Archive | CBD

Waitemata Waterfront project to stage 3

Madayag/Jasmax team wins, work could start soon

Auckland mayor Christine Fletcher was bubbling: one year after the city council canned the grand property redevelopment on the Britomart bus terminal site, she announced the winning design for what is now the Waitemata Waterfront development.

Work on continuing the development (the rail tunnel is already dug) could start soon — though Mrs Fletcher emphasised the outstanding deficiencies: a commitment by the region’s local bodies to buy the rail corridors, a Government financial commitment of $40 million to this project, and a decision on the transport mode to be used in the rail corridors.

The Savoy group is still working on a legal case against the council for terminating the previous Britomart project, which the previous mayor (Les Mills) and council majority had supported.

But that bitterness was left outside the door for the announcement of the winner of the council’s public design competition, which began with 153 submissions in round one, whittled down to seven finalists who went through round two.

For the second round, these finalists were invited to form multi-disciplinary teams to produce detailed plans.

The winning combination, announced by the mayor in the main chamber of the old Chief Post Office on Queen Elizabeth II Square, is headed by US architect Mario Madayag, who teamed up with local firm Jasmax, OMA/AMO Rem Koolhas, Peter Walker & Partners.

3 Key differences

There are three key differences between the previous scheme and this one — the process, the emphasis on transport instead of downtown development, and the extreme likelihood that this one will proceed quickly.

The previous process was run by a property manager. Peter Cross came in from the private sector to become the council’s property development manager, with some specific targets to aim at. Downtown, he was to tidy up the council’s leaseholdings, and to turn the ugly Britomart into a sparkling new transport centre.

As a property man, his natural course was to seek a property solution with a positive financial outcome, and that meant serious commercial development on the Britomart site.

Mr Cross knew about digging holes — as the man in charge of the MacDow tower (Pacific/Robt Jones/Coopers & Lybrand/PricewaterhouseCoopers/now the ANZ Centre), he agreed to a five-storey parking garage under that building between Albert and Federal Sts.

For Britomart, a 2900-space parking garage would replace the existing bus terminal parking edifice, provide parking for the towers that would be built above, and allow for some public short-term parking. Again, underground.

Also underground would be the train station, two floors down with potential for the line to be continued toward the North Shore, and the bus station. The train tunnel has been built, but the bus companies fought undergrounding.

The 1990s scheme was vigorously opposed by the city’s property industry, several of whose participants were closely involved in owning/developing/seeking tenants so they could develop competing sites.

Mr Cross called in designers, engineers, people from outside the close Auckland property community, to produce a Britomart project which would have about 83,000m² of premium grade office space, plus space in refurbished heritage buildings around the site perimeter. It would also have two hotels and an apartment precinct on the eastern end.

Transparency promoted

We all know design competitions don’t work, but that’s what the city council embarked on. It lost the opportunity to reach a positive commercial solution to its downtown blight, with a guarantee which meant that if everything wasn’t right after 10 years it could come out holding remaining developments sites and with a return from developed sites.

Plenty of people questioned the soundness of the council’s financial arrangements, particularly that guarantee.

The new process, Mayor Fletcher vowed, would be open. The first stage of the design competition ended in June and the second stage ended last night. The designs, slapped up around the walls of the former Chief Post Office, have been viewed by thousands.

Local architects, obviously not enthused by the previous project’s calling up of overseas expertise to head design, have entered the spirit of the new council’s approach. They have worked vigorously on replacement designs, but have also been prepared in some cases to call on foreign support as well.

Transport the emphasis

The emphasis, this time, has been on the transport aspects. The CPO (new name: Auckland Central) is to be a hub, with underground pedestrian links to the ferry terminal and the Downtown Centre. Escalators will take rail and light rail passengers from the CPO foyer two floors underground to the station. There will not be a single bus station, but bus stops dotted all round the CPO block.

For that to happen, and for light rail to head up Queen St, QEII Square will need to be reopened, though it’s not likely to be fully open to private vehicles.

A pedestrian street will take a line east from a square at the rear of the CPO, through the middle of the existing bus terminal. Development sites on each side of it remain boxes in the design drawings, as do three sites around the perimeter.

Developments are envisaged as lowrise, compared to buildings of up to 34 storeys in the previous scheme.

“We could start work on this very shortly,” Mrs Fletcher said — if the transport modes and rail corridor issues are disposed of. She said there could be no postponement of the 8 December date when agreement is to be reached on purchasing the rail corridors from Trans Rail.

The city council has $130 million in place, through the 1996 Britomart project, to enable it to start work immediately. The city council will seek another $40 million from Infrastructure Auckland to complete its financial requirements.

A resource consent was sought two months ago for the underground station and it could be through the consent process in a fortnight.

For the rail corridors purchase, the Auckland council wants the region’s other councils to agree to the deal and for the Government to come up with $35 million.

Continue Reading

Hobson St sale for residential project

Conrad gets consent for 209 units

CBD western fringe, 147 Hobson St, the 1570m² vacant lot has been sold by Archives NZ for $1.9 million for residential development. Agency: Henry Playne at CB Richard Ellis.

Conrad Properties Ltd gained consent on 30 August (Consent activity 30 August, Conrad adds a floor on Hobson St) to increase the number of apartments it plans for the site from 193 to 209, within the same envelope. That improved the land cost from $9845/apartment to $9091/apartment.

Continue Reading

Bluewater versus Melview for Britomart

The Britomart refurbishment/redevelopment project is now down to a race between the Bluewater consortium and Nigel McKenna of Melview, who have until 29 August to submit revised proposals for further evaluation by Auckland City Council.

The mayor, John Banks, announced the shortening of the shortlist – this time, Trans Tasman Properties Ltd was dropped – at the official opening of the Britomart transport centre on Friday.

On Thursday, Mr Banks said at the opening of Symphony and Watts Group’s The Parc residential development in the Viaduct Basin that developers “will spend $600 million redeveloping those 19 historic buildings on top of the Britomart.”

Downer Construction NZ Ltd is nearing completion of $204 million of contracts – building the underground Britomart train station and refurbishing the old central post office linking the station to Queen Elizabeth 2 Square. Among stages of its programme to be finished is the Te Haruru walkway which starts at an atrium enclosing the rear of the CPO and will continue up to Britomart Place.

As the CPO is 1 of the 19 buildings on the refurbishment list, that leaves about $400 million to be spent on the rest.

“The redevelopment of the precinct’s 5.2ha will provide a huge boost to the central business district. The revitalised area will be lowrise & heritage-based and will contain a rich mix of activities,” Mr Banks said at the Friday opening.

He said the cbd would be “a pre-eminent place to live and do business. This council is focused on enhancing Auckland’s reputation as an internationally competitive city with heart & soul.

“The Britomart precinct is a cornerstone to Auckland City’s ambitious urban renewal & downtown redevelopment plans.”

The Bluewater consortium is a partnership between Bluewater Group Holdings Ltd (Peter Cooper, who has spent about 15 years building up a US property business but is also conducting some property development work here), Phillimore Properties Ltd (Ross, Kelvyn & Ken Healy) and Multiplex Constructions NZ Ltd.

Mr McKenna’s company is Melview Developments Ltd.

Britomart opening

I’ve taken a fair number of photos of the Britomart transport centre and the precinct surrounding it during the construction period, up to the arrival of the 1st train.

The hiccups in the process since then have been damaging at a time when a smooth transition to a new rail service would have told potential users they could switch to a transport mode which was both efficient & reliable.

Instead, it’s been worse than being stuck in traffic congestion. Visiting relatives learned not only that the service was unreliable, very late and the imparting of information about trains’ arrival & departure times hopelessly inadequate

Continue Reading

University gets consent to expand Symonds St office building

Planning consent, 31 May 2002:

City, 58 & 62 Symonds St, Auckland City Council’s planning fixtures sub-committee granted Auckland University non-notified hearing & resource consent to add to the 9-level office building at 58 Symonds St, University Services House, and extend to the vacant site at No 62.

Senior council planner Earl Brookbanks described the former Mainline Building, built in 1974, as “a rather tired-looking building of utilitarian style” and said the university wanted to “breathe life & vigour” into it.

Maximum permitted height on the site is 50m, but an encumbrance dating from Chase Corp’s 1987 development of No 70 for Wattie Industries Ltd prevented redevelopment beyond 33.5m.

Gross floor area now is 3571m². Redevelopment will increase it to 8047m² on a total 1916m² for the 2 lots. The exterior of the existing building will be remodelled and a curving façade will be created for the new section. The university will use the space for offices.

Click to return to Auckland City consent activity 31 May 2002

Continue Reading

Parsons tries again for more Union St parking

Planning consent, 24 September 2002:

City western fringe, 29 Union St, a renewed attempt has been made by Charles Parsons NZ Ltd (Andrew Mills, William Scott & Jimy Liaskos) to add 22 parking spaces to the site for a total 96.

The company wants different independent planning commissioners to hear the application, from those who turned it down last time. It also wants a broad consent allowing the company to choose what goes on in the building, within the permitted activity classification.

The proposal would result in 56 more parking spaces than required under the proposed district plan.

Council central area senior planner Heather McNeal said Charles Parsons also sought consent to use “the whole or any part of the existing building for any activity listed as a permitted activity for the site in the district plan.”

She said the proposal also required assessment as a discretionary activity due to the location within a defined road boundary & an interchange control area. Changes in traffic generation and cumulative traffic effects were other prime assessment issues.

Ms McNeal said in her memo on the hearing application that Charles Parsons was seeking consent for the same number of parking spaces as it sought previously. That previous application was declined on 2 August 2001 and is subject to appeal. However the company said the new application was significantly different.

Charles Parsons justified the high level of parking in the earlier application by saying it was needed to attract tenants to a fringe location. Since then, change in the neighbourhood has been brought through an application to build the Harbour Green apartment project up the street on the Auckland Drape Co site at 11 Union St, starting at 110 units last November and increased to 132 in an application granted consent on 13 September. It will have 55 parking spaces.
Harbour Green on Union St grows to 132 units

April story: Extra parking for Union St property to be notified

Click to return to Auckland City consent activity 24 September 2002

Continue Reading

AMP’s consent same as that for Metropolis, court told

Metropolis and Royal SunAlliance both got non-notified consents, says AMP counsel

Andrew Krukziener has taken the resource consent process to a judicial review after AMP got non-notified consent for its waterfront office tower. But Mr Krukziener got non-notified consent for his own apartment and hotel tower, Metropolis, AMP counsel Derek Nolan told the High Court yesterday.

It’s normal for these applications for projects in Auckland’s central area to be dealt with that way, even if they do happen to be very big, he said.

Mr Nolan got one-third of the way through his submissions yesterday on why the resource consents the Auckland City Council granted AMP Asset Management (AMPAM) for its PricewaterhouseCoopers Tower on Quay St should not be taken away.

Mr Nolan and associate Mary Peters prepared 91 pages of submissions for Justice David Tompkins and counsel in the High Court judicial review hearing, 76 pages for the media after financial details from affidavits had been extracted. The hearing should finish today.

Another of Mr Krukziener’s buildings, One Queen St, is across the foot of Albert St from AMP’s development site. But when members of the council’s planning fixtures sub-committee came to rule on whether the development should be taken through the public notification and hearing process or not, and decided not, they also ruled that AMP need not get written approval for its project from the owners of One Queen.

Mr Krukziener’s building is a refurbishment, but was competing for some of the tenants AMP was also trying to sign up, including accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Although One Queen is directly across the street and Mr Krukziener had expressed concern about the possible AMP development, the councillors found his building would not be badly enough affected by the new development for written approval to be required.

But the owners of the building behind, the Downtown shopping centre on the corner of Albert and Customs Sts (Westfield/St Lukes Group) were asked for their approval. And AMP had to ask for its own approval a few times, as owner of the adjoining Copthorne Harbourcity Hotel land and Quay Tower (now Air New Zealand Tower), and of the city council’s Downtown carpark site.

The councillors also decided AMP should ask for permission from the airline, as a large tenant in the building which will soon have its harbour views blocked. Justice Tompkins was mystified as to why no other tenant should be asked, and seemed dissatisfied that the commercial nuisance factor might be the only reason.

Two key points explained

Mr Nolan explained two important things in the first stage of his submissions — how the consent process works in the central business district (and differs from the envelope-based process elsewhere in the city), and how the individual site consents are worked out (and again differ from the envelope process).

Through those, he explained how, starting from a baseline (what can be built as of right, or according to basic floor area ratio plus bonuses), AMP and the city council differed fundamentally from One Queen and its counsel, Mark Cooper, on how to assess a point at which possible adverse effects might be considered.

First, the process: according to John Lovett, of Positive Planning, “the appropriate baseline building for the cbd generally is a building of complying maximum total floor area ratio (MTFAR), with achievable bonuses to cover any excess FAR beyond the basic 4:1 FAR.”

This was consistent with the council’s normal approach to consents for cbd developments, he said.

Metropolis an example

Mr Nolan said the 39-storey Metropolis was an example. It was granted resource consent on a non-notified basis in 1997. “As with PWC Tower, the Metropolis involved discretionary activities and it is clear that the council focused only on the incremental effects. The users of Albert Park [across the road] were not seen as affected. Nor was a single neighbour’s consent required under section 94(2)(b) of the Resource Management Act.

“Another example is the Royal SunAlliance tower on Shortland St, immediately opposite Tower One of the Shortland Centre owned by the AMP Group. This is New Zealand’s tallest office building. It required consents for controlled and discretionary activities and was noted as complying with bulk and location rules, although like the PWC Tower, that is achieved by relying on bonuses. It was processed on a non-notified basis without any written approvals.”

Mr Cooper argued in his submissions on Monday that the whole building needed to be considered, so when part of the development did not comply with council requirements, not just that part but the whole structure needed to be reassessed.

District plan sets benchmark

Mr Nolan argued that the district plan set a benchmark of public expectations about the bulk and location of development on any site. “The public, and indeed a neighbour, can only be reasonably held to be adversely affected by developments on a scale above that which can sensibly be permitted to arise under the district plan [the second of the two comparisons].”

He said the correct balance had to be set between public rights to participation and the Resource Management Act’s efficiency objectives. “The act must be made to work. In saying that, it must be remembered that there is a two-stage public process here, one in setting up the district plan framework, and one in considering particular applications decided against that framework.”

When the council came to assess individual site applications, he said it used the maximum total floor area ratio (MTFAR) control, coupled with any maximum special height limits. He said a notional building could be designed, “for which the council would have no power to alter bulk and location or even direct building design.”

Mr Nolan emphasised this point: “While, in the cbd, consents are required to utilise the additional ‘building blocks’ to achieve development potential of a site within MTFAR through the bonuses, that is only to ensure that administration of bonuses can be achieved, not to enable the council to reduce or reconfigure the bulk or location of the building.”

Continue Reading

Planning consent, 17 May 2002:

Update: Cllr Yates reported to the 24 May meeting of the committee that it couldn’t impose a condition requiring cycle storage, so it was turned into an advice note to the developer. (See reference below).

City, 33 High St, the Auckland City Council planning fixtures sub-committee granted Apex Properties Ltd (Richard Peterson & Peter Batchelor) non-notified hearing & resource consent to build a 9-storey office/retail/residential building to replace the existing 2-storey structure on the 385m² site occupied by retailer Paris Texas.

Mr Peterson, a former director of GPG-related companies, is still a director of Tag Pacific Ltd (headed by GPG director Gary Weiss’ brother Peter Wise). Mr Batchelor is a former Macquarie NZ Ltd director.

The operating district plan allows a basic floor:area ratio of 4:1 & a maximum of 13:1. The proposed 1997 plan allows a basic 6:1 & maximum 8:1.

The upper 4 floors are to be used for residential (a total 800.55m² of apartments) to qualify for a residential bonus, taking the ratio to 9.8:1.

The basement & ground floor are to be retail and the rest of the building will have office space. There will be no parking. Gross floor area will be 3014.55m². Senior council planner Earl Brookbanks said the building complied fully with the district plan provisions.

The first floor of the existing building was built in the 1960s. That building will be demolished.

Committee chairman Juliet Yates’ primary concerns (on this & other inner-city residential developments) were the provision of cycle storage & prevention of residents displaying their washing on balconies.

An extra condition requiring basement cycle storage was added to the consent, and an advice note was added to pass on to residents that they aren’t to air their washing in public. Update: Cllr Yates reported to the 24 May meeting of the committee that it couldn’t impose a condition requiring cycle storage, so it was turned into an advice note to the developer.

Were the residents to cycle to the city council headquarters overlooking Aotea Square, of course, they would have little chance of parking their cycles in a fashion required in apartment buildings. The council has a rack for 2 cycles outside its front door.

Click to return to Auckland City consent activity 17 May 2002

Continue Reading

Urban renewal an important facet of Britomart scheme

New-look transport network will create new business nodes

Part of the Britomart project is urban renewal. Under the previous scheme it would have been a large part, with creation of a precinct which its proponents saw as being a vibrant new office/residential/hotel/service retail segment of the central business district.

Under the new scheme, development around Britomart will be far less grand than in either the 80s or 90s schemes, in keeping with a changed economic environment and in recognition of the reality that the previous schemes contained a fair amount of dreaming about office use in Auckland.

The growth of business districts on the fringe of Auckland’s central business district and further afield, at Greenlane, the North Shore and Albany, shows there is no compelling need for many businesses to be based in the heart of the region.

Without a rapid regional public transport network, however, their growth has been based on the use of cars. Albany is a good example — a business district which is spreadeagled, contains no central feature, would offer a major challenge to anyone trying to impose a rail link on it.

Britomart will change odds on development sites

Closer to Britomart, the Viaduct Harbour precinct has taken off, with further development to occur there. On the other side, Quay Park has been slower to develop but also has further development potential.

Within the existing cbd, the Fort-Customs Sts area has renewal potential, started with development of the Royal SunAlliance Centre and continuing with redevelopment of the Northern Roller Mills site. Royal SunAlliance has a Shortland St focus, using Fort St as its parking entrance, so a redesign would be needed to give it any Fort St accent. Trans Tasman Properties Ltd continues to look for prospects to develop the old Auckland Star site, also between Shortland and Fort Sts.

Plenty of redevelopment opportunities are waiting around the cbd. On Mayoral Drive through to Queen St, the city council’s promotion of The Edge could be followed by more convention/entertainment development to accompany Sky City’s construction of a convention centre on Albert St, linking across Federal St at the rear to the casino.

Because there are so many equal opportunities, it’s hard to predict where growth will actually occur. Development of the Britomart interchange would change the odds on some schemes, giving greater value to those closer to the harbour.

Viaduct should remain niche

Viaduct Harbour should remain a niche while the Fanshawe St barrier is there, and because Victoria Park prevents continuity across to College Hill and the Wellesley St West/Cook St neighbourhood. But Nigel McKenna’s Beaumont Quarter development on the old gasworks site may change that, providing a link round the park’s western edge to College Hill.

If either heavy rail or rapid transit was expanded from Britomart across the harbour, Viaduct Harbour’s place as a valuable business precinct would be cemented in, but the back of Victoria Park would remain the back of…

It’s not hard for Quay Park to become a valued precinct, because it already has a railway station, though the old station’s been transformed into student living and the stretch of railway land is so long that it could probably take two stations on a rapid transit circuit.

Most of these theories involve creating new precincts rather than renewing old ones. At the same time, business people keen on having high parking ratios, lower rents and more ambient working spaces are likely to continue to opt for the fringes — unless the central business district can show greater vibrancy than exists now.

Upgrading Britomart certainly makes sense for all these possibilities except for the value of fringe office, as it has done for 15 years. Development of the many rapid transit stations around the region will create new and influential business nodes if done properly, probably adding a range of new fringe office choices and perhaps devaluing the city centre further.

Britomart heritage upgrade

The historic buildings round the edge of Britomart will be preserved and sold. John Duthie, now the council’s temporary assistant director planning services, said the sales programme would probably start in February, but that didn’t mean a firesale of the properties.

Recent Britomart stories:

Infrastructure Auckland’s $45 million “not much”

Britomart turns from property development to transport focus

Urban renewal an important fact of Britomart scheme

Britomart scheme gets unanimous green light

Auckland gets Infrastructure Auckland $45 million for interchange

New scheme for Britomart interchange voted through, but with $249 million cap

Continue Reading

Bayleys organises Team NZ online auction

5-week auction has $1 million -plus target

Bayleys Real Estate is organising an online auction to raise possibly $1 million for Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup defence.

Bayleys Corp managing director Jeff Davidson said the aim was to get at least 2000 donated items for the auction. Bidders will enter a dedicated Great Team NZ Auction web page to bid.

Bayleys will source auction items (minimum value $300) over the next 6 weeks. The auction will be non-reserve, go live on 12 September and run until 18 October, when a gala fundraising dinner (entry $5000-plus) and live auction will be held in Auckland.

A couple of items pledged so far are a Lexus car and a US holiday with return airfares.

The auction system will be provided by Trade Me, which has run more than 1.5 million online auctions in 3½ years’ trading.

Team NZ chief executive Ross Blackman said the cup defender was down to finding the last 4% of funding. “This money will be topping up a firm budget,” he said.

Team NZ’s first new boat will be launched at the end of next month, and it second new boat a month later, to be on the water while the Louis Vuitton challenger series is conducted on the Hauraki Gulf.

Bayleys has conducted charity auctions, but nothing of this size. Mr Davidson said it wasn’t envisaged as a soft entry to online auctions, but the company was always prepared to look at new ideas. The charity auction could draw people unused to the internet into inspecting properties online — and that could lead to online auctions.

He said ebay did a few online property auctions, mostly of distressed sales.

Bayleys has built strong international interest in its business through online promotion of its various portfolios, but the auctions are always held in the auction room.

The real estate company is based in the Maritime Square office precinct of Viaduct Harbour and has an obvious interest in generating development of the Viaduct.

“Developments in the Viaduct need these types of events [the cup] to make them work,” Mr Davidson said.

Continue Reading

Bluewater gets Britomart nod

Decision by 27 February or Melview back in picture

Auckland City Council voted unanimously on Thursday night to negotiate with the Bluewater consortium (Cooper & Stebbins Ltd, Phillimore Properties Ltd & Multiplex Constructions Ltd) to redevelop the Britomart aboveground sites.

But if certain issues aren’t resolved by 27 February, the council has the discretion to resume negotiating with the other finalist, Melview Developments Ltd.

Britomart covers 5.2ha in downtown Auckland between Quay and Customs Sts, Britomart Place & Queen Elizabeth II Square.

Cllr Douglas Armstrong, who chaired the working party established to consider the proposals and make a recommendation to the council, said there was still plenty of negotiation before the final outcome was known.

“The council has undertaken an extremely rigorous assessment process and this is a complex decision to make. It’s important to stress no single factor was the reason for this decision and that both the Bluewater consortium and Melview Developments have put together very good proposals.

“We are very conscious of the need to get this important project under way and hope to be able to conclude negotiations by 27 February. However, if certain commercial details & other issues aren’t resolved by then we have the discretion to recommence negotiations with Melview Developments,” he said.

An evaluation panel which included council property development, city planning, community planning & heritage specialists and independent architects & urban design experts considered a wide range of factors.
Cllr Armstrong said until negotiations are concluded & contracts signed, “we’re not able to release details of either proposal. But rest assured both paint an exciting future for downtown Auckland.”

He said the council would make a further announcement on or before 27 February.

Continue Reading
WordPress Appliance - Powered by TurnKey Linux