Council will be on master plan taskforce
Quite how that will happen, he doesn’t know yet. Nor does he know precisely what will be developed.
He does know it will be done in association with the Auckland City Council, which he expects to nominate members to a Newmarket taskforce next week.
Mayor talked of taskforce in May
When the mayor of Auckland, John Banks, launched Westfield’s revised — and very downscaled — proposal for the former Mercury Energy site in Newmarket in May, he talked of a task force on Newmarket.
Mr Banks said today the parties to the Newmarket joint venture could now move the single development forward based on shared objectives, including ensuring the commercial integrity of local Newmarket & Remuera shopping environments were not simply protected but enhanced, and constructive solutions to traffic & transport issues were worked through.
“When you integrate this proposed development together with our motorway network completion & public transport programmes, an exciting future emerges for Newmarket,” Mr Banks said.
The council’s planners, meanwhile, have continued to deal with resource consent applications in the normal way and have been working on the early stages of a Newmarket “framework strategy.” Now the council will be a party to the plans for the south end of the former borough, which could make the planning process more complicated, although it’s probably similar to the council’s role in working for a better development at the old Lunn Avenue quarry in Mt Wellington.
Prospect of a truly integrated development
But Mr Widdup said having the council on the task force to develop a master plan “opens up the prospect of a truly integrated development.”
Mr Widdup said the management agreement, under which Westfield NZ will take over management of 277, would come into effect on 1 October but would be phased in.
Auckland One chief executive Michelle McKellar said 277 wouldn’t be rebranded immediately, though it would get a new look once the whole development is in place. “It will be the blue uniform, not the red uniform, so it won’t be marketed as a Westfield centre.”
Good elements of each side can be enhanced
Mr Widdup said it wasn’t as if the developers were starting from scratch — each project so far had good elements which could now be enhanced & integrated, with the infrastructure co-ordinated.
Westfield’s early plans for its patch got up to 65,000mÂ² of retail & entertainment space before being cut back to a more realistic 49,000mÂ², though that still raised questions about the retail capacity of Newmarket, especially in a confrontation with 277 and the existing Broadway strip.
Mr Widdup said commercial & possibly residential uses might now be incorporated in a comprehensive development. That fits in with the latest stage of the council’s framework strategy.
Given Westfield’s management role, plus its development & construction arm, will Ms McKellar & Auckland One have more than a passive investment role to play? Mr Widdup thinks so: “They will be taking a role of advising on the development side of things. Passive? I wouldn’t say that.”
Ms McKellar was even more emphatic: McKellar plans to be more than a passive investor’s agent