Steady progress with Wynyard Quarter vision on Auckland’s waterfront
by Melanie McKay on 18 Mar 2009
Sea+City Projects Ltd is making steady progress in Wynyard Quarter development in the old Viaduct and Tank Farm area of Auckland Harbour - the tanks are being removed; the upgrade of North Wharf will be completed this year; the design team for the first retail/entertainment precinct in Jellicoe Street has started work; and collaboration with the existing marine sector is achieving promising results.
The proposed final development for Wynyard Quarter, looking east with Auckland City behind Sea+City www.seacity.co.nz
While it is early days yet, the concept plans for the public spaces along North Wharf hold some exciting prospects for fishing and the seafood markets.
Sea+City CE and Project Director, John Dalzell, says the management company is committed to Wynyard Quarter’s revitalisation, which will give Aucklanders a waterfront they can be proud of.
'At the moment we are taking advantage of a lull in the property cycle to get keen prices for some of the essential infrastructure work, and continuing with design and planning. We’re concentrating on the development of the first marine industrial sites, and we are starting to talk to prospective tenants for North Wharf. Then, as we get to a different stage of the property cycle, we will be well placed to vary our activity and investment levels to suit our perceptions of market conditions,' he says.
Wynyard Quarter on Auckland’s waterfront, formerly known as the Tank Farm, will be transformed in stages over the next 25 years into a harbourside community with parks and plazas, apartments, shops and offices alongside the traditional marine and fishing industries.
More than 8ha of land has been cleared of tanks and buildings over the last five years. There are new vistas of the harbour and of Rangitoto that were not there before and more will be opened up as the redevelopment process continues.
In recent months, tens of thousands of Aucklanders have visited Wynyard Quarter, to enjoy major events and attractions as diverse as fashion shows, marathons, seafood festivals, international sailing regattas and boat shows.
While down here, many people discovered Halsey Street Wharf extension, where the Marine Events Centre will play a valuable role in staging events in future. A feature of the Louis Vuitton Pacific series was also a motorised pontoon bridge linking Te Wero Island with Wynyard Quarter, allowing people to walk to and from the nearby CBD, while still permitting boats to come and go from the inner Viaduct Harbour. Wynyard Quarter was effectively connected with the rest of the developed city’s waterfront,' says Mr Dalzell.
Whether they were aware of it or not, visitors who enjoyed all of these attractions were also generally visiting Wynyard Quarter itself, which will become one of the city’s major attractions in its own right.
Work has already begun on the first retail and entertainment precinct in Jellicoe Street. The western end of Jellicoe St will have a marine focus, and will be connected to the fishing-focused eastern end by a fantastic public space. A team of designers has been appointed to work in collaboration developing these areas and, importantly, the public space which frames these activities.
'On the western edge of Wynyard Quarter we are responding to the marine industry’s immediate need by endeavouring to facilitate development to stimulate economic growth and create more jobs. An early blueprint for the area is already out for consultation with sectors of the marine industry, and we hope to have all the feedback in and the overall plan finalised by June,' says Mr Dalzell.
The marine industry will have a home and facilities for superyacht commission, servicing and refit in Wynyard Quarter, which will help Auckland compete with Australia for this international business, and a cluster of related businesses to deliver a total package of services will be maintained. The Westhaven businesses will work co-operatively with a superyacht construction cluster established at Hobsonville. New vessels launched there can have their final fit-out work, commissioning and testing managed out of Wynyard Quarter.
As well as being home to the fishing industry, the eastern end of Jellicoe Street will have restaurants, bars and large public spaces. Fishing boats will come and go from North Wharf, which will become a retail and entertainment strip in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2011. The rebuilding of the wharf will be finished later this year.
'It’s a real milestone for us with this project to have appointed a talented team of designers for Jellicoe Street and North Wharf, who will help make ours a user-friendly and truly world-class part of Auckland’s waterfront. They are currently working through concept designs and have some great ideas,' says John Dalzell.
Over the next 25 years around 29 hectares of Auckland’s waterfront within Wynyard Quarter will be transformed in stages into a harbourside community with parks and plazas, apartments, shops and offices alongside the traditional marine and fishing industries. It is one of the largest waterfront urban renewal developments ever undertaken in New Zealand.
The regeneration project is a cooperative venture co-funded by Auckland Regional Holdings (ARH), the majority landowner, and Auckland City Council, which will own the roads, promenades, wharfs, parks and plazas. Auckland City Council will also share ownership of the large headland park with Auckland Regional Council (ARC).
ARH established Sea City Projects Ltd (SCPL) to manage the revitalisation, and its commercial land north of Pakenham Street. Auckland City Council has appointed SCPL to project manage the design and construction of the public areas throughout Wynyard Quarter. ARH is a statutory investment management entity and part of the Auckland Regional Council group.
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