Archive | Aotea Quarter

Tender documents go out for rail link tunnels & stations

The first tender documents for the largest component of Auckland’s city rail link project – the construction of the tunnels & new stations – were released to the industry yesterday, a fortnight after expressions of interest were sought for the design, procurement, installation & commissioning of all tunnel track work & rail systems between Britomart Station & the Western Line at Mt Eden.

2 new stations will be built as part of the underground rail line linking Britomart with the existing western line near Mt Eden. The new stations will be near Aotea Square (artist’s impression at top), with entrances at Wellesley & Victoria Sts, and a station in Mercury Lane, just off Karangahape Rd. The Mt Eden train station will be extended & redeveloped. Associated works are already underway around downtown Auckland.

An artist’s impression of the new Karangahape station, which will be the deepest at 30m below ground.

Project director Chris Meale said yesterday the 2m-wide tunnel-boring machine simultaneously excavating & installing a new stormwater pipe under Albert St had finished the first leg of its journey. The 9-storey-high piling rig working in Albert St has dug over 140 of the 376 piles required.

An artist’s impression of the planned redeveloped station at Mt Eden.

The tunnels & stations contract will be procured using a design & construct model with a lump sum price based on a bespoke contract.

Attribution: Auckland Transport release.

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The CAB and a terrace – the making of a precinct

Stripping out Auckland Council’s old civic administration building and converting it to high-end apartments is more than the usual single-building development. It’s the start of a 4-building project which is likely to be the making of the Aotea precinct.

The scene today (photo above): The town hall, former civic administration building at the side of Aotea Square, and the Grand Millennium hotel behind it.

Aotea, for all its civic components, has been a cul-de-sac. It has the town hall on the Queen St side and the Q Theatre beside it, the Aotea Centre for staged events on the other side of the square has been opened up with café seating above the square, the Bledisloe public-sector office building off to the Wellesley St side remains an imposing off-limits shadow, the Sky Metro cinemas along its eastern edge still doesn’t provide ambience on the square, and the area is served by parking for 930 cars under the square.

Aotea Square, looking towards Queen St.

These components are all disparate, and often the square would be empty. Council efforts to make Aotea Square a place to go to have worked – iceskating, various events, the current “relax” accent – but it’s still been a cul-de-sac. You walk into it naturally from Queen St, but by chance from all other directions.

The impressive hotel on Mayoral Drive – originally the Pan Pacific and more recently the Rendezvous Grand, renamed the Grand Millennium last September – has always been a distinctly separate entity across a busy urban arterial road, with poor connection to the square.

Much of that will change, not through conversion of the council administration building to upmarket, mostly owner-occupier apartments, but through the connections around that building.

John Love with the model of the Civic Quarter development in the onsite display suite.

When Love & Co director John Love took me through his plans for the development project yesterday, the ideas – especially the interiors & surprise features of the CAB (the converted building’s name) designed by his wife, Josephine – were very inviting, but they were about what makes a residential building a better product.

The second apartment building beside it, current title Greys (the address is 1 Greys Avenue) – will add residential volume, taking the total to about 500 residents. But beside it will be a narrow lane. And splitting the hotel along the Mayoral Drive front will be another lane, and they will lead to a terrace at mezzanine level of the CAB, with retail & hospitality on both sides.

 That terrace (above) is what will make Aotea a through-precinct. The next stage will be to make Mayoral Drive less of a racetrack.

The Whare Tapere.

The 4-storey Whare Tapere arts, cultural & performance space to be built between the apartments (with childcare or commercial space on the top floors), the Q Theatre and the lawn on Aotea Square is the feature that made longtime developer Mike Mahoney (Josephine Love’s father) most enthusiastic about this development, for which he will be a consultant: While the new generation’s work impresses him, “I can’t stop,” he told me with a smile last night.

Beneath the whole development will be 3½ basement parking levels for 350 cars, an extension of the 3 basement levels of the old administration building, separate from the 930 public parking spaces under Aotea Square.

Mr Love said wealthy apartment owners wanted parking, though it didn’t mean they would be constantly entering the traffic. Parking hasn’t been allocated strictly per unit, but there will be a limit of 6 spaces for the CAB penthouse (a day car, a night car, a blue car, a red car…).

104 apartments in the CAB

The CAB will have 104 apartments, with the ability to combine units, as was done in the early marketing stages at the 8 Hereford & Hopetoun Residences conversions of the former Telecom & Baycorp office buildings below the Karangahape Rd ridge.

Tawera Group Ltd, headed by Mike Mahoney’s son David, undertook the Hereford & Hopetoun conversions, with the rest of the family contributing. John Love, an accountant with long corporate experience including roles at KPMG & CS First Boston, was Tawera’s chief financial officer. This time he’s in charge through J Love & Co Ltd and the project development company, Civic Lane Ltd, while Josephine Love continues her design input, which is a major influence.

Apartments in the CAB will range from 56m² one-bedroom units to 3 bedrooms & 115m². At $600,000 for one bedroom, the price equates to $10,700/m². Mr Love said the average in the market for new-builds was about $13,000/m². The sub-penthouse floor was priced at around $20,000/m².

The special apartment is this building will be the 600m² penthouse, priced at $14 million, or $23,300/m². It will have a 4m stud height, an internal courtyard and wide city views, but will come in short of the $15.7 million paid for the 525m² penthouse in the International on Princes St.

Still, if numbers expressing initial interest are any guide, the CAB could achieve the construction green light quickly. Mr Love said 250 buyers had replied to the launch of 8 Hereford, and 500 had replied for the CAB.

Greys off to side, hotel will cradle CAB

The second apartment development, Greys, will be a 16-storey tower with a 15,500m² gross floor area for about 150 apartments, on the current parking lot at the corner of Mayoral Drive.

The hotel design has been tweaked so it will cradle the CAB, with a lane through the middle of it to the terrace between that building and the CAB. The design has 7 storeys & 147 hotel rooms of 25-28m². Mr Love said the hotel brands were still being assessed.

The admin building conversion

But first comes the administration building conversion, requiring the asbestos to be removed and the building to be stripped back to a base steel & concrete shell. On completion, Mr Love said, “You will see very little difference in the detail of the façade”.

But there will be new features – double glazing, loggias opening up larger apartments, new lifts. The building’s seismic rating will increase from 67% to 100% of new building standard.

“We’re very lucky that, when this building was developed in 1966, Tibor Donner, the designer (and Auckland City Council’s chief architect from 1946-67) brought over a steel moment frame, which was remarkably modern. It needs some minor tweaks.”

Mr Love said the floorplates were “quite tricky” for conversion because the building was narrow, but it offered long east & west aspects.

“Not many developers do 3-bedroom apartments, especially in the city. But we have a focus on owner-occupiers, and Josephine created a ‘master wing’ containing a bedroom, walk-in wardrobe & ensuite at one end, and the other 2 bedrooms at the other end.”

The design includes large storage capacity in the 2- & 3-bedroom apartments, which Mr Love said developers often missed out or made inadequate provision for.

All units have the same kitchen, “not shrunk for the one-bedroom units – everyone gets an entertainer’s kitchen”.

For the 65m² one-bedroom units, he said, “We’ve tried to create a cool city pad, a study space with an ensuited bedroom. The trend has been with some of the smaller apartments for guests to have to traipse through your bedroom to the bathroom because they don’t have ensuites.”

From experience with owner variation requests at other developments, Mr Love said 3 colour schemes would be offered. There was also a strong preference for natural products – oak floors thick enough to be sanded back 6 or 7 times (compared to some which are the thickness of wallpaper).

Overall, “Josephine’s design philosophy is not to force her design on to people. She creates a palette to make their changes to.”

Love & Co has also brought in Shane & Luanne Cotton as artistic consultants to enhance the cultural & creative elements of The CAB and the whole Civic Quarter, which Mr Love believed was a unique approach for a development.

Council civic administration building fact sheet

Earlier stories:
22 September 216: Mahoneys’ Tawera to convert civic administration building to apartments in new Civic Quarter
12 February 2016: Revised city centre masterplan targets & Aotea framework approved
24 May 2015: Council value capture an integral aim as Aotea Quarter transformed
19 November 2014: Council to consider old HQ’s fate next month

24 August 2014: Family team combines to create luxury at 8 Hereford
14 April 2014: Council staff want 3 months to prospect for alternative uses of old HQ
11 July 2008: Consultation opens on new look for Aotea Square
8 May 2006: Clear South Town Hall options put up, but councillors dither
11 April 2005: Aotea Quarter plan approved
11 April 2005: Success at Aotea Quarter no easy run
1 July 2004: Aotea Quarter cultural precinct plan endorsed

Attribution: Interview & release.

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Mahoneys’ Tawera to convert civic administration building to apartments in new Civic Quarter

Auckland Council urban development agency Panuku Development Auckland has selected Tawera Group Ltd to restore the heritage category A former civic administration building on Aotea Square, in a new-look Civic Quarter.

Image above: An impression of the revived civic administration building, with new buildings on Mayoral Drive & Greys Avenue and the Rendezvous hotel (now the Grand Millennium) in the background.

Tawera (director & shareholder David Mahoney) intends to convert upper floors to apartments, open food & beverage on the ground floor, add an apartment building on the Mayoral Drive corner of the site, a new boutique hotel on Mayoral Drive and a building featuring a whare tapere performance space fronting Aotea Square.

The proposed Civic Quarter ground-floor layout (hospitality in ground floor of converted civic administration building).

The proposed Civic Quarter ground-floor layout (hospitality in ground floor of converted civic administration building).

The selection followed an international tender. The council quit the administration building in 2014, forced out by the asbestos throughout, but leaving anyway because it was no longer fit for the super-city council’s use.

The building, designed in the mid-1950s & completed in 1966, would have 8479m² of floorspace on 19 floors.

Tawera’s most recent experience in conversions is at the former Telecom building at 8 Hereford St and former Baycorp House at 15 Hopetoun St, both just down from the Karangahape Rd ridge.

In a presentation yesterday, Panuku said the mix of development in the proposed Civic Quarter was still to be finalised. However, it would be market-driven, with a focus on quality outcomes.

Construction is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2017 and be completed by the third quarter of 2020.

The Town Hall on Queen St, civic administration building on Greys Avenue, 2 of the buildings flanking Aotea Square.

The Town Hall on Queen St, civic administration building on Greys Avenue, 2 of the buildings flanking Aotea Square.

Panuku project director Clive Fuhr said it was important to provide a viable commercial opportunity that would enable the restoration of the heritage building, provision of more housing and the revitalisation of this precinct.

Earlier stories:
20 June 2016: Rendezvous hotel to become Grand Millennium
20 May 2016: Council to get finance proposal on HQ plus Graham St building
Propbd on Q T7July15 – Council makes decisions on land use at Silverdale, for industry, on land supply, civic admin building, Hobsonville
9 February 2015: Decision day approaching for old council admin building
19 November 2014: Council to consider old HQ’s fate next month
24 August 2014: Family team combines to create luxury at 8 Hereford
14 April 2014: Council staff want 3 months to prospect for alternative uses of old HQ

Attribution: Panuku presentation material.

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Revised city centre masterplan targets & Aotea framework approved

Auckland Council’s Auckland development committee approved 2 important documents for city centre rejuvenation yesterday – a review of the targets in the city centre masterplan and the Aotea Quarter framework.

When the masterplan was published in 2012 it had 9 intended outcomes & 36 targets. The outcomes have been retained after a review, but the targets have been revised & reduced to 24.

The council’s city centre advisory board supported the changes last year to better gauge progress during the next few years of extensive change, including construction of the city rail link, Precinct Properties Ltd’s replacement of the Downtown shopping centre with the Commercial Bay office & retail development, and a new Mansons TCLM Ltd office development & hotel on the former NZ Herald site on Albert St.

Endorsement of the Aotea Quarter framework brought more jubilation from staff & councillors who see the quarter having the potential to rival the waterfront as a destination. Tim Watts – who was the council’s head of design and has just moved to the same role with a wider brief at Panuku Development Auckland – said this would especially be the case once Aotea Station was built.

He said key points of the original 2007 framework (written by the old Auckland City Council) had been reaffirmed, but in the intervening years the area had changed, with a burgeoning residential quarter on the verges of the core.

The vision is to make it the civic, arts & cultural heart, “a vibrant, resilient & unique place to indulge the senses, express creativity & celebrate our Maori, Pacific & diverse cultures”.

Cllr Cameron Brewer was concerned that the framework as presented didn’t contain any financial details, although some of its costs were in the long-term plan. Mr Watts said “a framework is just the bones on which you attach further detail”, and thought “the next level of detail needs to be worked up through the council development project offices”.

Deputy mayor & committee chair Penny Hulse told Cllr Brewer: “It’s now a 20-year document. Figures are somewhat immaterial at the moment. We are not signing off a capital project list,” and added: “Outcomes are strategic vision, they may be completely undeliverable.”

Discussions continue on civic admin building

The other large feature of the neighbourhood is the council’s former civic administration building on the edge of Aotea Square, abandoned because of asbestos & major repairs required. The council shifted its headquarters up to the former ASB Bank head office at 135 Albert St last year.

Mr Watts said the council’s development team held a briefing yesterday for shortlisted developers.

The overwhelming view in feedback on the building’s future was that retention was preferable, but there wasn’t much discussion around the end use.

Cllr Hulse said the building’s future would be on the agenda at the council finance & performance committee’s next meeting: “The decision sits with us on how much money we want to put in the budget.”

It’s not quite as simple as the fate of one building, though. The council-controlled Regional Facilities Auckland is also looking at better links between its Aotea assets, including improving vehicular access to the Aotea Centre from Mayoral Drive and pedestrian access.

Lee critical, Darby sees opportunities galore

Cllr Mike Lee thought closure of the old civic administration building was bad both financially and in civic terms: “The work is predicated on solving a problem, and the problem is the civic square is not pulling its weight. How did that happen? Was it our decision-making? It was our decision to desert the building – a perfectly functional civic building has been locked up and we’ve gone up the road to a bank building.”

However development committee deputy chair Chris Darby, who’s been heavily involved in the framework process, said the framework was about far more than Aotea Square and the administration building: “It’s about 4 key things – civic & cultural, transport-enabled development, non-stop entertainment and a cultural & sustainable showcase. There are 8500 seats in this quarter (not counting some of the privately operated cinemas). It’s quite phenomenal the resource we’ve got, and we’ve never quite got it together. I see this midtown as becoming as seductive as the waterfront.”

He saw revenue opportunities as well as costs from the civic administration building (a $45 million upgrade & $30 million for redevelopment), from developments such as the pop-up Globe Theatre in a council parking lot beside the Q Theatre, and from changes to the Aotea Centre.

“The Aotea Centre looks like HMNZS Canterbury, looks like it wants to float away. The bones are good inside and it needs to marry up, behind, with neighbours, and greet the square more. Its terraces should be living spaces, not alien green roofs. I think that building should be subject to a design competition – we’re almost half doing that at the civic administration building.

“I think there’s the template here for great things to unfold. I look for outrageously good architecture to flow out of this. This quarter is going to be attracting a lot of Aucklanders in years to come, particularly when rail & light rail flow through it.”

Auckland development committee agenda

Earlier stories:
13 August 2015: Propbd on Q Th13Aug15 – 8 apartments sell, council on Eden Park, Aotea Quarter & land for housing
10 August 2015: New Aotea framework plan up for consultation
24 May 2015: Council value capture an integral aim as Aotea Quarter transformed
19 November 2014: Council to consider old HQ’s fate next month
14 April 2014: Council staff want 3 months to prospect for alternative uses of old HQ
19 July 2012: Council confirms it will buy ASB Bank Centre
11 July 2008: Consultation opens on new look for Aotea Square
8 May 2006: Clear South Town Hall options put up, but councillors dither
11 April 2005: Aotea Quarter plan approved
11 April 2005: Success at Aotea Quarter no easy run
1 July 2004: Aotea Quarter cultural precinct plan endorsed

Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda.

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Key turns positive on rail link and promotes faster East-West project

Prime Minister John Key found many positives on the economic front when he addressed a Chamber of Commerce audience in Auckland on Wednesday.

For Auckland, much of the positive was in transport infrastructure – some of it the slow dawning of the realisation that holding up one public project can be detrimental for many private projects.

On the economy generally, he said dairy prices were low globally, but the New Zealand dairy sector was well placed to attract middle-class customers in key markets. “In the meantime, tourism, construction, international education, ICT, high-tech manufacturing, services & a number of our primary industries are all growing and underpinning a solid outlook.”

Treasury’s latest forecasts showed economic growth averaging just under 3% over the next 5 years.

The Government was working to bring the unemployment rate down from 6%. New Zealand’s employment rate was the third highest in the developed world. 160,000 more jobs were created in the last 3 years, nearly 66,000 of them in Auckland, and Treasury expected another 195,000 jobs to be created nationally by 2020. Under this government, the average wage had increased by more than double the rate of inflation.

City rail link:

Mr Key said it had become clear that the Government needed to provide certainty for planned cbd developments affected by the city rail link, so he confirmed the Government’s funding commitment to the project from 2020. He said: “CBD employment levels are still some way from the 25% growth threshold. But strong growth in rail patronage since 2013 means it will reach the 20 million annual trip threshold well before 2020.”

The Government set those thresholds in January 2014, when Auckland mayor Len Brown told Mr Key he wanted construction of Auckland’s city rail link brought forward to start in 2016.

In the face of the rising number of development projects whose success – and efficient construction – hinged on the rail link being put in place, the Government’s intransigence on timing was daft. On Wednesday, Mr Key said the council had indicated Government confirmation would allow construction of the rail link’s main works to start in 2018, at least 2 years earlier than currently envisaged.

“It would also allow the council to get on with negotiating contracts and providing certainty for investors in other important Auckland cbd projects. These include the $350 million NDG Auckland Centre next to the new Aotea Station and the $680 million Commercial Bay tower opposite Britomart.

“Timely confirmation of these & other projects, alongside the rail link, will encourage more people, businesses & jobs into the heart of Auckland. It should also reduce the period of disruption in the central city by concentrating construction over a shorter timeframe.

“We still need to work through a number of important & quite complex issues with the council. These include how project costs will be finally shared between the Government & the council and how the rail link will be owned & managed. Providing these issues are resolved – and I’m confident they can be – we’ll aim to finalise the business plan later this year.”

Auckland Transport figures show that rail patronage increased 22.9% or 2.9 million trips to 15.4 million trips last year. At current growth rates, the patronage target of 20 million trips/year would be achieved at the end of this year, 3 years ahead of schedule.

East-West Connection a priority:

Mr Key confirmed the East-West Connection between the Southern & South-western Motorways would go through a streamlined consenting process this year to bring forward its construction. It’s another large & complex project, estimated to cost over $1 billion: “It’s a priority for Auckland because it will improve travel & freight times in this busy part of the city. It will also provide much better access between the eastern suburbs and the airport. We consider it a project of national significance.”

The streamlined process means a consenting decision will need to be made within 9 months of application: “Subject to approval, it’s the Government’s intention to fund the East-West Connection through the Land Transport Fund so construction can start as early as 2018. I’ve asked ministers & officials for advice on how this can be managed & achieved. In the meantime, the NZ Transport Agency will start early project work later this year on widening State Highway 20 between Neilson St & Queenstown Rd. This is integral to the wider East-West Connection and will support traffic growth when the Waterview tunnels open.”

Other infrastructure:

Mr Key said $4.2 billion would be invested in transport in & around Auckland in the next 3 years. He said the Government was on track to complete the western ring route by 2019 – the Te Atatu & Lincoln interchanges would open in March, the Waterview connection early next year.

Construction of the $1.3 billion Ameti (Auckland-Manukau eastern transport initiative) was underway. Stage 1 has been completed and work has started on designing & consenting for stage 2.

The Southern Motorway upgrade started in October and is scheduled to be completed in late 2018.

Construction of the Northern Motorway upgrade is expected to start in 2018, connecting with the western ring route and completing the northern busway extension through to Albany [from Silverdale].

Earlier stories – city rail link:
17 April 2015: Rail link now just 2 years from hitting government funding threshold
26 February 215: Elation at Downtown rail, tower & square deal
10 December 2014: Council majority rejects softer approach to Government on rail link
8 December 2014: Brewer congratulates auditor-general for stopping mayor in his tracks
5 December 2014: Mayor proposes 3-year delay for city rail link construction
5 September 2014: Quax highlights census figures on low train use
31 March 2014: Rail link debate drowned in hot air
1 June 2011: Government says “not yet” for cbd rail loop, mayor says “all go”
25 November 2010: CBD rail loop business case unveiled

21 December 2015: East-West project enters preliminaries phase
6 December 2015: How Panuku proposes to lead transformation of Auckland
28 August 2015: Council & government sign transport alignment terms
19 June 2015: Foreshore highway the new east-west preferred scheme
17 June 2015: Propbd on Q W16Jun15 – 5 sell at Colliers, 6 units sell at Barfoots, east-west link back on table
6 October 2014: Selwood says new east-west connection proposal leaves long-term strategy unclear
3 October 2014: East-west “connections” feedback sought – with no closing date
17 January 2014: Transport agencies ditch east-west plans south of Manukau
6 December 2013: Council committee calls halt to motorway thinking for industrial “back” of city
2 August 2013: Brownlee commits to more Ameti & East-West Link work

Attribution: Speechnotes.

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5 apartments sell, H47 commercial space passed in

5 apartments were sold out of the 8 taken to auction today at Ray White City Apartments. A ground-level commercial space in the H47 apartment building was passed in.



Aotea Quarter

The Aucklander (pictured, behind ACG Senior College), 25 Rutland St, unit 2E:
Features: 28m² studio
Outgoings: rates $941/year including gst; body corp levy $3020/year
Income assessment: $290-330/week
Outcome: sold for $226,000
Agent: Gillian Gibson

The Aucklander, 25 Rutland St, unit 1C:
Features: 28m² studio
Outgoings: rates $941/year including gst; body corp levy $2896/year
Income assessment: $290-330/week
Outcome: sold for $190,000
Agent: Gillian Gibson

Fort St

HarbourCity, 16 Gore St, unit 11M:
Features: 39m², one bedroom,
Outgoings: rates $1101/year including gst; body corp levy $2774/year
Income assessment: $400-430/week
Outcome: sold for $271,000
Agents: May Ma & Mark Li

Learning Quarter

Emily, 22 Emily Place, unit 4A:
Features: 112m², 2 bedrooms, high stud
Outgoings: rates $2010/year including gst; body corp levy $8401/year
Income assessment: $700-750/week
Outcome: passed in after one bid at $400,000 vendor bid at $700,000
Agent: Jean Ooi

Quay Park

Hudson Brown, 57 Mahuhu Crescent, unit 119:
Features: leasehold, 105m² on 2 levels, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, basement parking space
Outgoings: rates $1817/year including gst; body corp levy $11,166/year
Income assessment: vacant
Outcome: passed in at $250,000
Agent: Aileen Wu


City Zone, 11 Liverpool St, unit 2006:
Features: 44m², fully furnished 2 bedrooms, spaces available to rent onsite
Outgoings: rates $1212/year including gst; body corp levy $3091/year
Income assessment: $475-500/week
Outcome: no bid
Agent: Krister Samuel

132 Vincent, 132 Vincent St, unit 104:
Features: 73m², fully furnished 2 bedrooms, high stud, secure basement parking space
Outgoings: rates $2554/year including gst; body corp levy $4690/year
Income assessment: $600/week
Outcome: sold for $641,000
Agent: Keisha Gutierrez

Victoria Quarter

Marina Park, 146 Fanshawe St, unit 50:
Features: 77m², 2 bedrooms, covered parking space
Outgoings: rates $1455/year including gst; body corp levy $3575/year
Income assessment: $500-600/week
Outcome: sold for $520,000
Agents: May Ma & Mark Li


Victoria Quarter

H47, 47 Hobson St, unit R1, commercial space:
Features: 490m², 2 cafes, a barber shop, a parking space & vacant areas
Outgoings: rates $11,202/year including gst; body corp levy $15,849/year
Rent: $20,000 + gst for barber shop lease
Outcome: passed in at $2.05 million
Agent: Victor Liu

Attribution: Auction.

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Propbd on Q Th13Aug15 – 8 apartments sell, council on Eden Park, Aotea Quarter & land for housing

8 apartments sell at Ray White auction
Council discusses unitary plan position on Eden Park
Consultation to start on Aotea Quarter framework despite much bristling
Land for housing report becomes opportunity to vent views

Corrected: 8 apartments sell at Ray White auction

Correction 15 August 2015: Sale prices were originally transposed for 2 units, the Connaught & Uptown, now corrected.

All 8 Auckland apartments (originally I wrote 7) taken to auction at Ray White City Apartments today were sold under the hammer. One in Rotorua was passed in $6000 short of a transaction after the declared reserve of $170,000 was lowered by $5000. Auction results:

St Paul Apartments, 4 St Paul St, unit 2D, sold for $150,000, sales agent Dominic Worthington
Madison House, 145 Symonds St, unit 705, sold for $506,000, Daniel Horrobin & Damian Piggin
Altitude, 34 Kingston St, unit 6A, sold for $266,000, Ann Bennett
Altitude, 34 Kingston St, unit 3B, sold for $280,000, Ann Bennett
Volt, 430 Queen St, unit 1305, sold for $320,600, Simon Harrison & Donald Gibbs
Devon, 6 Piwakawaka St, unit 1B, sold for $517,000, Dominic Worthington
Uptown, 14 Upper Queen St, unit 1D, sold for $460,000, Keisha Gutierrez
Connaught, 14 Waterloo Quadrant, unit 10I, sold for $551,000, Dominic Worthington
Rotorua, Royal Court, 1193 Hinemoa St, unit 403, passed in at $159,000, Team Murray

Council discusses unitary plan position on Eden Park

Auckland Council’s Auckland development committee went into discussion behind closed doors this afternoon on the council’s position concerning Eden Park in the unitary plan hearing on major recreation facilities, due to start next Wednesday.

The council was due to have got its evidence in to the hearings panel by Monday this week but legal input into the document was only completed at 2am today. Deputy mayor & committee chair Penny Hulse raised the topic as an item of extraordinary business and, as with all council discussions on positions take at the hearings, to debate it confidentially.

Cllr Cathy Casey wanted it deferred because nothing had been tabled, and both she & fellow Albert-Eden ward councillor Christine Fletcher said they & local board members should have been notified of the issue in advance. The committee has delegated many of the decisions on unitary plan positions to a sub-committee because of time constraints, but chose not to do that for this topic.

Deferral was only defeated 9-8, and its move to the confidential section of the agenda only succeeded 9-8 after Cllr Arthur Anae abstained from voting.

Consultation to start on Aotea Quarter framework despite much bristling

The council development committee agreed today to send a proposal for an Aotea Quarter framework out to consultation, including work with focus groups, with its close extended to October. The debate included a lot of questioning of the role the Treaty of Waitangi should play – Cllr George Wood argued it was entirely irrelevant and Cllr Mike Lee said there needed to be more emphasis on civic.

“We are a democratic secular society and that’s our strength,” Cllr Lee said.

Cllr Chris Darby took a constructive view of a transformed precinct of the cbd: “I see this area becoming as seductive as the waterfront has been since the America’s Cup back in the 90s, that woke us up as to the waterfront and look at it now.

Aotea Station will become the busiest station in the city… One of the things long forgotten is the importance of the Waihorotiu Stream, it’s been buried but not forgotten. I’d love to see that stream flow & show again.”

Earlier story, 10 August 2015: New Aotea framework plan up for consultation

Land for housing report becomes opportunity to vent views

The committee agreed on a submission to the Productivity Commission about the commission’s draft report, Using land for housing, but only after a wide-ranging debate that begin with Cllr Mike Lee contesting the view “that population growth equates to economic growth which equates to quality”.

Earlier story, 10 August 2015: Council has forthright message for Government on land for housing

Attribution: Auction, council meeting.

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New Aotea framework plan up for consultation

Auckland Council will put a new framework plan for an enlarged Aotea Quarter out for consultation next month, assuming committee approval on Thursday.

The original framework plan was for an area bounded by Mayoral Drive and down to Wellesley St. The new frame goes halfway up Myers Park & surrounding streets, across to Hobson St in the west, partway up to Karangahape Rd & Symonds St and midblock between Wellesley & Victoria Sts.

City centre design & delivery manager Tim Watts said in his report to the Auckland development committee it would be a non-statutory plan that presents a 20-year strategic vision & direction for the quarter: “It is intended to provide the context for council policy & strategy development, establish priorities for action, and will inform future investment & decision-making.”

The first plan for the quarter, by the old Auckland City Council in 2007, established a strategic vision & set of objectives which were translated into an action plan by the new council.

Under that detailed programme, the council delivered the new Q Theatre and the upgrade of the Art Gallery, Aotea Square, Queen St, Lorne St, Khartoum Place & Bledisloe Lane, as well as many ‘soft’ initiatives.

Next up are opportunities for development & enhancement related to underused council group-owned sites in the quarter core, most notably the Civic Administration Building & surrounds.

Mr Watts said in his report for Thursday’s meeting the city centre masterplan, approved in 2012, recognised that ongoing attention & investment were required in the Aotea Quarter to lift & rejuvenate the mid-city area and prepare it for the transformation set to occur as a consequence of building the Aotea Station on the city rail link.

Key factors identified in the 2012 masterplan include:

  1. identification of the area as a future development growth node associated with the Aotea Station, programmed to open in 2023, which would stimulate an additional 73,000m of residential net floor area (1825 more residents) & 249,000m² of commercial net floor area (12,450 more workers) in the quarter
  2. plans to enhance the ‘arts & performance’ offer in & around the Aotea Centre
  3. continued relocation of commercial office space from the Aotea Quarter towards the waterfront
  4. consolidation of many council staff at 135 Albert St and the associated examination of potential uses of the council’s holdings in the area, most notably the civic administration building site, the south Town Hall surface carpark accessed from Greys Avenue and the West Bledisloe surface carpark behind Bledisloe House
  5. ongoing investment in new buildings by the 2 universities (Auckland University & AUT).

Mr Watts said new factors affecting the quarter had also emerged since the masterplan was released:

  1. a new regulatory planning framework for the quarter through the proposed unitary plan, which deals with matters such as height limits & noise standards
  2. the need to anchor & grow the quarter as the enduring home of the arts, culture & entertainment activities in light of the Auckland Theatre Co’s move to the Wynyard Quarter
  3. application of Te Aranga Maori design principles
  4. rapid expansion of a residential neighbourhood populating repurposed office buildings on the fringes of the quarter, together with some new apartment tower developments peppered throughout the area
  5. a city centre transport framework which seeks to define the functional role & character of the primary streets through the city centre – Wellesley St as a civic public transport street and Mayoral Drive as an east-west connector
  6. investment in Myers Park as a green public open space, including the proposed upgrade to the underpass beneath Mayoral Drive, due for completion in mid-2016
  7. Recent proposals for light rail transit up Queen St, including at least one stop in the quarter on Queen St
  8. re-opening of the St James Theatre & occupation of 300 apartment suites
  9. development of a city centre place activation strategy to inform a programme of work to be funded from the city centre targeted rate.

Links: Towards an Aotea Quarter framework
Auckland development committee agenda, Thursday 13 August

Earlier stories:
24 May 2015: Council value capture an integral aim as Aotea Quarter transformed
8 May 2006: Clear South Town Hall options put up, but councillors dither
6 November 2005: Discussion paper released on 4 cbd quarters’ similarities & differences
11 April 2005: Aotea Quarter plan approved
1 July 2004: Aotea Quarter cultural precinct plan endorsed

Attribution: Council agenda.

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Council value capture an integral aim as Aotea Quarter transformed

A proposal for Auckland Council to optimise the value capture potential of its substantial Aotea Quarter landholdings is made in a report to Wednesday’s city centre advisory board meeting, but without detail.

The proposal is mentioned in a report on the Aotea Quarter framework which the council’s city centre integration team is co-ordinating. The framework, like one done for the downtown area, is intended to be a non-statutory document with a 20-year strategic vision & direction.

The report’s author, principal specialist urban designer Nic Williams, notes the unprecedented change the quarter will experience in the next decade as the city rail link’s Aotea Station is opened (scheduled for 2023), Wellesley St becomes a bus-priority corridor and light rail is possibly introduced to Queen St.

Further impacts west of the quarter, not explored in this report, are likely once SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd’s international convention centre is built between Hobson & Nelson Sts, introducing a hotel, more hospitality venues & retail to a side of the cbd that has become dominated by arterial roads.

The scope arising from those changes is for more cross-town traffic – especially foot traffic – between Aotea, the Victoria Quarter and the new businesses & apartments of the Wynyard Quarter.

Mr Williams wrote: “The opportunity is to ensure that this significant transport investment is harnessed as a catalyst for realising the quarter as a growth node. A land-use/development strategy is required that anticipates this shift and optimises the value capture potential of the council’s substantial landholdings, whilst supporting the other identified outcomes for the quarter.”

The Aotea framework document poses a series of questions to elicit further input from across the council group & key stakeholders for a consultation draft framework scheduled for July. Staff are aiming to present a final framework plan to the council’s development committee late this year.

Link: Further detail in advisory board agenda, item 8

Attribution: Agenda.

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Propbd on Q Th12Feb15 – 5 apartments sell, plan changes approved, QE2 Square, wharves, Aotea

All 5 apartments sell at Ray White
Clevedon & viewshaft plan changes approved
QE2 Square, wharves, Aotea debated

All 5 apartments sell at Ray White

All 5 units taken to auction at Ray White City Apartments today sold under the hammer. Auction results:

Newmarket, 373 Khyber Pass Rd, unit 9, sold for $160,500, sales agent Dominic Worthington
Wiltshire, 89-95 Victoria St West, unit 4A, sold for $335,000, Judi & Michelle Yurak
The Docks, 4 Dockside Lane, unit 310, sold for $250,000, Dominic Worthington
Heritage Farmers, 35 Hobson St, unit 409, sold for $190,000, Damian Piggin & Daniel Horrobin
The Federal, 207 Federal St, unit 108, sold for $380,000, Dominic Worthington

Clevedon & viewshaft plan changes approved

Auckland Council’s Auckland development committee approved 2 plan changes to be made operative today.

Plan change 32 will expand Clevedon village by 558ha and provide for 600 more houses in an area with an existing stock of 200.

6 plan changes alter volcanic viewshafts around the region.

QE2 Square, wharves, Aotea debated

The committee has also discussed an update from the council’s city centre integration unit, including whether to sell about 2000m² of Queen Elizabeth 2 Square at the foot of Queen St to Precinct Properties Ltd in a land swap enabling the company to better redevelop the Downtown Shopping Centre, or to offer it on a leasehold basis.

The council had already resolved last year to dispose of the square, which is surrounded by Precinct-owned buildings on 3 sides and the street on the fourth, and the city rail link tunnel out of Britomart will run beneath it.

Auckland Council Property acquisitions & disposals manager Clive Fuhr recommended sale of the square, but after a long discussion the committee resolved to defer that decision until its next meeting.

The committee also has the central wharves & Aotea precinct development on its agenda, including what course to follow on the old civic administration building, and a report on a study of the cost of residential servicing.

In the confidential section of its agenda, the committee will decide the council positions for mediation & hearings at the unitary plan hearing sessions on historic character and the pre-1944 demolition control overlay, and on the city centre port precinct.

Also in the confidential agenda, the committee will consider deferred requests for special housing areas.

Attribution: Auction, council meeting.

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