Hong Kong buyers have selected some of the best apartments in a residential complex planned for Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city. Bayleys Real Estate launched the development, Tower Hill, in the territory a month before releasing it on the New Zealand market. 'Hong Kong people like to have first crack of the whip,' Mark Abbott, Hong Kong manager for Bayleys Asia, said. After two exhibitions, 66 apartments in the 15-floor complex had been sold; the majority to Hong Kong Chinese and expatriates. A few units were pre-sold privately to established clients in New Zealand. Mr Abbott said Hong Kong buyers were looking to invest, while most expatriates were those contemplating a return to their homeland. A start date for construction of Tower Hill, scheduled for completion in 1997, would depend on sales. Mr Abbott said the developers wanted two-thirds of the apartments sold prior to construction. The NZ$45.5 million (about HK$236.88 million) project is being developed by New Zealand company Jupiter Apartments, backed by South Korean investors. The site is in the heart of the city on the corner of Emily Place and Fort Street, opposite Oriental Markets. It will offer views across the harbour, city and parks. Tower Hill will have 51 studios, 45 one-bedroom apartments, 52 two-bedroom apartments and five three-bedroom penthouses. Penthouse prices range from NZ$1 million (2,283 square feet) to $805,000 (1,984 sq ft). The cost of studios from 359 to 378 sq ft range from $96,000 to $175,000. A two-bedroom apartment on the 14th floor will cost $420,000 (887 sq ft) and a one-bedroom apartment on the same floor is being offered for $289,000 (653 sq ft). Mr Abbott said the fact that Tower Hill was located close to the central business district, Queen Street shopping area and Auckland University made it ideal for investors. 'Because you are so near Queen Street, you can look at renting to the corporate market and, because of the university, you have the student market.' He said owners could collect about $250 a week in rent for an unfurnished studio and between $700 and $800 for an unfurnished penthouse. With the America's Cup in 1999/2000, Mr Abbott said completion of Tower Hill was perfectly timed and buyers could benefit from the spinoffs of the Auckland event. 'Teams are going to start arriving at the end of '97 to start acclimatising and sea trials,' he said. 'The beauty of this is that the Auckland base camp is in the centre of Auckland, unlike Fremantle where, once the event was over, the infrastructure built for it wasn't of any use to anyone.'