Archive | Bayswater

Herbert freeholds Bayswater reclamation, says development becomes more viable

Bayswater Marina owner Simon Herbert has bought the freehold of the North Shore marina’s 3.4ha of reclaimed land from the Crown and will take development proposals to a first consultation meeting with locals next Wednesday.

His company has paid $3.725 million to freehold the land it has occupied on a 105-year lease.

Mr Herbert said the ability to sell freehold homes & apartments was the game-changer, thanks in part to changes introduced in the Auckland Council unitary plan, which mentioned ferry terminals among nodes where intensification should be concentrated. Under the 2009 plan change, development would have been maximised at 3500m², making its viability questionable.

Previous owner Martin Jones died in 2001 while fighting to get both freeholding & approval for a large development of 200 apartments & 7000m² of restaurants, retail space & a ferry terminal.  Mr Herbert had a design competition in 2006 which produced designs for between 250-500 apartments, but lost out in the Environment Court in 2009.

Since then he has been working on more modest designs and hopes to be able to build up to 100 terrace homes & 20-30 apartments, with cafes at each end of the development and some other retail space. Auckland Transport has consent enabling the ferry terminal to be moved to the part of the area which remains in public hands, but does not have immediate plans for the shift.

“There is an opportunity to provide some relatively affordable housing with the limited apartments that will form part of the redevelopment. We hope to see these waterfront homes starting at an incredible $500,000 for a one-bedroom apartment with great views. The larger apartments & spacious 3-4-bedroom terraced houses will be more expensive, reflecting the higher prices of neighbouring North Shore suburbs.”

Mr Herbert said this week he would like to get approval for the residential component to be a special housing area under the housing accord between the Government & Auckland Council, which would mean earlier development. Otherwise, he said, he would have to wait for the unitary plan to be made operative before applying for consent, which could take another 3-5 years.

“The move will allow the marina company to rejuvenate the stunning harbourside location, by turning car parks & concrete into a new community of cafes & apartments. The revamped site will be something all Aucklanders can access & enjoy. Vast open spaces will remain untouched and public access will be improved, not hindered.

“The new Bayswater marine village buildings will occupy less than 20% of the entire site (building cover of about 5000m²). Auckland Council guidelines will ensure that more than 80% of the land remains open space, as it is now. We think that’s a great balance. The 12m maximum building height is fine because we only wanted to build 3 levels.

“The stylish new housing & leisure amenities will focus on family & community. We’ve engaged Construkt Architects and are developing up the public spaces and doing a framework plan. Our plan is to build 2 cafes, a new neighbourhood of around 125 homes and a variety of children’s playgrounds & recreational facilities. There will be parks, beaches & steps to the water’s edge.

“Board sailors, kite surfers, paddle boarders & kayakers will have direct access to the waves. Walkers, runners & cyclists will be able to use a 15m-wide esplanade for a closeup water’s edge experience.”

Bayswater Marina will hold an information evening on Wednesday 12 February at 7.30pm at the Bruce Mason Centre.

Mr Herbert has been working on the freeholding for 5 years, and through 2 law changes affecting it. Section 355 of the Resource Management Act and the Foreshore & Seabed Act had provisions which allowed freehold vesting in certain circumstances, but repealed by the Marine & Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act.

“That has some very objective tests the minister has to apply relating to a few parcels of reclaimed land, of which this is one. We made our application, have been dealing with LINZ (Land Information NZ) for 3 years and finally settled it on 12 December.

“It does a couple of things for us – it makes any development a lot more economically viable, and there’s significant resistance to leasehold in the market. And one of the arguments from the people who would rather not see a development here was that, because the freehold was held by the Crown, it somehow had full public access and it shouldn’t have buildings on it.

“We know legally that’s not right, but we think now it’s freeholded it’s difficult for them to mount that argument.”

Each camp has a FaceBook page – Bayswater Marina Ltd set up its Bayswater Marina Village page 10 days ago and Save Bayswater Marina, led by former Alliance MP & current Kaipatiki Local Board member Grant Gillon, has had a page since last year.

Aside from the local issues, Mr Herbert said the 415-berth Bayswater marina was demonstrating synergies with the Westpark marina (now named the Hobsonville marina) at the top of the harbour, which he bought from Paul Webb & Andrew Tauber for $18.5 million (including associated businesses) last year.

Westpark has 592 berths, travel haulage facilities & a maintenance hardstand for 55 boats, a retail village & high-stud industrial buildings on a 4.5ha site, plus a downtown ferry link. “The great thing is it has the haulout yard & full marine services, and it’s only 11km up the harbour. Instead of having to replicate it, we’ve been able to offer a discount to Bayswater users.”

Hobsonville Marina is also leasehold, the freehold owned by Auckland Council and managed by Auckland Council Properties Ltd: “We’re trying to freehold it – we’ve had discussions with ACPL – but these things take time, so I don’t think that will happen any time soon, if at all.”

Earlier story:
11 March 2009: Court rejects intensive residential development for Bayswater marina land

Attribution: Company release, interview.

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Commissioners confirm public can’t use boutique hotel’s restaurant & bar

Published 8 October 2012

An Auckland Council hearings panel has refused consent for the hotel above the Bayswater marina to allow public use of its restaurant.

The application was contested by neighbours who said conditions of the non-notified consent granted in 2010 for a boutique hotel with restaurant & bar for guests and 20 on-site parking spaces had been abused. [Photo shows the hotel, with the Spencer on Byron & Takapuna Towers in the background.]

The application by Udai Sarin (VR Group 2011 Ltd & other hotel & apartment companies) was to vary consent conditions to open an 80-seat restaurant in the Auckland Takapuna Oaks Hotel at 1 Beresford St, Bayswater, from 7am-10pm 7 days/week. The hotel has accommodation for up to 90 guests.

The site was developed for a private hospital in the early 1980s, but the hospital had ceased operating by 2003. Consent was granted in 2004 for a resthome for up to 50 residents, followed by the hotel consent in 2010.

Hearing commissioners Greg Hill (chairman & Jenny Hudson said the principal issue in contention was whether the activity was appropriate in a residential environment, given the impact on residential amenity from the extra traffic, parking in surrounding streets and noise from the restaurant & people going back to their cars.

The commissioners concluded that a valet parking service would be ineffective. On the overall application, they said: “While we acknowledge that the hotel is lawfully established, we find that the public use of the restaurant, even at the scale proposed, would result in a change to the character & intensity of the activity in a way which would further erode the residential amenity of the area and that envisaged by the district plan provisions….

“We also find there would be some positive effects from the public use of the restaurant. However these are not sufficient, when weighed against the policy imperative and the effects of the proposal, to warrant the granting of consent.”

The VR Group manages 8 Auckland hotels containing more than 1000 rooms, mostly of the serviced apartment variety.

Earlier story:

6 August 2012: Bayswater hotel – harbour’s business edge or backwater anomaly?

 

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Attribution: Hearing decision, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Bayswater hotel – harbour’s business edge or backwater anomaly?

Published 6 August 2012

A consent hearing to be finalised this week will help define whether the cliff above the marina at Bayswater is part of the business edge of the Waitemata Harbour or an anomaly at the back of a quiet suburb. [Photo shows the hotel, with the Spencer on Byron & Takapuna Towers in the background.]

The application by Udai Sarin (VR Group 2011 Ltd & other hotel & apartment companies) is to vary consent conditions to open an 80-seat restaurant in the Auckland Takapuna Oaks Hotel from 7am-10pm 7 days/week. The hotel has accommodation for up to 90 guests.

The marina, a couple of hundred metres away, has been the subject of development applications for more than a decade but has remained an isolated parking lot and wharf to convey commuters across to the Auckland cbd.

The hotel opened in 2010 on the site of a former hospital & resthome at 1 Beresford St, but consent conditions restricted access to the restaurant & bar to hotel guests. The new application would lift that restriction for the restaurant.

However, senior council planner Alex Wakefield recommended in his report to last week’s hearing that the application be refused on grounds that it would result in a significant increase in street noise and would diminish amenity values and disrupt the enjoyment of residential amenity by residents in a very quiet residential environment.

Planning consultant Nick Mattison, for the applicant, argued last week that most people using the restaurant would be from the local community and would walk to it. He agreed with commissioner Jenny Hudson that the facility had evolved, but said the neighbourhood had also evolved with the construction of infill housing.

Arthur Harris & Mark Worsfold, owners of the 2 houses next to the hotel, opposed the expanded operation. Mr Worsfold said he moved to Beresford St in 2006 specifically because it was a quiet street & neighbourhood. He alleged the hotel had failed to uphold a single condition of its original consent.

Mr Harris, national valuation director for Jones Lang LaSalle, said the hotel required 60 parking spaces but offered only 20. He went on to describe how submitters had been ambushed by new evidence from the applicant, produced at the last minute to make up for a completely deficient case.

“You have to take account of potential future demand and I don’t see that being addressed at all by the applicant. The Auckland Council is subsidising people parking on marina land. If they take away that subsidy, all the parks will be used all the way up Sir Peter Blake Parade. My understanding of the marina is they plan to have a cafe. There’s no need to have a cafe in the hotel, it makes far more sense to me (at the marina). It’s a residential 2B zone, not a commercial zone.”

Mr Harris said local residents were specifically excluded from the process when the original consent was granted: “It should never have been granted. 100 people attended a public meeting about the change of use to a hotel, and that was completely ignored.”

The applicant has to provide an updated set of proposed conditions this week before the hearing is formally closed and the commissioners reserve their decision. The application was heard by panel chairman Greg Hill & Ms Hudson.

The VR Group manages 8 Auckland hotels containing more than 1000 rooms, mostly of the serviced apartment variety.

Want to comment? Go to the forum.

 

Attribution: Hearing agenda & submissions, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Court rejects intensive residential development for Bayswater marina land

Published 11 March 2009

The Environment Court has rejected Bayswater Marina Holdings Ltd (Simon Herbert)’s attempt to include residential in the reclamation area’s zoning so it could build 250 apartments.

 

Judge Jeff Smith said in the court’s 5 March decision all parties agreed a special-purpose zone was appropriate for the 3.5ha reclamation area: “The issue for this court is what provisions should apply within special purpose zone 7 and, more particularly, whether certain activities, particularly residential, better meet the purposes & objectives of the plan & the purpose of the Resource Management Act.”

 

After an appeal by the marina company against North Shore City Council’s decision on variation 65 to its district plan, the court upheld the council decision and added an amendment to the objective under that variation: “A community & marina-orientated place with a focus on recreation, open space & access, public transport, boating & maritime activities.”

 

The Auckland Regional Council applauded the court’s decision. Regional strategy & planning committee chairman Paul Walbran said: “The ARC has consistently opposed the type of high-density residential development envisaged by Bayswater Marina Holdings on this reclamation, on the grounds that it had the potential to ‘crowd out’ other important uses of the reclamation, particularly marine-related commercial activities & public access to & recreational use of the coastal environment.”

 

Under variation 65, the council imposed a building height limit of 10m above mean sea level (about 6 m above ground level), but during the court process the council supported building up to 14m above mean sea level at some places, with the ability to seek discretionary consent to exceed 14m in the southern section of the site.

 

Bayswater Marina Holdings wanted a general height control of 18m, with the option of going 3m higher in some places.

 

Judge Smith said variation 65 envisaged only 2500-3500m² of development, while the company envisaged developing 50,000m² of apartments with another 25,000m² of covered parking.

 

Earlier stories:

11 June 2006: Intransigent opposition stops Bayswater marina workshops

27 March 2006: Herbert agrees Bayswater access strip, talks new design round marina

9 April 2003: Council environmental specialist responds to Bayswater judgment article

7 April 2003: Judge uses bizarre reasoning to keep Queen’s chain at Bayswater

15 April 2000: Boutique hotel, more apartments in redesign

10 April 2000: New design for marine village scheme

 

Want to comment? Email [email protected].

Attribution: Judgment, ARC release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Herbert agrees Bayswater access strip, talks new design round marina

Published 27 March 2006


New Bayswater Marina owner Simon Herbert has started talking to interested parties in preparation for several months of design workshops leading to a new development plan for the marina.



But he said today he wouldn’t be the developer: “I’m not a developer, I’m an investor,” he said. “My general plan is probably to sell off parts of the reclamation to local developers to undertake development over a period of time. I want to hold the ground lease long-term and give other people the opportunity to come in.”


Importantly, Mr Herbert is happy with a 15m strip around the marina land, giving the public access around the marina’s whole waterfront. That was an issue that ended up at the heart of litigation which delayed any development for at least 6 years, but was resolved with a joint statement from Mr Herbert, Conservation Minister Chris Carter & North Shore mayor George Wood at the weekend.


Mr Herbert put the past difficulties behind him, saying: “I think there was a whole lot of unnecessary angst.”


Mr Carter decided 15m was enough to safeguard public access and Mr Wood said the strip was “a wonderful asset for locals & visitors alike who cherish access to the coastline. This is an important coastal area with high recreational value and the public interest is now properly protected,” he said.


Jones had $250 million plan


In earlier litigation, former marina owner Martin Jones wanted a strip of variable width – between 3.6-9.7m – while the council proposed a uniform 15m strip. That issue went to a hearing in 2001, followed by a High Court judicial review in 2002 (2 years after Mr Jones’ death).


Mr Jones wanted a marine village and drew up a $250 million development plan. Some of his public spaces were inside the site rather than a wide rim around the circumference. His comprehensive marine village incorporated a boutique hotel, up to 200 apartments, 7000m² of restaurants & shops and a ferry terminal. The public would get a boardwalk round the edge but were to be compensated by other public spaces — a village square and 2 other open areas tucked between shops, apartments & a proposed marine club.


The village square & plazas were designed to be sheltered from prevailing winds, there was to be a viewing platform above the ferry terminal and Mr Jones regarded the proposed cafés & restaurants as public spaces.


A fresh face, says Herbert


But those designs have been set aside. “He had a great vision, Martin,” Mr Herbert said. “But there will be a change, a fresh face, new team. And I think we’ve almost got to create a new vision for it – it’s arguably the best land in Auckland, other than the tank farm.”


Mr Herbert first looked at the property 2 years ago, originally getting it under contract in April 2004. “It’s taken all this time to get the public access finalised.”


Mr Carter has agreed to lease 3.34ha to Bayswater Marina Developments Ltd (the Jones company which Mr Herbert has taken over, and which operates the 430-berth marina). Of that, about 1ha will be for public access.


The minister said his decision to opt for a 15m public access strip along the reclaimed land was in response to concerns that the public’s current ability to access the entire reclamation might be hampered by potential development.


105-year lease agreed


Agreement on that point enabled marina lease negotiations between the Crown & Mr Herbert to be concluded successfully, with a 105-year lease over reclaimed land. Control will revert to the Crown at the end of that period.


Mr Herbert said he was buying the marina, a number of unsold berths, the management rights and the leasehold reclamation area. The city council & Auckland Regional Council applied jointly last year for resource consent to build a $4 million ferry terminal on adjoining reclaimed land.


“One of the things we want to focus on is good urban design principles. You need a lot of people living near transport hubs. We’ve got the opportunity to create a significant destination right next to that transport hub. I think the more people we can get down there the better.”


When commissioners were considering variation 65 for the zoning change 4 years ago, “they decided the land uses should be fairly tightly constrained to marine activities, very little retail, primarily industry-related marine uses, which I think are people-unfriendly uses.


“I’d like to see some people-friendly uses – cafés, for example. Hopefully in time we might see some residential.


“We’ll start building towards some kind of mixed-use development in due course.”



Earlier stories:


9 April 2003: Council environmental specialist responds to Bayswater judgment article


7 April 2003: Judge uses bizarre reasoning to keep Queen’s chain at Bayswater


12 December 2002 (plan change item): North Shore snapshot, week to 15 December 2002


5 June 2002 (challenge over width of public strip): North Shore planning & consent activity, June 2002


 


Want to comment? Click on The new BD Central Forum or email [email protected].


 


Attribution: Joint oppress release, phone interview, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Judge uses bizarre reasoning to keep Queen’s chain at Bayswater


Published 7 April 2003


Conservation minister told to rethink


North Shore City Council got the decision it wanted on the Queen’s chain from High Court judge Tony Randerson this week, but I find a couple of points in the judgment amount to rigid application of the law by way of bizarre reasoning.


Justice Randerson was asked to conduct a judicial review of the decision in May 2002 allowing the marginal strip around the Bayswater marina land to be reduced below 20m. The decision was made by the Waikato Conservator, Gregory Martin, and approved by the Conservation Department’s northern regional manager under delegated authority from the Conservation Minister, after a hearing in October 2001.


Bayswater Marina Developments Ltd has long planned development of something grander on the 3.5ha of reclaimed land at the marina, directly across the Waitemata Harbour from downtown Auckland.


Jones had $250 million proposal


The last time I discussed the marina development onsite with its proponent, Martin Jones, in April 2000, he finished by dashing across the harbour in a fizzboat to a meeting with his lawyers in Shortland St (photo above), illustrating Bayswater’s proximity to its market.


At that time, Mr Jones was most of the way through public consultation and about to take a $250 million proposal to the council for consent. He died 6 months later but the development proposal has continued.


His proposal was for a comprehensive marine village incorporating a boutique hotel, up to 200 apartments, 7000m² of restaurants & shops and a ferry terminal. The public would get a boardwalk round the edge but would be compensated by other public spaces — a village square and 2 other open areas tucked between shops, apartments & a proposed marine club.


Feedback report recognised importance of public


In a 1999 report on feedback about the village proposal, the company said: “A marina village is reliant on the public for its vitality & survival. For that reason, the village proposal incorporates a wide variety of public spaces & facilities that will encourage people into the area. For example, the proposal provides public access right around the water’s edge by way of a boardwalk.”


The village square & plazas were designed to be sheltered from prevailing winds, there would be a viewing platform above the ferry terminal and Mr Jones regarded the proposed cafés & restaurants as public spaces. “Bayswater Marina believes the design of these public spaces will foster public use & enjoyment of what is currently a windswept carpark with a view,” the feedback report said.


Company wanted variable narrow strip, council wanted 15m, department suggested 9m


The company wanted a strip varying between 9.7m & 3.6m. Mr Martin’s proposal last year was for a 9m marginal strip, giving a net 6.5m of flat land for public access round the edge of the reclaimed land. The council proposed a uniform 15m strip, in line with proposed changes to the district plan. Under section 24A of the Conservation Act, the minister can approve reduction of the marginal strip down to 3m “if he or she is satisfied that its value in terms of the purposes specified in section 24C of the act will not be diminished.”


Crucial points in judgment


The crucial points in the judge’s ruling are that the minister (through the conservator & department manager)

erred in law by approaching the decision on the basis of whether the purposes in section 24C could still be adequately or sufficiently provided for, notwithstanding a reduction in the width of the marginal strip
failed to take into account relevant considerations, namely: whether the value of the marginal strip for types of active recreation other than jogging or walking would be diminished by the reduction in width whether the value of the marginal strip for future recreational purposes would be diminished by the reduction in width, and they
acted unreasonably in the sense that no reasonable minister could have come to the decision that the value of the strip would not be diminished for section 24C purposes.

!


The last of these judicial conclusions is the most bizarre: The judge is saying that a narrower strip must be of lower value, come what may. Assume the marina company was correct in its view that its development would provide more pleasant surroundings for the public than the existing “windswept carpark with a view,” the notion of a boardwalk leading to a vibrant village could well be of greater value to many people.


When the Conservation Act was amended in 1990, reference to adequacy or sufficiency was eliminated, so although a narrower marginal strip might still offer the public a reasonably enjoyable space, if it was only OK & not perfect it wouldn’t be good enough.


While the Conservation Minister’s case was that recreational activities to be considered should be limited to those taking advantage of the land/sea connection, Justice Randerson accepted the view put by Raynor Asher QC for the council, that the recreation purposes to be considered should include, in the judge’s words, “any which may reasonably be enjoyed adjacent to the sea in the marginal strip area.”


Acceptance of the fanciful


In a comparison with the permitted baseline test as refined in case law under the Resource Management Act, hypothetical developments which are not fanciful are allowed as benchmarks for proposed developments.


Justice Randerson’s acceptance of “any” activity — including frisbee-throwing — is acceptance of the fanciful. The judge had trouble accepting the logic of Mr Martin’s view that the value of 1 section of the marginal strip lay in the access it gave to an open grassed area, so the strip could be narrower than 20m but not as narrow as the 7m the marina company wanted at that point.


Mr Martin said the best way of protecting the strip’s value would be to turn the grassed area into a reserve. Justice Randerson decided this was irrelevant.


Mr Martin’s point, as expressed in the judgment, seems perfectly logical to me — requiring an extra decision to ensure value would be preserved, but not irrelevant.


But the judge said: “It is also logically flawed and therefore unreasonable in administrative law terms. His conclusion that the value provided by a 20m marginal strip in this area would derive from the access it provides to the open space area failed to take into account the recreational opportunities which could be provided by a full width strip. There was no analysis of any difference in value for section 24C purposes between a 20m strip and a 10m strip.”


Absence of that analysis seems critical — it’s what the whole review was about. But failing to take account of the unknown — the unknown being games of the future which may require more elbow room than perhaps 10m — seems bizarre reasoning.


Back to the minister’s office


The outcome of a review such as this is that it gets returned for a fresh decision. Justice Randerson set aside the decision reducing the marginal strip’s width from 20m to 9m and declared “that the minister ought to reconsider the decision according to law, and in light of this judgment.”


Justice Randerson clarified some issues of law, where the minister’s staff took irrelevant matters into consideration, so in that respect his decision will be helpful. But his acceptance of frisbee-throwing in a high wind as a sensible measure of value has to be questioned. It is a bizarre way of telling a developer to give up on a project which the company’s owners have long believed would be of great value to the region, not just to the company.


The judge found the interests of the company irrelevant to the decision he had to reach, which seems unquestionable in law although perhaps unfortunate in terms of advancing the cause of quality development.

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