The Waitemata Local Board will consider some sensitive issues on Tuesday, and some aimed at introducing business innovation to Eden Terrace and traffic around Ponsonby & Grey Lynn.
Uptown innovation project
The board has a proposal before it to advance development of the uptown innovation project aimed at cultivating an innovation community in Eden Terrace. The project is being led by the Uptown Business Association, in partnership with the Waitemata Local Board and Ateed (Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development).
The board has been asked to contribute $6000 from its local economic development budget for a scoping study & implementation plan. Ateed will pay the other half.
Scoping will be in terms of tenant mix, area branding, long-term value creation, activation options & costs.
The scoping report back to the local board, in June, will be in time to allow the project’s inclusion in the board’s 2016-17 local economic development programme.
The Eden Terrace initiative is focused on a small commercial area in the Uptown business improvement district bounded by Nikau, Ruru & Shaddock Sts (between New North Rd & the Mt Eden railway station). However, the authors of the report to the board – principal innovation & entrepreneurship advisor Anthony Gibbons and local economic development strategic planner John Norman – said outcomes were expected to impact more widely.
“All the buildings within the specified area are owned by Auckland Transport and are currently designated for demolition by the end of 2017 as part of the city rail link project. The project’s short-term focus is to tenant the buildings with innovation-related entities aimed at establishing an innovation community, or hub, and laying the foundations for longer-term economic benefit for Uptown & wider Auckland.”
The authors said factors contributing to the area’s appeal to prospective tenants included:
- proximity to tech/innovation-oriented businesses
- positive vibe/feel of the area
- central location, good accessibility
- good local amenities – parking, local cafes, and
- lower rent – allowing focus & investment in innovation programmes & activities.
“Properties within the area comprise a mixture of warehouse & office space. As existing tenants vacate the properties ahead of the rail link construction start date, Ateed & Auckland Transport have worked together to identify replacement tenants aligned to the innovation focus. To date, 3 new high-value tenants have been placed as a result of the collaboration:
- The Icehouse, curators of the Auckland Lightning Lab startup acceleration programme
- Industry Connect, preparing ICT graduates with work-ready skills, and
- Enspiral, providing networks, support & training for tech startups.
“2 co-working facilities, Shared Space & The Collective, have also established a presence in the area. The total group represents a fledgling community of innovators upon which to construct an active support programme.”
According to the board report, 2 properties are vacant, 3 more are due to come free by 1 May and others will be vacated throughout the wind-down period to work starting on the rail link. At least 2 other properties within the business improvement district, but outside the project area of focus owned by Auckland Transport, were also available.
The report authors said the initiative had the potential to deliver both short- & long-term value, and could offer opportunities for Maori participation. In the near term:
- maintaining commercial tenancy & existing economic activity in the area
- developing a unique & newly vibrant micro-economy
- establishing a new community of innovation-focused entities, with potential spillover benefits for surrounding businesses & the wider city fringe
- proving the concept & refining the model.
In the longer term:
- establishing a potentially enduring innovation brand for Uptown
- catalysing the attraction of new, innovation-rich enterprises to the area
- laying the foundations for potentially longer-term economic rejuvenation.
The authors said the project had received strong support at the local board’s 22 March workshop.
One of the sensitive issues concerns a proposal to rename the lower portion of Khartoum Place – the small, now far more popular square fronting Lorne St.
Khartoum Place & its suffragette memorial have been subject to many proposals in recent years, including complete redesign eliminating the suffragette memorial. The proposal before the board on Tuesday is to approve the methodology for obtaining options for potential renaming, so some way short of producing a definite name or even changing the name at all.
The aim of the renaming project is to achieve the potential renaming by Suffrage Day on 19 September.
Among the criticisms of Khartoum Place were that it was cold, gloomy & uninviting, which it was before the last makeover. One change was to introduce street furniture, so people have somewhere to sit at lunchtime, and the other was the redevelopment of one of the square’s neighbours, the former New Art Gallery on the corner of Lorne & Wellesley St East, into the X Gallery. This remodelling by Metropolis developer Andrew Krukziener took 3 years, was completed last year and the reinvigorated building was sold to a Chinese investor for about $25.4 million.
The building was stripped out, small stores & a café opened on the ground floor and the upper 2 levels modernised. The redevelopment project is among nominees in the heritage & adaptive reuse section of the Property Council’s national awards, and also in the awards’ commercial office section. The award winners will be announced on Friday 17 June.
The board considered 6 projects to use its remaining $241,651 of capital funds for transport projects this financial year, and an Auckland Transport assessment has recommended considering 2 of them. It can also add this money to its $470,000 capital allocation for the next financial year.
The 2 recommended for consideration:
- Parnell Station connection to Nicholls Lane, the local board & Auckland Transport would commit about $350,000 each to join the new station to Nicholls Lane, and
- Path under Victoria Park Viaduct (enhancements).
The others, not recommended now for various reasons, were:
- Sale St streetscape enhancement
- Parnell Baths road, safety improvements
- Augustus Terrace steps
- Scotland St amenities.
Streetscape & paid parking zone
The board & Auckland Transport have just finished consultation on Pt Chevalier-city cycle improvements, and on progressive changes along Ponsonby Rd & Williamson Avenue, and feedback on making the area around Ponsonby Rd a paid parking zone closes on Friday 22 April.
Proposed street works include raising tables at 8 side streets and installing a central island on Mackelvie St. The net parking gain, depending on the option, would range from 8-14. Auckland Transport adopted option 2, with some proposed minor changes to the plantings in Mackelvie St.
Auckland Transport envisages rationalising parking restrictions in the area down from 35 to 1, and reducing congestion from vehicles circling in the vein hope of finding a park. The proposal includes a review of loading zones & taxi stands.
Waitemata Local Board, Tuesday 12 April at 6pm, Parnell, Jubilee Hall, 545 Parnell Rd:
13 Auckland Transport report
Mackelvie St plan
Ponsonby paid parking zone – newsletter
15, Bonus floor provisions & through-site link report
16, Uptown innovation project: Scoping study & implementation plan
Uptown innovation project map
17, Approval for renaming of Lower Khartoum Place
Attribution: Board agenda.