Archive | Britomart

A milestone for the city rail link project, and a start on the next major section

The 2-year task of reinstating Albert St began last week while, over at Britomart, excavation for the city rail link tunnel can now proceed at full speed.

Image above: Work underway on the tunnel at the intersection of Albert & Customs St West.

The first is an obvious milestone in the development of the rail tunnel under Auckland’s downtown business area because, for most of the time the project has been underway, pedestrians have been able to peer down.

Britomart is far more complicated, requiring the railway station building – the city’s former chief post office – to be jacked up to enable excavation for the tunnel that will cross under Lower Queen St, under the Commercial Bay tower under construction on the former Downtown shopping centre site, around under Albert St & up to Karangahape Rd and on to Mt Eden station.

The Albert St tunnel project in September 2017 (my photo above) and (below) in September 2018.

The Government-Auckland Council company in charge of the rail project, City Rail Link Ltd, in its latest newsletter out last Thursday, counts some major steps forward:

  • Albert St reinstatement starts
  • Excavation under the Albert/Customs St intersection paves the way for construction of the tunnel box sections that will eventually link the Albert St trench to the rail tunnels being built under the neighbouring Commercial Bay development
  • The Britomart load transfer is complete and tunnel excavation can proceed.

City Rail Link chief executive Sean Sweeney said backfilling of the trench which runs directly beneath Albert St will eventuate in the roadway being reinstated & returned to road users by late 2020.

Backfilling with 50,000m³ of materials – a mixture of crushed concrete, crushed rock, sand & flowable fill – will take until mid-2019 to complete.

The work is being completed by Connectus – the McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd & Downer EDI Ltd joint venture delivering the city rail link C2 contract.

Under the Customs/Albert St intersection, excavations have reached the halfway mark in preparation for building a key section of rail link tunnel box.

The twin underground tunnels being built under Albert St will connect at that point with those that have been built under the adjacent Commercial Bay development site.

Excavation is also continuing with the installation of supports for the trench walls and the removal of an old stormwater pump chamber. Construction of the tunnel structure under the intersection is expected to start this year, with a full connection being made to Commercial Bay by mid-2019.

On the C1 contract in Queen St, Downer & Soletanche Bachy JV completed the weight transfer of the 106-year-old category 1-listed ex-post office heritage building onto a series of underpinning frames, which will protect it from damage while rail link infrastructure is built underneath.

The City Rail Link website is full of images & more detail on the project.

2 time-lapse videos on the link’s website show a 6-month sequence of the city rail link tunnel box being built underneath Albert St. One camera faces south, and the other faces northern Albert St (downhill).

Albert St milestone
Video: Latest look inside the Albert St trenches
Britomart tunnel excavation is go

Attribution: Company release.

Continue Reading

Work starts on new Britomart hotel

Cooper and Co NZ (Peter Cooper) said on Monday construction of the 104-room hotel it will build in the middle of the Britomart precinct in downtown Auckland to take 20 months.

To be called The Hotel Britomart, the 10-level development has been designed by Cheshire Architects.

Cooper & Co chief executive Matthew Cockram said the hotel would be built at the corner of Gore & Galway Sts, and the development would extend to include the refurbishment & restoration of the adjoining Masonic & Buckland heritage buildings.

Cooper & Co has appointed international hoteliers TFE Hotels (Toga Far East Hotels) as operator & manager of the hotel under the TFE Collections brand, which Mr Cockram called “a portfolio of unique & beautiful discovery hotels in Australia & New Zealand with a sense of story, place & purpose”.

Toga is a joint venture between Toga Group and Far East Hospitality Holdings and has 70 hotels in Australia, New Zealand, Europe & Asia under the Adina, Rendezvous, Medina, Travelodge & Vibe hotel & serviced apartment labels.

Mr Cockram said: “The Hotel Britomart is an exciting new challenge for Cooper & Co and the start of a new phase of evolution for Britomart. It allows us to take the appeal & vibrancy of Britomart as the heart of the cbd neighbourhood to a more intense & concentrated level by having people to stay. Guests will delight in the exquisitely designed rooms & spaces, with The Hotel Britomart’s discreet central location giving them easy access to the amenities & wide range of food, beverage & retail offerings of the Britomart precinct.”

The hotel’s distinctive brick exterior will be punctuated by an irregular constellation of windows. “Britomart has always been a place that confidently collides and enmeshes past and future,” saysof Cheshire Architects Ltd director Nat Cheshire, who designed the building with the firm’s Dajiang Tai, said: “The Hotel Britomart is a contemporary building, but the handmade qualities of its brick exterior are in intimate conversation with its heritage neighbours. The project also allows us to reach into the heart of the city block and open up intimate new laneways & a tiny cobbled square, which will enrich the streetscape & the future of Britomart. For us, this is as exciting as the hotel itself.”

Mr Cheshire said 99 of the hotel’s rooms would have interiors designed by Cheshire Architects. The 5 Landing Suites – 3 of which will feature outdoor sky gardens – were a collaboration between Cheshire Architects & Seattle’s Lucas Design Associates, and would offer some of the city’s most refined accommodation. The suites reference The Landing, the vineyard with luxury residences in the Bay of Islands also managed by Cooper & Co.

Cooper & Co executive chair Peter Cooper said: “Our experience in providing luxury accommodation & hospitality at The Landing made us want to create a city hotel that expresses all the values of the Britomart precinct.

“Britomart is a crossroads at the heart of downtown waterfront Auckland, and the hotel is another important step in enabling us to welcome people from everywhere and make them feel at home here.”

The Hotel Britomart’s ground floor will be occupied by its lobby, retail outlets and food & beverage offerings. The new hotel will be connected to the adjacent heritage buildings by a laneway that will lead to the hotel’s main entrance and also form a new connection with Customs St through the Masonic Building. Cooper & Co is working with Auckland Council & Auckland Transport to transform Galway St into a shared space during the hotel construction process, making the Britomart precinct an even more welcoming environment for pedestrians.

Bracewell Construction Ltd (Glenn Bracewell) has been contracted as builder. Cooper & Co is targeting a 5-star Green Star rating for the building that’s part of a wider commitment to sustainability throughout the Britomart precinct.
Bookings for the hotel will open 6 months before completion.

Attribution: Company release.

Continue Reading

Precinct buys into co-workspace specialist Generator

Precinct Properties NZ Ltd has conditionally acquired a 50% interest in the Generator business, which operates 3000m² of co-working space at 3 areas in Britomart, notably in the revitalised buildings on its Customs St East frontage (pictured above).

Ryan Wilson.

Generator chief executive Ryan Wilson, who co-founded it in 2010, describes it as “a workspace revolution for a new breed of ‘black collar’ workers – a stimulating space that combines leading edge technology with the latest design. Simply put, the coolest office in the world available & affordable for small, creative & entrepreneurial businesses.”

And Precinct chief executive Scott Pritchard said yesterday: “Generator is well aligned with Precinct’s strategy of being a city centre specialist. It has a strong management team and offers the opportunity to expand the market in which Precinct operates and to enhance the amenity & service levels that Precinct can offer its clients.”

Generator’s ‘curated’ community encompasses 107 member companies, including award-winning local startups & beachhead offices for global operators. Mr Wilson said it had grown strongly & consistently over its first 6 years, and the partnership with Precinct came at a perfect time to escalate that growth to a new level.

“Precinct is a serious operator in the property business in New Zealand, and this partnership gives Generator a solid foundation for its own expansion plans and the rollout of an exciting schedule of programmes & services that will support our business ecosystem.”

He said its success had been achieved through the provision of specialised, professional & a highly curated co-working membership experience: “We place a great deal of emphasis on ensuring that members have a discreet, modern, relaxed & comfortable environment in which to work (and socialise), but we also believe there is an equal need to ensure our members can present a more formal & highly professional face to the market when the situation demands.

“This extends both to the range of office environments & the facilities offered. Initiatives in the pipeline include rapid development of GENHUB, our digital community & information platform that allows members to interact with Generator’s services and discover collaboration opportunities, a new in-house investment programme, member incentive scheme & international scholarship programme.

“We are always mindful that we exist because our members choose to be with us, which means we are constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to help our member businesses grow & succeed.”

Earlier story:
15 June 2016: Generator expands again

Attribution: Company release.

Continue Reading

Britomart Station access shifts to Commerce St

Britomart Station’s Queen St entrances closed yesterday and will remain closed for the next 3 years while the city rail link tunnels are constructed.

The new entrance (pictured) is at the back of the station building, on Commerce St. The ticket & top-up machines, the ticket office, toilets & customer service centre have all been moved there.

The station can also be accessed from Tyler & Galway Sts and the Takutai Square (eastern) entrance.

Auckland Transport said the station would remain operational throughout the construction work, and all trains & timetables would run as usual.

Construction is by a Downer Soletanche Bachy joint venture.

Auckland Transport, city rail link

Attribution: Auckland Transport release.

Continue Reading

First rail link works at Britomart start this week

After disruption on many streets around central Auckland to prepare for the city rail link, contractors will start the first phase of work on the project at the Britomart transport centre this week.

The station will stay open – accessible from Tyler, Galway & Lower Queen Sts and the eastern entrance at Takutai Square – but the Commerce St entrance will be closed for 6 months.

A new entrance facility will be built in Commerce St to replicate the facilities in the historic Chief Post Office building, which will be closed early next year to allow the rail link tunnels to be built beneath.

Rail link project director Chris Meale said hoardings would be in place throughout construction, with signage to guide travellers to the nearest station access. Bus shelters & the drop off/pickup area will be removed, and alternative drop-off & mobility parking provided on Galway St. 2 delivery & service vehicle spaces will also be available on Tyler St.

The Britomart stage of the rail link project has been awarded to a joint venture between ASX & NZX-listed Downer EDI Ltd and the local subsidiary of Soletanche Bachy, part of the Vinci SA construction group of France. Another arm of the French group, Soletanche Freyssinet SA, bought 55% of Christchurch-based March Construction Ltd from the March family in 2012 after working on joint ventures with March for 8 years.

The Britomart joint venture’s project director, Dale Burtenshaw, said the temporary station entrance would be completed early next year and would house the ticketing office & retail units and function as the main entrance. Phase 2 will start once the temporary station entrance is complete and is expected to finish in 2020.

Attribution: Auckland Transport release, company documents.

Continue Reading

Generator expands again

The Generator serviced office & workspace footprint at Britomart has expanded again, this time expansion into the loft-style level 3 of Stanbeth House.

The expansion increases the footprint to 3000m² across 3 buildings, with more than 300 members/80 companies sharing the space.

General manager Francesca Blomfield said that apart from being the most architecturally attractive of their spaces, the level 3 offering created additional opportunities for all kinds of businesses to find a great space to work & thrive in: “Level 3 is a potent mix of premium shared & coworking space, with semi-private & fully enclosed private offices and an abundance of natural light & character to enjoy.

“Level 3 includes work & meeting spaces, breakout areas, plus access to function & event rooms, and members’ lounge café/bar – complete with a barista making a perfect cup every time. It is the ideal work environment.”

Ms Blomfield said the new space allowed the Generator team to reconfigure many of the existing spaces in Stanbeth House as well, including the addition of new character offices for anywhere between 4-8 people, or up to 20 people.

“The Generator concept continues to grow as businesses discover the convenience & amenity of the modern club-style work environment. Whether you’re a sole operator, a small or medium business, Generator gives you a highly professional workspace in the heart of the Britomart precinct – a fully serviced offering, complete with a reception & front-of house-team to greet your clients and give your company the polished look it deserves.”


Attribution: Generator release.

Continue Reading

Propbd on Q F3June16 – Auction roundup

Ray White sells 4
Barfoots sell 4
8 suburban & fringe intensives sell at Barfoots
One apartment sells at City Sales
6 units & apartments sell at Barfoots
2 pre-auction auction sales at Barfoots

It’s a while since I’ve posted a POQ – Propbd on Q (as in what’s going on in Queen St), and this one’s taken over 24 hours to piece together between auctions, appointments & the occasional snooze – but the big city rail link project was formally started at the foot of the street yesterday morning, Precinct Properties began demolition of the Downtown shopping centre during the week, and Masons TCLM has put its Herald property back on the market.

Along the way there have been numerous pronouncements on urban land supply.

Meanwhile, I have a bagful of auction results and it’s taken a wee while to complete all the details.

The auctions, starting with the latest and working back. That means, in order from the top:

  • Ray White City Apartments yesterday afternoon
  • Barfoot & Thompson apartments auction yesterday morning
  • Barfoot & Thompson – apartments, suburban units & cross-leases on Wednesday afternoon
  • City Sales apartments, also on Wednesday
  • Barfoot & Thompson pre-auction auctions Wednesday morning, and
  • Bayleys Total Property commercial auction on Wednesday (already posted: 11 sales from Bayleys’ Total Property portfolio).

Ray White sells 4

All 4 units were sold under the hammer at Ray White City Apartments’ auction yesterday afternoon. Results:

HarbourCity, 16 Gore St, unit 23A, sold for $349,000, agents Damian Piggin & Daniel Horrobin
The Connaught, 14 Waterloo Quadrant, unit 2D, sold for $622,500, Dominic Worthington
The Quadrant, 10 Waterloo Quadrant, unit 1208, sold for $223,000 + gst, agents Damian Piggin & Daniel Horrobin
Imperial Gardens, 135 Hobson St, unit 314, sold for $150,000, May Ma & Mark Li

Barfoots sell 4

4 cbd apartments sold at Barfoots’ auction yesterday.

Barfoot & Thompson apartments auction Thursday morning:

Parklane, 68 Greys Avenue, unit 5B, sold for $1.74 million, agents Julia Barnett & Ryan Littler
CityLife, 171 Queen St, unit 309, sold for $424,000, Aaron Cook & Betty Shao
Urba Residences, 5 Howe St, unit 211, no bid, Alastair Brown & Hayley Sok
56 Airedale St, unit B1, office space, no bid, Wayne Muir & Jane Tang
Ascent, 149 Nelson St, unit 308, no bid, Mike Campbell
Auckland City Hotel serviced units, 157 Hobson St, unit 113, passed in at $150,000, Cindy Wu & Sidney Chan
Fiore, 152 Hobson St, unit 1202, passed in at $800,000, Aaron Cook & Betty Shao
Urba Residences, 5 Howe St, unit 306, no bid, Alastair Brown & Hayley Sok
Auckland City Hotel serviced units, 157 Hobson St, unit 213, sold for $180,000, Cindy Wu & Sidney Chan
Portland Tower, 62 Queen St, unit 16A, sold at pre-auction offer of $455,000, Stephen & Leo Shin

8 suburban & fringe intensives sell at Barfoots

8 cross-leases, townhouses & city fringe apartments sold at Barfoots’ Wednesday afternoon auction.

Barfoot & Thompson suburban intensives, Wednesday afternoon:
Three Kings, 36B Haughey St, cross-lease, sold for $1.34 million, Vern Hines & Sara Knight
Mt Wellington, 5 Alana Place, cross-lease, sold for $671,000
Eden Terrace, Basque Park Apartments, 15 Fleet St, unit 1A, sold for $795,000, Ryan Harding & Matt O’Rourke
Herne Bay, 9 Clifton Rd, unit 2, cross-lease, sold for $1.48 million, Carl Madsen & George Damiris
Grey Lynn, 8 Burgoyne St, unit 14, townhouse, sold for $760,000, Ryan Harding & Matt O’Rourke
Westmere, 29 William Denny Avenue, cross-lease, sold for $1.875 million, Felicity Scott
Remuera, 31 Ascot Avenue, unit 2, townhouse, passed in, back on market at $1.08 million, Lucy Liu
Avondale, 13 Holly St, unit 3, cross-lease, no bid, Eugene Yamamoto & Matt O’Rourke
One Tree Hill, 163A Campbell Rd, cross-lease, passed in, Angel Li & Louis Lai
Mt Roskill, 68A Bremner Avenue, cross-lease, sold for $882,000, Angel Li
Freemans Bay, 148 Howe St, unit 17, apartment, sold for $952,000, Tristan Young

One apartment sells at City Sales

One apartment was sold under the hammer and the other passed in at City Sales’ auction on Wednesday.

City Sales, Wednesday afternoon:

Aura, 53 Cook St, unit 1116, sold for $364,000, sales agent Tony Kelly
Ascent, 149 Nelson St, unit 106, passed in on vendor bid of $250,000, Lucy Piatov & Chris Bell

6 units & apartments sell at Barfoots

6 suburban units & apartments sold under the hammer at Barfoots’ Wednesday morning auction.

Barfoot & Thompson, Wednesday morning:

St Heliers, 8A Brookfield St, unit 2, terrace, sold for $1.4 million, sales agent Lynette Boyd
St Heliers, 80A West Tamaki Rd, cross-lease, sold for $999,000, Jane Wang & Dragon Zhou
Remuera, 27 Lucerne Rd, unit 1, passed in, Sara-Jayne Kingston
Newmarket, Broadway Park, 10 Laxon Terrace, unit 2B, apartment, sold for $827,000, Charles Benedict
Mt Wellington, 108 Barrack Rd, unit 1, unit, sold for $520,000, Rain Diao
Panmure, 20 Allenby Rd, unit 6, unit, sold for $645,000, Zane Munif & Colin Yang
St Heliers, 95A St Heliers Bay Rd, unit, passed in, Jane Wang & Angela Qi
Remuera, 29 Green Lane East, unit 2, apartment, sold for $1.155 million, Joanna Deighton & Jill Jackson

2 pre-auction auction sales at Barfoots

Barfoot & Thompson, pre-auction auctions (as in, offer acceptable, taken to auction as reserve price), Tuesday:
New Lynn, 10 Crown Lynn Place, unit 2D, sold for $230,000, sales agent Anna Lechtchinski
105 Albert St, unit 4C, sold for $610,500, Belinda Illingworth

Attribution: Auctions, rail link ceremony.

Continue Reading

Tiffany to open at Britomart

Internationally renowned jeweller Tiffany & Co announced plans today to open its first company-operated store in New Zealand at Britomart.

The 430m² store will occupy the entire ground floor of Australis House at 36-38 Customs St East and is expected to open in late 2016. Australis House, built in 1904, is Historic Places Trust-registered and the interior is being restored.

Tiffany Oceania managing director Glen Schlehuber said the company had been looking to establish a New Zealand presence for some time.

Attribution: Company release.

Continue Reading

Tunnelling leads to Britomart design rethink

Britomart redevelopment company Cooper & Co said on Wednesday a design rethink would enable it to construct a new commercial building behind the old CPO, over the airspace above the transport centre.

Image at right, Seaward across Britomart: The white building on the left could be built in the airspace above the transport centre. The white building to the right is Britomart’s new Central Building, which is at the planning stage.

The former Central Post Office building now has offices above the concourse from Queen Elizabeth 2 Square to the underground railway platforms.

Starting point for the building addition is the strengthening required to push the rail tunnel through from its present terminus, taking it under the CPO & square, under Precinct Properties NZ Ltd’s proposed new Downtown redevelopment, around to Albert St on its way to link up with the existing western line at Mt Eden.

Britomart chief executive Matthew Cockram said suggested changes were:

  • Strengthening foundation work to enable possible construction of a new commercial building to the east of the CPO building, using the airspace above the transport centre
  • Creating a large new concourse hall for the transport centre, possibly linking with the CPO building
  • Opening up the western face of the CPO building
  • Creating more public spaces
  • Increasing the capacity & operating efficiency of the transport centre and reinforcing its position as Auckland’s “Grand Central Station”.

Mr Cockram said the opportunity for a design rethink arose out of masterplanning & design work for its development sites in the western part of the Britomart precinct and the extensive reinforcing required for the city rail link tunnelling under the CPO building.

Public space that might be created underneath a building erected in the transport centre airspace.

Public space that might be created underneath a building erected in the transport centre airspace.

“Strengthening the planned foundations would make it possible for a new building to utilise the air space above the transport centre. This would create additional value for the city, as well as being a dramatic & elegant use of the opportunity created by Auckland Transport’s major works in the area.

“The proposed new building would ‘float’ above the transport centre behind the CPO building, with the underside of the new building 3-4 levels up in the air.”

Cooper & Co unveiled the new concepts at a workshop of Auckland councillors last week and will discuss them with Auckland Transport. Mr Cockram said detailed examination of the new concepts by the various parties, including physical & financial feasibility and assessment of the outcomes was required: “Decisions are needed before reinforcing & tunnelling under the CPO building – the first stage of the city rail link – scheduled to commence next year.”

Auckland Council and Cooper & Co have been partners on the Britomart transformation for a decade, overseen by a joint advisory board.

An economic impact study last year concluded that the completed redevelopment of the Britomart precinct had created more than 9000 jobs and an overall positive economic impact on the city of more than $1.3 billion/year.

Attribution: Company release.

Continue Reading

2 downtown rail link contracts let

Auckland Transport named 2 consortiums today to start the first phase of downtown city rail link construction.

Project director Chris Meale said the 2 joint venture contractors appointed were Downer NZ & Soletanche Bachy JV and Connectus (McConnell Dowell & Hawkins JV) for the first phase of design at a cost of about $3 million. The next phase will provide for a negotiated contract to construct the city rail link.

Auckland Transport has chosen the Downer-led joint venture to progress the rail link work through & under Britomart Station & Queen St to the Downtown Shopping Centre site, with construction likely to start in early 2016.

The contract includes establishing temporary accommodation for Britomart Station’s ticketing & customer service operations, underpinning the historic former Chief Post Office building to allow the construction of the rail tunnels beneath & reinstating Britomart Station, and upgrading urban space & surrounding roads.

The Connectus Consortium will construct the cut-&-cover tunnels under & along Albert St from Customs St to Wyndham St. The work is likely to start in October with the relocation of a major stormwater line in Albert St, between Swanson & Wellesley Sts.

Mr Meale said: “We are now definitely on the way to building a key missing link in our city’s public transport network. Once completed, the city rail link will turn a one-way cul-de-sac rail system at Britomart into a 2-way through system that will be able to carry 30,000 people/hour, providing an efficient & reliable transport choice for Aucklanders.”

Attribution: Auckland Transport release.

Continue Reading