is $1,894,900.

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The 93 year-old turned down an offer from Foodstuffs to buy the 1930’s home a year ago. (TradeMe/Beckett Real Estate)

But Andrews says he refuses to “give the house away”, believing it is worth more to commercial interests than the RV suggests, in light of the redevelopment going on in the suburb.

“Ten years after we moved in all those years ago, people were wanting to buy it,” he says. “It is the only freehold land left in the middle of Point Chevalier shops. He says he is holding out for “top dollar”.

While he would prefer to keep the house, he says construction trucks, which have site access either side of the property, are arriving constantly, and the noise and dust have been so disruptive, the family feels they have no alternative but to go.

“Foodstuffs have destroyed this family,” he says. “On the chimney side of the house [the living areas], there are going to be delivery trucks arriving all the time to load and unload goods for the supermarket when it’s finished.”

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One of Andrews’ sons has kept a diary of the construction acidity. It frequently mentions noise, ground tremors, diesel fumes and dust. Andrews’ property can be seen at the rear of the development. (David White/Stuff)

Shirley Daniel of Beckett Real Estate, who has just listed the 581m² property for the reluctant vendor, says the family is “just shattered”.

“I have known Albert for years. He has dropped in for coffee and a chat many times over the years. They didn’t know what to do, and I have talked to a lawyer and council [about his options].”

One of the sons has kept a diary of activities. It frequently mentions noise, ground tremors, diesel fumes and dust. On February 9 he wrote: “Wash vehicle for WOF. Two days later vehicle totally covered in dust again. Generator runs all day, noise in house.”

Foodstuffs requested an onsite meeting with Andrews on Tuesday, February 26. The family says it was with the construction manager who advised there would be more noise and activity, above the normal, over the next few days.

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Shirley Daniel of Beckett Real Estate, who has just listed the property for the reluctant vendor, says the family is “just shattered”. (TradeMe/Beckett Real Estate)

The family says it would like to know what compensation there is for them living in the house, or alternative accommodation while this is happening. They feel it would be best if Foodstuffs just buys the property “so they can do what they want with it”.

A newsletter from Foodstuffs to neighbours in January this year mentioned specifically that “any noise or vibration-generating works will be monitored to ensure these remain within council limits”.

Andrews says he has already watched a crew demolish the brick-and-tile house next door. “They didn’t want to spend money to de-rig it, but it was in good nick. They smashed it up bit by bit, and by the end of the day it was a heap of rubble, and then they used the rubble to smash it up into matchstick-size pieces.”

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Although Andrews would prefer to keep the house, he says construction trucks, which have site access either side of the property, are arriving constantly. (David White/Stuff)

He says there are a lot of memories tied up with his house. “Some are good, some are bad. But that’s life. My father-in-law and one of my customers helped pour the 4 inch-thick concrete driveway which extends more than 100ft (30m).”

Daniel says Andrews’ plans include buying an equivalent property in Point Chevalier for his sons.

‘Vibrant mixed-zone community’

A Foodstuffs spokesperson says this part of Point Chevalier is a vibrant, mixed-zone community.

“Foodstuffs is really pleased to be building a brand new, New World that this community has been asking to have for some years.

“When we’re planning to build a store, we work closely with the local community and neighbours to ensure we’re doing everything we can to minimise the potential impact. Sometimes this can involve offering to purchase nearby properties.

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The family says it would like to know what compensation there is for them living in the house while construction is ongoing. (David White/Stuff)

“Now that construction of the store has started, there’s a plan in place to minimise impact on the neighbours, and we check in with them on a regular basis so that any concerns can be dealt with promptly before they become issues.”

Other buildings demolished for the supermarket include the former RSA premises. A neighbouring property at 8 Parr Rd North, formerly home to Magnum Motors, was sold at the height of the market surge in 2021, but has remained derelict.

The Andrews property, at 12 Parr Rd North, Point Chevalier is for sale by negotiation.

This story was first published by Stuff NZ