Archive | Elliot St

Propbd on Q T2Feb16 – DJ’s settles, third Melbourne Ryman, Fletcher sells Rocla assets, Warehouse opens at Atrium, ethics consultation

David Jones settles Kirkcaldie’s deal
Ryman buys third Melbourne retirement village site
Fletcher nets $85 million from Rocla divestment
Warehouse moves to Atrium on Elliott
Ethics standards for property sector out to global consultation

David Jones settles Kirkcaldie’s deal

David Jones Pty Ltd has settled its agreement to take assignment of Kirkcaldie & Stains Ltd’s main store lease on Lambton Quay in Wellington and to pay $A400,000 cash for the name ‘Kirkcaldie & Stains’.

Kirkcaldie & Stains is still awaiting High Court approval of a scheme of arrangement to return $19.4 million of capital to its shareholders. The company is seeking court approval to cancel 4 in 5 of its shares and return $2.3602/share cancelled. It also wants to wind up the employee share scheme.

The David Jones store would be the first for the brand outside Australia, but brand owner Woolworths Holdings Ltd’s 36th store in New Zealand. South African retailer Woolworths Holdings acquired David Jones in August 2014 for $A2.1 billion. Its other brands here are Country Road, Witchery, Trenery & Mimco.

Ryman buys third Melbourne retirement village site

Ryman Healthcare Ltd said yesterday it had bought its third retirement village site in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

The New Zealand company will redevelop the 2.5ha site in Burwood East into a $200 million ($A183 million) retirement village for over 400 residents, with independent living apartments & an aged-care centre which will include specialist dementia care. The new village will also have a swimming pool, café, gym, beauty salon, library, movie theatre & bowling green.

Ryman has entered into an unconditional contract to buy the site, which is part of a Frasers Property Australia redevelopment of the 20.5ha former Burwood East brickworks.

Frasers Property Australia has plans for a $A500 million-plus redevelopment of the site, which will include 900 homes and a large retail centre.

Ryman opened its first Australian village at Wheeler’s Hill in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs in 2014 and is developing a second village at Brandon Park. Managing director Simon Challies said Ryman’s in-house team would design the new Burwood East village, and the company intended to apply for planning permission in late 2016.

Mr Challies said the Burwood East purchase put Ryman on track to fulfil its ambition of opening 5 villages in Melbourne by 2020.

Fletcher nets $85 million from Rocla divestment

Fletcher Building Ltd said on Friday it had completed the $A150 million divestment of Rocla Quarry Products assets to Hanson Construction Materials Pty Ltd, following clearance from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission and Foreign Investment Review Board.

In addition, Fletcher said it had sold Rocla assets excluded from this transaction to other parties for an extra $A44 million.

Fletcher said it would make an $A77 million ($NZ85 million) after-tax profit from the Rocla sales, less transaction costs & adjustments to asset carrying values.

This transaction doesn’t affect the ownership of Fletcher Building’s Rocla Pipes & Concrete Products or GBCWinstone businesses, which remained core elements of its portfolio.

Warehouse moves to Atrium on Elliott

The Warehouse Group Ltd has secured a long lease in the Atrium on Elliott for an 1800m² store to replace its second-floor premises in the Downtown Shopping Centre, which Precinct Properties Ltd will demolish to make way for its new Commercial Bay development.

The Atrium on Elliott shop opened last week and the Downtown shop will close in May.

The Atrium on Elliott is a 14,000m² 4-level enclosed shopping centre & food court at the base of the Crowne Plaza Hotel & BDO Tower.

Alison Laity, director of Atrium owner Colwall Property Ltd, said: “Having the Warehouse opening alongside existing large-format retailers Rebel Sport & No 1 Shoe Warehouse has greatly boosted our leasing inquiry. We just wish we had more space to lease. Currently we have limited opportunities available within the centre, and we expect these to be snapped up quickly – especially with the impending closure of Downtown shopping centre.”

Ethics standards for property sector out to global consultation

FIABCI (the International Real Estate Federation) has won the support of 63 land, property & construction professional bodies & standard-setting organisations for a global consultation on ethics principles.

The international ethics standards coalition launched its consultation document this week and will close the consultation on 30 April.

Consultation document

Earlier story:
19 August 2015: International ethics standards coming for real estate professionals

Attribution: Company releases, FIABCI.

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New developer plans 52-storey tower for bungy site

Consent has been granted to a Shanghai developer for a 52-storey 209m multi-use tower on Victoria St in the Auckland cbd – 15 floors & 50m shorter than the building a Korean developer got consent for 5½ years ago, but it would still be the country’s second-tallest building.

The new developer is the New Development Group Co Ltd, which bought the vacant (apart from a bungy jump) former Royal International Hotel site fronting Albert, Elliot & Victoria Sts from Dae Ju Housing Co Ltd for $53 million last year.

The new proposal is for a 302-room hotel & entertainment complex, apartments, shopping centre, restaurants, cinema & sky decks. The site is on the route of the proposed city rail link, adjoining the northern end of the Aotea station.

The $350 million development’s construction timetable is likely to overlap that of the nearby international convention centre to be developed by SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd.

Auckland mayor Len Brown said in revealing the commissioners’ resource consent decision yesterday the target for building consent was 2015, enabling completion by 2020 – the year construction is currently scheduled to start on the city rail link, running beneath Albert St en route from Britomart to Karangahape Rd.

SkyCity’s convention centre – 2 blocks away, between Hobson & Nelson Sts – has the earliest start date of these major mid-city projects. It’s due to get under way this year for completion in 2017. Down at the Downtown Centre at the foot of Albert St, Precinct Properties Ltd plans another $300 million of redevelopment along the rail tunnel route.

The early stages of this commercial construction boom will also coincide with the residential construction boom about to get under way in Auckland.

The site of the proposed new tower has been a parking lot since the Royal International Hotel was torn down at the end of the 1980s so the landowner, Chase Corp Ltd – developer of Mid-City immediately to the south and the Finance Plaza across Victoria St to the north – could relocate the Farmers department store to a more central position. However, the only construction on the old hotel site has been the bungy and some flower pots. Farmers eventually moved to Queen St.

The new tower would stand 209m above the main entrance on Albert St and 217m above Elliot St. The Sky Tower, a block away, is 328m tall. The design has an 8-level retail podium, a slender tower above it and 6 parking levels below ground.

Attribution: Mayoral release.

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Propbd on Q W12Feb14 – Consent for 209m city tower – 3 apartment sales at Barfoots – “Clean & tidy” fight fails

Shanghai developer gets consent for bungy site tower

Consent has been granted to a Shanghai developer for a 52-storey 209m multi-use tower on Victoria St in the Auckland cbd – 15 floors & 50m shorter than the building a Korean developer got consent for 5½ years ago.

The new developer is the New Development Group, which bought the vacant (apart from a bungy jump) former Royal International Hotel site fronting Albert, Elliot & Victoria Sts from Dae Ju Housing Co Ltd for $53 million last year.

The new proposal is for a 302-room hotel &d entertainment complex, apartments, shopping centre, restaurants, cinema & sky decks. The site is on the route of the proposed city rail link, adjoining the northern end of the Aotea station.

The $350 million development would be New Zealand’s second-tallest building behind the 328m Sky Tower.

Beaumont leasehold plus 2 Tower Hill units sell

A leasehold unit in the Beaumont Quarter was sold at Barfoot & Thompson’s mortgagee auction today.

2 units in the Tower Hill apartment block were also sold under the hammer. Apartment auction results:

Beaumont Quarter, 22 Fisher Point Drive, unit 308, leasehold, mortgagee auction, sold for $90,000, sales agents Paul Humphries & Philip Davis

Tower Hill, 1 Emily Place, unit 4C, sold for $552,000, Alan Vessey

Tower Hill, 1 Emily Place, unit 7G, sold for $366,000, Aaron Cook

Waterfront Auckland loses “clean & tidy” fight with Mobil

Waterfront Auckland has failed entirely in its High Court claim against Mobil Oil NZ Ltd for not delivering up contaminated Wynyard Quarter sites in the state the agency said they should have been.

Justice Sarah Katz said after a long history of use by oil companies and contamination from fill from the old gasworks site nearby, and their industrial zoning when Mobil’s lease terms began in 1985, Waterfront Auckland could not have expected Mobil to present it with land suitable for non-industrial uses such as apartments.

The judge rejected Waterfront Auckland’s interpretation of the “clean & tidy clause”, which required Mobil to deliver up the land “in good order and clean & tidy and free from rubbish, weeds & growth, to the reasonable satisfaction of [the lessor].

The agency argued it should have been delivered in an uncontaminated condition, except for those gasworks-derived wastes. Justice Katz described the agency’s interpretation as “untenable, commercially unrealistic and not in accordance with the common intention of the parties as at 1985”.

Attribution: Company release.

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Another 10 days for Elliot-Darby consultation

Published 20 July 2009

Public consultation on a draft design proposed for Elliot & Darby Sts has opened, closing Friday 31 July.


The Auckland City Council design is for Elliot St to be a shared space and Darby St to be a closed mall:


“A new concept in Auckland, shared spaces has been introduced in many countries around the world. Shared spaces typically have an absence of kerbing – the traditional distinction between the footpath & road – and feature a level paved surface across the full width of the street. This provides more space for people, outdoor dining areas & street furniture, events & other street activities and overall helps to create an enjoyable space for people to sit, dine, meet & spend time in.


“In a shared space, pedestrians have the right of way, although they must be aware & can not unduly obstruct vehicles using the space. Overseas examples show the benefits of shared spaces include a reduction in traffic volumes, vehicle speeds & accidents, increased foot traffic and safer, more pleasant open spaces.”


The draft design proposes to transform Darby St into a pedestrian mall, which would close the street to all vehicles except emergency vehicles & bicycles. “A pedestrian-only Darby St would open up the street to create a more attractive, spacious area for people with new public seating, vegetation & lighting. In addition, the draft design proposes a more flexible street where outdoor dining & a range of other street activities & events can take place.”


The council is required to publicly consult when proposing a pedestrian mall, so it will run a special public consultation process in September.


Want to comment? Go to the forum.


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

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SkyCity withdraws appeal, Dae Ju cleared to build Elliott Tower

Published 30 June 2008

SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd withdrew its opposition to Dae Ju Housing Co Ltd’s 67-storey Elliott Tower on the long-vacant site beside the Rifleman Building on Albert St & Atrium on Elliott last week, allowing a consent order to be signed.


Dae Ju got consent for its 259-unit tower last October and has been wrangling with SkyCity over its appeal ever since.


The Auckland lawyer acting for Dae Ju, Marcus Beveridge, said on Friday the appeal hearing due to start in the Environment Court today, would not proceed. Although this was a bad time to consider selling inner-city apartments, he said the project had a 42-month timeframe and would be completed in a different economic climate.


“It means we can actually get on with the project – I’ve got interior designers up in Seoul with the Dae Ju chairman now. The negative side is, the development contributions have gone from $1 million to $10 million in the process, but that’s not finished yet.”


The project has a 7-year consent. “It’s time to take a breather, but no one can stop us now except ourselves & the market. The chairman is talking about going ahead anyway.”


The site was previously home to the Royal International Hotel, which faced Victoria St West. (The model by architects Moller & Moller, at right, shows the perspective from the Victoria-Albert St intersection).


SkyCity opposed the tower – or at least a tower to the full height proposed – on the grounds of:

the effect on the Sky Tower’s “iconic” status (one block away)blocking of telecommunications & broadcast signals from the transmission facilities in the upper parts of the Sky Tower, and the impact of radiofrequency emissions from those facilities on the apartments in the upper storeys of the Elliott Tower.

However, the commissioners who heard the Elliott Tower application specifically addressed SkyCity’s opposition. On radiofrequency emissions, SkyCity produced a copy of its own 1993 consent at the hearing, showing it was its responsibility “to ensure that radiofrequency emissions from the site do not cause interference to other services, equipment & facilities.”

The commissioners said: “Having had that condition drawn to their attention, the commissioners’ view is that SkyCity’s point is actually addressed by the requirements of its own consent and that any obligation in respect of interference to any equipment in the upper floors of the Elliott Tower belongs to it.”

Earlier stories:

30 October 2007: Dae Ju gets consent for its 259-unit Elliott Tower

28 September 2007: Elliott Tower decision reserved after spotlight turned on opponent’s faults28 September 2007: SkyCity offers corporate arrogance & lousy submissions in opposing Elliott Tower 25 September 2007: Dae Ju tower consent narrows to 2 issues


Want to comment? Email [email protected].


Attribution: Beveridge phone interview, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Dae Ju gets consent for its 259-unit Elliott Tower

Published 30 October 2007Dae Ju Housing Co Ltd has secured resource consent for its $400 million 67-storey Elliott Tower apartment development in the Auckland cbd.

Hearing panel chairman Leigh McGregor signed the consent 11 days ago, but release of the document was delayed until today.

The building will take 4 years to erect on the long-vacant site beside the Rifleman Building on Albert St & Atrium on Elliott. The site was previously home to the Royal International Hotel, which faced Victoria St West. (The model by architects Moller & Moller, at right, shows the perspective from the Victoria-Albert St intersection).

After 19 months of planning, designing and negotiating through council processes, Dae Ju has produced a complying building. Its biggest obstacle came at the hearing in September, when SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd witnesses tried to prevent consent, or at least have the top of the tower reduced, because of perceived effects on views from the Sky Tower a block away, on telecommunications services from Sky Tower and possible radio-wave effects on upper Elliott Tower apartments.

The commissioners found the impacts on the Sky Tower could be overcome, while the radio-wave effects from the Sky Tower were SkyCity’s responsibility.

The tower will contain 259 apartments, all designed to comply with the council’s plan change 2, which stipulates minimum unit sizes & various environmental factors such as outlook & privacy.

The commissioners accepted Dae Ju’s proposal for solar panels – large fins at the top of the tower – which will heat water for the whole building for at least 8 months/year.

The podium design (seen in photo at left from the Elliot St perspective)  includes pedestrian links through from Elliot St to Albert St and across to Victoria St West, plus enclosed escalator access down the southern side. On Albert St, the public access will open out to a plaza linking with the existing plaza outside the Rifleman Building. These public areas will be closed at 10pm and the residential tower won’t have any public viewing areas.

The commissioners accepted Dae Ju’s right-angled option for a porte cochère on lower Albert St – against council staff opposition to any porte cochère – but said pedestrians should have right of way. They also agreed with suggestions of changing the pedestrian flow at the intersection from with-traffic to Barnes dance.

The consent will cost Dae Ju $100,000 for starters, just to pay for “the development of appropriate traffic management options to address any adverse traffic implications on the intersection of Albert St (including the lower part of Albert St) & Victoria St West and arising from the development”.

The council will also hold a $100,000 bond for landscaping on the tower’s 2 sky gardens, half it for at least 2 years and the other half for 5 years after completion of planting.

There won’t be any public parking – all parking spaces will be ancillary to onsite uses. And despite the upmarket nature of the project, Elliott Tower will have bike storage on 2 basement levels.

The council requires a financial contribution of 1% of the assessed value of works (as determined by the council). The consent is for 7 years.

In the advice note accompanying the consent, the commissioners have gone so far as to suggest Dae Ju consider using names from the past, such as Royal Hotel & Royal International Hotel, for its retail area, for example.

Dae Ju building within its rights

The hearing panel spelt out Dae Ju’s rights in the 39 pages of decision, conditions & advice notes, and also dealt forthrightly with SkyCity’s opposition.

The commissioners were blunt about Dae Ju’s right to build what it proposes, a reflection on SkyCity’s opposition on various grounds: “Under the district plan, an applicant is entitled to build to the height & size that this applicant proposes. In fact, this will be a less bulky building than might otherwise be built, though somewhat higher, given the tower only covers around 20% of the site….

“The site is located within the core strategic management area, where building height is unlimited other than by special height controls that ensure sunlight access is maintained to Albert Park & to Aotea Square. There is no infringement of these controls, nor of the sightlines to the museum & to Mt Eden, which are included in the district plan provisions.

“The district plan does not direct that central area development take a particular form or skyline outline. The current dominance of the city’s skyline by the Sky Tower, as well as the views to be obtained from that structure, is not protected by the district plan nor by any other method.”

SkyCity was concerned about the development for 3 reasons:

the effect on the Sky Tower’s “iconic” statusblocking of telecommunications & broadcast signals from the transmission facilities in the upper parts of the Sky Tower, andthe impact of radiofrequency emissions from those facilities on the apartments in the upper storeys of the Elliott Tower.

The commissioners said significant development could be expected in the cbd, and it would be ongoing. “The proposed tower reinforces the primacy of the cbd, while the tower’s setback from Elliot St acknowledges the important pedestrian environment envisaged for that area…..

“The Sky Tower itself does not enjoy a protected status so far as its height or appearance is concerned. The height limits presently included in the district plan for areas to its west do mean, however, that the Sky Tower will continue to be the tallest building to the west of the central area and will continue to serve as the demarcation point when the central city skyline is observed from the north & north-western harbour areas and the North Shore areas…..

“The addition of a lower building to one side of it could mean that the Sky Tower would serve as a more accurate compass than it does at present.”

On transmission facilities, the commissioners said none of their paths, nor the facilities themselves, were designated. “There would be some obstruction of signals by the broad face of the Elliott Tower, in whole or in part, in the lee of the tower and diagrams were presented to demonstrate the effect of this on the services that area received in areas to the east & north-east. This impact was estimated at 21% of the 360-degree coverage for those who presently receive the services in those affected areas.

“In summary, the argument presented at the hearing was that the obstructions would result in inconvenience in that some repeaters would be required to be installed, &/or that some existing antennas would require to be relocated. While this would result in some cost to those operators, it was not suggested that these technical adjustments would be impossible to achieve.”

On radiofrequency emissions, SkyCity produced a copy of its own 1993 consent at the hearing, showing it was its responsibility “to ensure that radiofrequency emissions from the site do not cause interference to other services, equipment & facilities.”

The commissioners said: “Having had that condition drawn to their attention, the commissioners’ view is that SkyCity’s point is actually addressed by the requirements of its own consent and that any obligation in respect of interference to any equipment in the upper floors of the Elliott Tower belongs to it.”

That point is inarguable, but SkyCity might find some appeal grounds in the other elements of its opposition.

Earlier stories:28 September 2007: Elliott Tower decision reserved after spotlight turned on opponent’s faults28 September 2007: SkyCity offers corporate arrogance & lousy submissions in opposing Elliott Tower 25 September 2007: Dae Ju tower consent narrows to 2 issues

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

Attribution: Consent decision, story written & photos of model taken by Bob Dey for this website. Previous stories on this subject have been copied without attribution; please note my requirement for attribution.

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SkyCity offers corporate arrogance & lousy submissions in opposing Elliott Tower

Published 28 September 2007SkyCity Entertainment Group Ltd led with corporate arrogance and backed that up with extraordinarily poor submissions yesterday in its attempt to block construction of Auckland’s biggest apartment block.

The Sky Tower, its team said, was an icon and an integral piece of the city skyline. A big new building 120m away wouldn’t fit the picture.

This big new building would impair the performance of the Sky Tower’s telecommunications business. Some of the installations might be able to be moved further up the tower – at a higher rent to the customers – but there was limited capacity for that to happen. How limited, the company’s experts didn’t say precisely. Nevertheless, Sky City was working on increasing that part of the tower’s business, and the new apartment block somehow had no right to interfere.

One of the 2 councillors on the hearing panel, Graeme Mulholland, asked who granted iconic status and got some damned stupid answers.

The chairman of the hearing panel, Leigh McGregor, turned to the second last page of the appendices provided by Sky’s last witness, a planning expert, and suggested that – far from the developer of the new Elliott Tower having to back off so it wouldn’t interfere with the performance of Sky Tower telecommunications – Sky’s own resource consent said it was Sky that had to take steps to ensure radio frequency emissions from its tower didn’t interfere with other people’s services, equipment & facilities.

The answer was a quibble.

An inept display like this one usually indicates either general incompetence or a lack of substance, or both.

Counsel for the applicant in this hearing, Russell Bartlett for Dae Ju Housing Co Ltd, likened the Sky City effort to the behaviour of the first child when you bring your second child home from the hospital: “Number One’s experiences up to that date are as an only child. You have this little burst of hostility…..”

Mr Bartlett said the developer wanted to discuss its proposal with neighbours to sort out difficulties, but Sky, after some initial involvement, had steered clear and hadn’t even provided a copy of its evidence & submissions before they were handed out at the hearing.

While Mr Bartlett was unimpressed by this behaviour, the content of the Sky submissions was astounding. For a party that claimed it would be seriously damaged by the arrival of a new tall building, the technical evidence was part-rebuttal, part circumspect, part claims of serious damage to clients’ radio & TV services. But you couldn’t be sure it wasn’t a close relative of the trade competition arguments supermarket owners run to stop somebody else building – this time the argument’s over airwave space.

There were no alternatives, of how damage might be fixed or avoided. And how could there be, when the claims were thrown at the applicant only at the hearing?

Sky experts suggested the buyer of a $20 million apartment at the top of the 67-storey Elliott Tower building wouldn’t be impressed if the TV didn’t work because of interference from equipment on the Sky Tower. Mr Bartlett said in his closing address Dae Ju knew about such issues and would resolve them. He didn’t envisage penthouse owners going without.

The Sky evidence & submissions have been given in a week when the casino-based company has been subject to courting from an unnamed admirer. The companies witnesses said half the Sky Tower’s revenue came from the telecommunications business and it planned to ramp that up by 25% in the near future.

That would be good for the mystery suitor if the increased value isn’t factored into the Sky sale price. But the evidence at this hearing damaged the business’ value by casting serious doubt on a number of things:

Sky’s justification in claiming iconic status for its towerthe tower’s positive importance as a feature on the Auckland skyline, other than to Sky itself (this wasn’t given in evidence or submissions, but from my own experience with the camera it’s a nuisance choosing between a photo containing an awful lot of sky with a pinprick in it and a minute bunch of buildings round the base, versus a photo giving those shorter buildings reasonable size – and a truncated block of unpretty concrete jammed in the middle)the value of the tower’s telecommunications business and the potential loss to be sufferedthe right of Sky to continue expanding its business to the detriment of a near-neighbour possibly prevented from developing fullythe ownership of air rights for commercial transmission wavesthe ownership of airspace above a property.

Sky City claimed potential damage to its telecommunications business by the new building, but only loosely established any ownership over the airwaves. It did this through acknowledgement in the Auckland regional policy statement that “regionally significant infrastructure includes… telecommunications & radio communications networks & associated installations”.

Commissioners responded by questioning Sky’s rights to a monopoly.

The reasonable inferences from the inadequate responses are that Sky has no right to a monopoly on airwaves in its vicinity, has no rights to the airspace above anybody else’s property – and might have greatly reduced the value of its business by emphasising these points in a hearing which happened to coincide with the investment spotlight going on the company.

Pretty well none of that had anything to do with Dae Ju’s application for consent for a 67-storey, 259-apartment tower & retail podium on the former Royal International Hotel site bounded by Elliot, Victoria & Albert Sts in the Auckland cbd.

The commissioners reserved their decision on the application.

Related stories:28 September 2007: 28 September 2007: Elliott Tower decision reserved after spotlight turned on opponent’s faults25 September 2007: Dae Ju tower consent narrows to 2 issues

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

Attribution: Hearing, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Elliott Tower decision reserved after spotlight turned on opponent’s faults

Published 28 September 2007Commissioners reserved their decision yesterday on Dae Ju Housing Co Ltd’s resource consent application for the 259-unit Elliott Tower apartment block in the Auckland cbd, but only after all 5 members of the panel questioned the foundations of opposition by Sky City Entertainment Group Ltd.

Dae Ju expects to spend about 4 years building its project – a tower containing 57 floors of apartments & 2 roof-garden breakouts above a 3-level retail podium and a basement with 6 parking floors.

The Sky opposition was based on the Sky Tower’s claimed iconic status & its special place on the Auckland skyline, claimed damage to the telecommunications business of the tower & likely adverse impacts on electrical equipment in upper-level apartments, bad planning for the safety of pedestrians at the Albert/Victoria St corner and possible adverse effects from solar panels Dae Ju wants at the top of its building.

The last 2 of these 6 causes were laughably there to make up the numbers. The pedestrian-safety issue had been raised by council staff opposed to Dae Ju’s proposal for a porte cochère at the top of lower Albert St – at the “back” of the tower, which will have a podium & roof garden on the Elliot St side, and a couple of metres along from the Victoria St intersection.

The council urban design staff don’t want a porte cochère for cars dropping passengers off at the tower, partly because they see a conflict between these cars & pedestrians in the street & heading into the tower’s retail floors. Sky City didn’t add anything to this argument, apart from some fear about its casino customers being run over on their way down to Queen St. The only danger I’ve ever seen there is from cars turning left, uphill out of Victoria St, on a left-turn arrow which is not expected in a city with few left-turn-only lanes.

And Sky’s team didn’t seem to know if the solar panels at the top of the tower would be reflective or not.

The day’s submissions turned the spotlight away from any perceived faults in the Dae Ju building to a more intense glare aimed at SkyCity’s rights – particularly to status and to airspace outside its own envelope.

SkyCity counsel Helen Andrews said in her opening submissions the new building would “adversely affect & constrain SkyCity’s existing & future operations, and in particular the telecommunications facilities that are located in Sky Tower.” She said SkyCity’s witnesses would raise concerns “regarding the effects of the proposal on the now-‘iconic’ status of Sky Tower”, implications it would have for that iconic status and the role that iconic status had within the greater Auckland landscape.

She said the effects would be such that the new building “does not represent an efficient use of that regionally significant infrastructure resource (Sky Tower)”, said the “almost-certain” radio interference effects of Sky Tower telecommunications facilities on Elliott Tower residents, together with potential pedestrian & vehicle safety issues at the Victoria-Albert St intersection, “means that it (the new building) will not maintain & enhance amenity values”.

Then Ms Andrews played her postcard ploy: “While redevelopment of the site is a positive improvement, overall the scale of the proposal will create adverse effects on the skyline, urban design values and the existing relationship between people and the Sky Tower, including its iconic status, as described by Ms (Annette) Jones (in her submission). As such, it will reduce – not maintain or enhance – the quality of the wider, existing environment.”

Ms Andrews said the Sky Tower was “a key physical resource that must be protected from reverse-sensitivity effects such as those which…. Are almost certain to arise as a result of the proposal”.

She said SkyCity wanted the top layer of apartments above the upper sky garden lopped off the plans – at RL170, the 16 floors of penthouse-style apartments above level 50.

SkyCity capital projects manager Dean Shields said the company “see ourselves as an integral part of the city….. At the time the Sky Tower was proposed, council was well aware of the issues facing the city due to a lack of a central communication facility. As a result, council was very supportive of the development.

“If consent is granted for the proposal in its present form, which infringes significantly into the Sky Tower’s effectiveness as a communication hub, SkyCity considers that council would be failing to adequately protect this significant regional & national asset for its intended use…..

“The proposed Elliott Tower will have an impact on several of our existing telecommunication users and may potentially constrain expansion of the telecommunication business in Sky Tower.”

On its place on the skyline, Mr Shields said the new building would significantly impact on the Sky Tower’s iconic status. But, wWhile Ms Andrews wanted the new building reduced in height and Mr Shields said its “height & narrow footprint… is not sympathetic to the Auckland cbd skyline”, Ms Jones was concerned that the bulk of the new building would block views of the Sky Tower.

Ms Jones, a senior architect & urban designer at Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner Ltd and a member of Manukau City Council’s urban design panel, said the Sky Tower was “the dominant structure in the local urban landscape” and was “a key reference point, both in the immediate area & the cbd….. Any evaluation must recognise the relationship of new proposals in relation to the tower & its status in the existing environment…..

“In particular, in terms of assessing the existing urban landscape at all levels, they (Dae Ju witnesses) fail to acknowledge the ‘icnonic’ value that the Sky Tower provides to the cbd skyline and the way people use the Sky Tower for reference, communication & function.

“In my opinion, the Sky Tower more than any other building contributes to the skyline of Auckland in a way that creates the city’s identity, not just on its skyline but at every scale.

“This lack of acknowledgment results in ‘undervaluing’ the importance of the Sky Tower and the relationship of the proposed building to Sky Tower. In my opinion, the evaluation of the urban design effects should recognise Sky Tower and its specific & singularly important functions , including that as a significant tourist & visitor attraction, its importance in the social & commercial communication network, and its value as an ‘icon’ of the city…..

“The presence of the tower is valued not just as a physical building or silhouette, although this relationship is important, but also from a social & human perspective – the values that allow people to identify with it and identify it as symbol of Auckland.”

SkyCity’s planning witness, Beca technical director (planning) Bryce Julyan, tied iconic status, the telecommunications role and the Auckland regional policy statement together. In terms of part 2 section 5 of the Resource Management Act (sustainable management), “as presently designed, the proposal will have an adverse effect on the existing environment and not promote the sustainable management of existing physical resources, in particular the ‘iconic’ Sky Tower.

“Consequently it will not meet the purpose of the RMA. Furthermore, this development is at a scale that will not enable the city & people within it to provide for their social, economic & cultural wellbeing through the adverse impact on infrastructure & residential amenity…..

“While the use & development of the vacant site is desirable, an residential buildings are encouraged through the district plan, the particular aspects of this development create an adverse effect on an existing physical resource, such that there is an inefficient use of the existing Sky Tower – infrastructure that is regionally significant in terms of the regional policy statement. The effect is such that the infrastructure level for the citizens of the district will not be maintained.”

That view was an extension of the actual wording of the regional policy statement, which said regionally significant infrastructure included “telecommunications & radio communications networks & associated installations” – without specifying a particular facility which, in the nature of things, could become obsolete.

Warren Harding, a broadcast & telecommunications engineer at Johnson Dick & Associates, contracted to manage the Sky Tower facilities, said building the new tower would create “thousands upon thousands” of interference points. He agreed with commissioner Kathleen Ryan’s proposition that because of this there should be a no-go area around the Sky Tower.

Commissioner John Hill saw the argument as a desire to maintain SkyCity’s monopoly above RL170 and, to preserve SkyCity’s rights, to constrain a building which, according to the rules, was allowed to rise into airspace which SkyCity used.

Cllr Faye Storer said: “I’m really surprised to hear that SkyCity has some sort of monopoly on the Auckland skyline. Is there something in the district plan that gives SkyCity a monopoly for a long time to come?”

Planning consultant Keith Phyn, who did the council report on this application, said there was no specific reference to the Sky Tower and that new plan change 2 required assessment of the skyline according to broad criteria.

Cllr Grame Mulholland pursued the iconic status with Mr Julyan: “Is it a knighthood? How is something granted iconic status?”

Mr Julyan: “There is no granting of iconic status. It is one of those things that is recognised in the urban landscape…. The most prominent feature in the existing skyline is the Sky Tower. Urban design is about people and how they interreact with spaces. The important of Sky Tower is, people identify with it.

“Plan change 2 policies talk about the identity of Auckland. If you send someone a photo of Auckland, what do you show? It’s something that has developed over time.”

Russell Bartlett, closing the case for Dae Ju, agreed the Sky Tower “is prominent and has achieved some sort of status in Auckland,” then listed a series of symbolic buildings around the world such as Big Ben in London and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. “And our icon is the Sky Tower, a monument to exploitation & misery which you (the commissioners) are asked to protect as the symbol of our culture. I don’t accept that one minute.”

As for the role of the Sky Tower for communications, Mr Bartlett said SkyCity was a property manager, not a communications provider: “A dedicated communications provider would be looking at ways to provide coverage for the city…. Telecom have under-invested and now they’ve been caught up… It is very easy for monopoly providers to under-invest and their under-investment finally bites them.

“BCL has a number of facilities because it isn’t a property company, it’s a communications provider.”

Mr Bartlett asked how cities around the world without a Sky Tower got on for telecommunications – “There are quite a few of them. They use a necklace (of  installations) – the idea of having a tower in the centre of the city is completely dated. The idea that you’re going to be destroying a significant national resource here is not correct.”

Related stories:28 September 2007: SkyCity offers corporate arrogance & lousy submissions in opposing Elliott Tower25 September 2007: Dae Ju tower consent narrows to 2 issues

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Attribution: Hearing, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Dae Ju tower consent narrows to 2 issues

Published 25 September 2007Consent for Auckland’s tallest apartment tower is all but in place, with 2 key differences outstanding – one between council staff & the developer on a proposed porte cochère, the other an attempt by Sky City Entertainment Group Ltd to block development that might affect radiowaves from the Sky Tower. (The model, photo at left, was in the hearings room; this view is from the Victoria St side).

The Sky Tower & casino are a block away from Dae Ju Housing Co Ltd’s Elliott Tower site. Sky’s newest development, the SkyCity Grand Hotel & conference centre, are diagonally across Albert St from the development site, which has been empty for most of the past 20 years.

A panel of independent & councillor commissioners, chaired by independent Leigh McGregor, began hearing Dae Ju’s application for the tower yesterday and will complete the hearing on Thursday. SkyCity will explain its position in submissions on Thursday.

The Dae Ju tower, on the former Royal International Hotel site facing Albert, Victoria & Elliot Sts, has been designed by Gordon Moller, who was also architect for SkyCity’s developments.

For Dae Ju, he has produced a podium design containing 3 double-height levels of retail grouped around a central atrium, with access at the street corners, external access to Elliot St shops (but not to those on Victoria St because of the slope) and from through-site links.

The tower, with a north-south axis lining it up along Albert St, sits on about one-third of the podium – it’s 48m long & 20m wide. The rest of the podium roof will be a garden, and there will be 2 more garden floors at the 26th & 49th floors of the tower. The view at right is from the Elliot St side.

The site will have 6 basement parking levels for 481 cars, accessed from lower Albert St, which has been used as a near-subterranean service lane to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 2 doors along Albert St (the former Westpac building, now Rifleman Tower, sits between them).

The porte cochère

At the entrance to lower Albert St, Dae Ju wants to provide a porte cochère as a drop-off point for the apartment tower. The entry point would be just past the Victoria St intersection, with the exit point on to upper Albert St just before the Rifleman plaza and a new Elliott Tower Plaza beside it. The exit point, a few metres before the entry to the Crowne Plaza’s porte cochère, would require the roof over lower Albert St to be extended.

Council staff have opposed the new tower’s porte cochère (photo at left, revised version with right-angled entry & exit below) mainly on the grounds of privatising public space and making it vehicle-focused. The key Dae Ju arguments against that are that it would be on private land, and such a facility is expected in an international apartment complex.

Mr Moller said the top of the tower would have 2 penthouses with decks, balconies & pergolas (there are other “penthouse” levels below them). Above them will be 3 layered roof forms – “both to defer to Sky Tower in urban-form terms and to provide 180 solar collectors, which will provide hot water to the entire complex for 65% of the year”.

Planning consultant Barry Rae – like Mr Moller, a member of the council’s urban design panel – strongly opposed the council staff position on the porte cochère and said a redesign had answered urban design panel concerns about conflict between pedestrian & traffic movements at the entry point.

Sky Tower doesn’t have exclusive rights, says Rae

Mr Rae also responded to a number of public submissions and to points in the council’s planning report.

Several public submissions argued the tower would be too tall, would overpower the iconic Sky Tower landmark and would have adverse visual effects on the built form & skyline identity of Auckland’s central area.

Firstly, he said, the tower would be in the middle of the cbd’s core strategic management area, where building height was unlimited other than by special height controls ensuring sunlight to Albert Park & Aotea Square.

Mr Rae said the skyline had been evolving and would continue doing so: “The dominance of the Sky Tower and views to & from it are not protected by the district plan, and nor should they be. The Sky Tower marks the location of a major private casino, as well as providing opportunities for public viewing.

“In my opinion, the existing skyline of the central area is over-dominated by the Sky Tower, just as it was by earlier highrise buildings. Future highrise towers over 30 storeys are needed to form a more coherent skyline.”

He named 3 towers currently being planned which would have more than 40 storeys.

The Elliott Tower would terminate 19m above the Sky Tower’s main observation level, 15m below its upper observation level, “views of 360º from the Sky Tower will not be significantly affected and Sky Tower will remain the tallest structure by 123m”.

Mr Rae said there was criticism that the new tower would dominate all surrounding buildings, reducing daylight, sunlight, privacy, outlook & views. He said the design conformed with the central area district plan’s bulk & location provisions.

The council urban design report, as well as recommending deletion of the porte cochère, said it was important lower Albert St “remain a viable pedestrian route to accommodate pedestrian movement”. While hearing commissioner Kathleen Ryan said she used this route, especially when it was raising, Mr Rae said it made no sense to encourage pedestrians down what was a service lane with only a narrow footpath.

Planning consultant Keith Phyn, for the council, also lamented the lack of retail activity along the Albert St frontage and recommended an active edge there. Mr Rae said pedestrian access would be improved as the podium would be set back 3m from the Albert St frontage and this new public footpath would be protected by a continuous glazed verandah canopy.

“This component of the proposed development is of significant public benefit, unfortunately not acknowledged in the council’s planning report.” However, Mr Rae added, the council had “wishfully” adopted it in its recent proposals for upgrading the Albert St streetscape.

Mr Rae said, far from being a passive edge, Albert St would have multiple pedestrian entrances to the retail atrium & through-site link, the apartment tower foyer would be there and a retail tenancy would front Albert St.

Dae Ju counsel Russell Bartlett, referring to the Sky Tower issues, said the district plan contained no provisions to protect individual communications providers: “No party has the right to commandeer airspace above private land for the purposes of running a commercial communications business.”

He said a possible exception lay in Resource Management Act designation, which TVNZ had used to secure an airspace corridor between its Hobson St studio and the Waiatarua transmitting facility.

Concluding his opening statement, Mr Bartlett said the development would be a landmark not simply for its scale but for its quality: The commitment to a quality development is best exemplified by the ‘bonus’ design elements that are included, but for which no floor:area ratio credits are claimed.

“The common practice is to incorporate bonus elements until the desired floor area has been reached. In this case, the acquisition of bonuses along the way was never in doubt, was incidental to the prime focus of achieving quality design.”

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Attribution: Hearing, submissions & evidence, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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New commissioners to consider Dae Ju tower pre-election

Published 7 August 2007

Jurisdiction: Auckland City


Neighbourhood: CBD


Applicant: Dae Ju Developments Co Ltd (Jae Ho Huh & Jeong Moo Sohn)


Application: 106-108 Albert St, appointment of new commissioners to hear the application to build a 67-level building on the old Royal International Hotel site containing an indicative 259 apartments on 57 levels, 3 levels of predominantly retail & café activity, 481 parking spaces on 6 basement levels.


Council staff said the change in commissioners was necessitated by the planning report not becoming available until early October, when councillors wouldn’t be available because of the elections.


Decision: The council’s planning fixtures committee appointed Leigh McGregor as independent chairman, with former Institute of Architects president Ian Athfield, of Wellington, and Cllrs Faye Storer & Graeme Mulholland as commissioners.


Application detail: Although the council planning report had been finalised, the committee was told no hearing dates were available in August or September.


Senior lead planner for resource consents, Karen Long, said in her report: “Given that councillors will be unavailable for hearings in October, and delaying the hearing for this length of time would be unacceptable, it is recommended that independent commissioners be appointed to hear & determine the application.”


Mr Athfield & local planning lawyer Alan Dormer were on the original panel appointed in April.


But the councillors said today they were available in September and saw no reason current councillors couldn’t hear consent applications through the election period.


Cllr Glenda Fryer said: “In 1998, the person I defeated at the election, Gordon Johns, continued to be on hearings for 6 months after the election.” She believed it was appropriate for the committee to continue as it had been doing, and appoint councillors to hearings.


Staff didn’t have an immediate answer on whose decision it was that, at the previous 2 elections, all hearings by councillors before the election also had a decision made before the election.


City planning manager Penny Pirrit said there was a point just before an election when all council committees ceased to have effect, and that included hearings by councillor commissioners.


However, in the age of certification of councillors as commissioners, committee chairman Faye Storer said the fact they were accredited should make a difference. The question will be resolved next week. Meanwhile, Cllr Storer said she would opt for a conservative line, naming a mixture of political & independent commissioners for the 6 applications before the committee.


Earlier stories:

26 January 2007: Council notifies 67-storey Dae Ju tower

15 November 2006: Dae Ju reveals plans for $450 million apartment tower


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Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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