$200m hotel to start in 2016

2732d2a065c325feee5f01f2d26371c5175b91fb_620x311Work on a $200 million luxury hotel on Auckland’s waterfront will start next year after the project was granted resource consent this week.

Auckland Council’s Panuku Development Auckland branch made the announcement this morning. The building will be one of the largest Chinese investments in New Zealand infrastructure.

The hotel – to be referred to as the Park Hyatt Auckland – will be managed by the world-renowned Hyatt Group and will be built with the help of the Fu Wah International Group, which announced its plans for the hotel in November.

The group will invest around $200 million in the project, with $2.5 million going to the development of a new space for the public immediately around the hotel, which will be located at Wynyard Quarter.

The building will bring an element of extravagance to the area, standing at seven storeys high.

It will have 195 rooms, a ballroom, entertainment facilities, health centre and day spa and will have a total floor area of 29,000sq m.

Panuku Development Auckland’s interim chief, John Dalzell, said having a quality hotel in the city would create a new standard of “premium accommodation” in the region.

“This is a landmark site for Wynyard Quarter and is deserving of a building of the standard the developer and its design team have come up with,” he said.

“It’s great to see it pass this latest milestone and we look forward to the positive impact the hotel will have on the waterfront and the region.”

Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism John Key yesterday praised the new hotel, saying that it would provide a huge boost for local tourism.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown, who is in China, said that such a hotel would help not only to attract the very rich to Auckland, but would also create more jobs in the city’s business district.

“This hotel means more jobs and a strong step into the lucrative but largely untapped high-net-worth individuals tourism sector – which will be a huge benefit to Auckland’s economy and future.”

The hotel will open in 2017.


  • NZ Herald

$4.2 billion for Auckland transport

SCCZEN_A_180615NZHJOTRAINS08_620x310The Government and Auckland Council have today signed off terms of reference setting out how central and local government will work together to develop the city’s transport system.

Finance Minister Bill English said more than 700,000 additional people were expected to live in Auckland by 2045.

“Long-term solutions for Auckland’s transport system are central to ensuring it remains a great place to live and do business, and it is also important for the economy as a whole.”

“This population growth means Auckland will need another 400,000 houses over this time frame – and transport infrastructure is key to delivering this.”

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said that together the Government and Council planned to invest $4.2 billion in Auckland’s transport system over the next three years.

“While that work will continue as agreed on the roads, public transport, walkways and cycle ways, we are now turning our focus to the next three decades and beyond.

“The Government and Council broadly agree on the priorities for the transport system, and we are particularly focussed on addressing congestion and increasing public transport use,” he said.

The terms of reference set out a structure under which officials from the Ministry of Transport, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency, Treasury and the State Services Commission would work together to test alternative options for how the transport system could develop.

A preferred approach was expected to be presented by officials in about one year.

“The Government and Council will then consider the preferred approach and how it may be delivered, including whether changes might be needed to legislation and funding arrangements,” Mr Bridges said.

The Automobile Association, Auckland Business Forum and Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) welcomed progress on the joint transport project.

Auckland Business Forum chairman Michael Barnett said he hoped it put an end to Auckland-Wellington feuding on the city’s transport priorities.

EMA chief executive Kim Campbell said the city was struggling to cope with growth, 7000 new cars were being registered every month and there was a compelling case for further spending on transport.

“We want to see funding streams and time frames for moving these vital projects along,” Mr Campbell said.


  • The Herald
  • Photo – Jason Oxenham

Commissioners to decide on SkyCity

NZICC_HobsonStreetView_620x310_620x310A resource consent applications for Sky City’s new convention centre will proceed without the public having a say.

The decision to proceed on a non-notified basis was made by independent commissioners David Hill, Rebecca Skidmore and Kitt Littlejohn.

The three commissioners will decide whether to approve the application in the coming months.

The commissioners considered the environmental effects of the application, as well as the recent decision about the Ports of Auckland Ltd resource consent application, in coming to their conclusion on notification.

The new design, released in May, revealed a smaller convention centre, which will require SkyCity to increase its spend from the $402 million agreed in 2013 to $430 million. The casino company said it might end up spending $450 million-$470 million after earlier saying it might need public money to build a centre for $530 million.

The application, before Auckland Council, is to establish a convention centre as well as an underground carpark with 1415 spaces, a 30-bed hotel, a pedestrian overpass over Hobson St and upgrading the streetscapes on Hobson and Nelson Streets.

The commissioners took into account the recent ruling by Justice Geoffrey Venning in the controversial case of two wharf extensions at Ports of Auckland where the judge said “special circumstances” existed which required public notification.

The commissioner said they did not consider there were any “special circumstances” warranting notification of the convention centre application.

“We are aware that the funding agreements in place between the Government and application have been the subject of public and media interest in recent times, particularly as this relates to the partial public funding of the proposed convention centre.

“However, these are matters of governance and public expenditure that have little, if anything, to do with the environmental effects of a relatively straightforward building project for a public facility in the heart of Auckland,” the commissioners said.

In a statement, SkyCity chief executive Nigel Morrison said the decision is good news for the project and allows the company to move ahead with selecting a construction partner and finalising a date for turning the first sod on the landmark building.

“We now await the final resource consent decision, to be finalised by the independent commissioners over the next few months,” Mr Morrison said

“We are continuing to work towards signing a binding building works contract for the NZICC by October and then commencing construction by the end of 2015.”

The 33,000 sqm convention centre will be capable of hosting meetings of up to 3,150 people, two concurrent events of 1,200 delegates each, and one-off events of up to 4,200 people. The NZICC will be the largest purpose-built convention centre in the country.

SkyCity also plans to construct a new laneway that will provide Aucklanders and visitors with a new public space, featuring shops, cafes, bars and quality signature restaurants like those on nearby Federal Street, he said.

SkyCity is currently progressing the preliminary design of the hotel and, as previously indicated, is exploring options with external investors for the development and future ownership of the hotel.


  • Bernard Orsman
  • NZ Herald

    “We’re pleased that momentum is continuing to build on the NZICC project, bringing jobs, growth, and much-needed economic investment in downtown Auckland,” Mr Morrison said.

The project

The proposed International Convention Centre will be 38,000 sqm on four levels.

It will include:
• Exhibition space: 8600 sqm of exhibition space for 3500 people in three halls.
• Theatre: To seat 3000 people for presentations or stripped out for large banquets and other events.
• Gallery: A series of bridges connecting people to meeting rooms and theatres across the levels.
• Meeting rooms: 3000 sqm of meeting rooms and breakout spaces. Walls can be moved to adjust the size of the areas.
• Sunset Room: To accommodate up to 1000 people for dinner or cocktails. It will look across the upper harbour and Waitakere Ranges.

SkyPath gains consent

skypath_620x310The SkyPath cycling and walking attachment to the Auckland Harbour Bridge has been granted resource consent.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown says the decision is “a real game changer” for the city.

“This exciting project is another part of the physical uniting of Auckland,” Mr Brown said.

“Besides being of enormous benefit to cyclists, it’s a fabulous opportunity for Aucklanders and visitors to the city to walk across and have great views of our spectacular harbour.”.

The decision of the planning commissioners follow a hearing last month on the $33.5 million scheme.

Conceived as a community initiative, SkyPath will be financed by private sector funding as well as by the Auckland Council, where users pay an entrance fee to fund its construction and operation.

The covered pathway is planned to be a minimum of 4m wide, extending to 6m at five viewing platforms and is expected users will have to pay a toll of between $2 and $4 each way.

SkyPath will connect to the Westhaven walking and cycling promenade, where pedestrians, joggers and cyclists can get to the city via Wynyard Quarter.

Mr Brown said the next step to enable the project to proceed will be a report to be completed by Council staff on the proposed commercial arrangements and recommendations on how to proceed from there.

The backers of the scheme say the SkyPath will be made of a series of composite material U-beams that clip onto the underside of the eastern edge of the bridge, with a composite foam core deck.

“Horizontal composite rods are spaced out across the enclosure to allow viewing and maintaining safety,” an Auckland Council official said.

Generation Zero, a group working to cut carbon pollution, said it was “elated” that the project has been given the go ahead.

“SkyPath will be an iconic addition to the city, as well as a key transport link,” said group spokesman Sudhvir Singh

The application received 11,586 submissions with 11,413 in support, five neutral and 168 against.

There is a 15 working day appeal period.


  • NZ Herald

Big step for City Rail Link

Britomartstationdrawing_620x310Auckland Council recently announced a big step forward in its City Rail Link project, revealing details of the deal struck with listed landlord Precinct Properties to have underground tunnels built near the waterfront, under a new $550 million glass skyscraper.

Mayor Len Brown described the deal as a milestone and an historic moment for Auckland.

Britomartstationdesign_620x310“This is the first step towards the construction of the CRL. It will lead to an exciting transformation of the public spaces around the Britomart train station area. And it’s an example of how a partnership with the private sector can deliver economic transformation and more jobs in Auckland,” he has just announced.

He also released new images of the Britomart station and a map showing where the tunnels would run.

New rail tunnels must be constructed through the site now occupied by the Downtown Shopping Centre, which Precinct owns, the statement said.

Precinct also owns two adjacent commercial office towers – HSBC Tower at 1 Queen Street and Zurich House at 21 Queen Street, it said.

The deal between the two parties enables the rail tunnels to be built as part of the Downtown Development Project. Elements involved include the sale to Precinct of part of Queen Elizabeth Square for $27.2 million; Payment to Precinct of $9 million for provision of an East-West pedestrian laneway between Queen Street and Albert Street and compensation for tunnels volume; Payment of $10.7 million for additional costs of office tower construction due to CRL tunnels; and the creation of a new downtown civic space between the project and Britomart, the statement said.

Mr Brown said the deal meant a coordinated approach could now be taken to the construction work, with Auckland Transport building the CRL tunnels either side of the Precinct downtown shopping centre site from Britomart to Wyndham Street and Precinct Properties building the tunnels below its site.


  • NZ Herald

Auckland’s waterfront regeneration


Planned laneways for Wynyard Quarter

Much has been said about the waterfront’s role in the revitalisation of Auckland in recent years. The opening up of Wynyard Quarter and Queens Wharf with new public spaces, bars, restaurants and commercial spaces has transformed Aucklanders’ connection with the water’s edge.


A new commercial building proposed for Halsey St, Wynyard Quarter

When you factor in this is just the start of a 25-year project, we’re looking at a level of urban regeneration not seen before in the central city. This requires robust planning and stakeholder engagement, smart investment in public infrastructure, strategic land and asset ownership, and harnessed private sector investment, with a goal of building one of the world’s best urban communities.

The ability of our organisation to span public and private sectors has been instrumental to the work achieved thus far. The quality of plans, the sustainability and design elements of the proposed development and the public’s support, are all far higher than would have been the case if either the public or the private sector alone had been tasked with developing the waterfront.

The strategic use of public investment in infrastructure has played a critical role in this regard. By establishing public spaces and streetscapes to an outstanding level of design, sustainability and excellence, we have signalled to the investment market the type and quality of development we are seeking.

Projects such as Jellicoe St, North Wharf, Westhaven Promenade, Karanga Plaza, and Daldy St Park are demonstrations of how we envisage the entire Wynyard Quarter and waterfront developing.

The financial leverage of these investments in infrastructure is tangible. We have carefully structured partnership arrangements with our lead investors and developers in a way that will ensure Auckland’s ratepayers have a share of the value uplift as the surrounding sites are developed. Equally important are intangible benefits in how the public and private spaces will knit together.


Plans for apartments and townhouses in the area

That has not happened in isolation, as right from the start, it’s been recognised that activity makes a community as much as the hard infrastructure. That is why we emphasise place-making — ensuring that well-planned activities and events activate the wonderful public spaces that we are designing and developing.

This lays the groundwork for the community we are striving to attract and from that point it has been all about a preparedness to look at a new way of partnering with the private sector. This requires an allocation of risk and reward relative to the set of development tasks the partnership entails to ensure there is a fair and equitable return for the parties involved.

That approach enables us to look at areas of innovation in the progression of a more sustainable and liveable approach to the next phase of development which will include a new Park Hyatt Hotel, a range of residential living options and a commitment to a vibrant and growing hub of commercial space.

The new development partnership agreements include not only “essential outcomes” that developers must adhere to but also stretch targets. This results in developments that provide better liveability and sustainability than other comparable developments across the city. An independent design review process and new tools such as a custom Wynyard Quarter Green Star Rating tool have been developed to support this progressive approach.


Artists impression of Daldy St.

A quality assurance mechanism is critical too and as developments get underway, we will work with our investor/development partners to monitor their performance in achieving both the essential outcomes and the stretch targets.

To achieve the above requires strong leadership with vision at a governance and management level playing a critical part in building community participation and partnerships with business and stakeholders.

A commitment to international relationship-making to foster and open and collaborative exchange have helped in this regard by providing access to the best international thinking. A string of awards both locally and internationally in recent years has been a testimony to this.

There is immense interest and the potential now to reframe the Auckland Council’s role in urban regeneration for the region in the future, building what has been delivered on the waterfront in the last eight years.

John Dalzell is Chief Executive of Waterfront Auckland.


  • NZ Herald

$550m tower for Auckland CBD

PRECINCT_Downtown_FerrNZX giant listed landlord Precinct Properties has announced details of its $550 million Downtown skyscraper for Auckland’s CBD and a deal to pay Auckland Council $27.2 million for part of Queen Elizabeth Square.

Scott Pritchard, Precinct chief executive, released the first images of the huge new 36-level glass tower to be built on what is now the Downtown Westfield site between the square, Lower Albert St, Customs St East and Quay St.

The decision means one of the final hurdles to the planned City Rail Link has now been cleared.

Precinct’s 1900 sqm square purchase is conditional on successful rezoning of the land which includes the road stopping process and a plan change so commercial development on what is now public land can go ahead, Precinct said in an investor presentation released to the NZX this morning.

“Auckland Council will use funds to provide alternate public space,” Precinct said, also citing “an agreement with Auckland Council to provide an east-west pedestrian laneway through the Downtown development, linking key transport infrastructure.”

Precinct is only buying part of the square – the area where the volcano fire/fountain now stands outside Whitcoulls, between the HSBC Tower and the Zurich block.

Longer-term council plans are to abolish the busy road which now runs through the centre of that square on public land and shift buses further into Britomart and a block west to Lower Albert St.

Precinct aims to begin building its giant glass skyscraper next year and has also struck a deal with Auckland Transport, so tunnels for the City Rail Link are built, ready for that big public project to proceed.

Pritchard said the skyscraper’s costs have risen 10 per cent from $400 million-$500 million to $550 million due to plans for a larger building as well as construction cost escalations.

Auckland Transport will pay Precinct $9 million compensation for the tunnels’ volume and a further $10.7 million for the additional costs of the developer straddling the land with its piles for the enormous tower.

Precinct described that last aspect of the deal as “payment of additional costs of office tower construction due to CRL tunnels $10.7 million.”

All that provides Precinct with the ability to proceed with its Downtown tower development and it said it also reduced the CRL costs to Auckland Transport.


  • NZ Herald

Race for convention centre deadline

A_060713HOSSPLCONVENTION1_620x310SkyCity has unveiled an artist’s impression of the proposed Convention Centre, but no start has been been made on construction, and no consent applications have been lodged.

SkyCity’s international convention centre is facing a tough deadline with nothing built, no land cleared so it can be built and no consents applied for so building can start.

SkyCity and the Government have a September 2017 completion date for the centre and a three-year construction time.

The date is specified in the contract between the two parties, in which the casino company agreed to pay $402 million to build the convention centre in return for relaxing of gambling laws.

And even if it were met, long-term booking dates for conventions make it unlikely any will be booked before 2019.

Sticking points appear to be design wrangles between SkyCity and the Auckland Council. The council has objected to some aspects of the design, including the air bridge SkyCity wants to link the casino and convention centre.

Economic development minister Steven Joyce said the deadline was “challenging”.

“It all depends on the process it has to go through for the Resource Management Act consenting process. That depends a fair bit on the design and how it fits into the permitted envelope.”

He said the September 2017 date was still the goal.

Mr Joyce said there had been no change in SkyCity’s contribution or the Government’s concessions.

The contract with the Government shows the gambling concessions take effect when building starts. It also shows the casino company has a lot of room to move the 2017 deadline, with years of grace before it is in breach.

Auckland Council economic development manager Harvey Brookes said staff were working with SkyCity to “help ensure the facility meets Auckland Council’s design aspirations”.

He said no consent had been sought, and it was not possible to know whether it would have to be publicly notified until the application had been submitted.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand chief executive Sue Sullivan said bookings for large conventions were made four to five years ahead.

There was “significant interest” in the SkyCity project, but bookings wouldn’t come until building started.

“No one will start talking about a venue until they have good, firm dates.

“When they get firm dates, and some have said when the first sod is turned, then they will be out.”

A year after signing the contract, SkyCity doesn’t have an executive with a permanent responsibility for the project. The “project director” who started last November has recently left. A SkyCity spokeswoman said a new director was being recruited.

She said the company hoped to put a resource consent application in before the end of the year.

“The date of project completion depends on when resource consent is approved. An opening date will become clearer once resource consent has been granted.”


NZ Herald

Auckland Council backs home construction plan

The Auckland Council has unanimously backed the Housing Accord with the Government to fast track the construction of 39,000 new homes over three years.

The agreement notifies or effectively puts Auckland’s proposed new Unitary Plan in place, allowing new housing developments to gain consents more quickly.


“We can now get on with the actions agreed in the Housing Accord – unlocking new land for development and fast-tracking the build of more affordable homes in Auckland,” Auckland Mayor Len Brown said.

Today’s decision by the council follows the passing of the Government’s Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act last week. The Act allows for the establishment of special housing areas with a streamlined consent process.

“The next step will be to identify the first batch of Special Housing Areas that will contribute to the 39,000 extra homes provided for under the Accord over the next three years,” Housing Minister Nick Smith said.

“My ambition is to provide sufficient Special Housing Areas by Christmas to accommodate an additional 5000 homes.”


  • Adam Bennett
  • NZ Herald

Major Infrastructure plans for Auckland

The Government will push major roading projects In Auckland including a wider southern motorway, upgraded roading to the airport, and a freight corridor in Manukau before it begins work on the City Rail Link and a second Waitemata Harbour Crossing, Prime Minister John Key has revealed this afternoon.

mapAuckTransport1 (1)

Mr Key confirmed that Government would back Auckland’s three top transport priorities – the City Rail Link, another Waitemata Harbour crossing, and the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI), which includes the East-West Link.

“These three projects are all identified as the highest transport priorities in the Council’s Auckland Plan,” he said. “They have a price tag of around $10 billion and they are projects that need to be planned for over a long period of time.”

The harbour crossing will be twin tunnels under the Waitemata – the option of another bridge has been ruled out – and construction was expected to start between 2025 and 2030. Auckland Council would begin protecting land for the development in December once the alignment of the crossing had been finalised.

Mr Key said construction of the City Rail Link would not begin until 2020 unless employment levels in the central city climbed by 25 per cent and annual rail trips hit 20 million a year.

“We will consider an earlier start date if it becomes clear that Auckland’s CBD employment and rail patronage growth hit thresholds faster than current rates of growth suggest.

“I realise 2020 is not what the Council leadership is wanting, but while we may differ on timeframes, there is clear recognition by the Government that the project will be needed to address access to the Auckland CBD and improve the efficiency of rail.”

Total rail trips are around 11 million a year.

Mr Key confirmed that the Government’s “next major focus” for Auckland would be the AMETI project, which is already underway but was not scheduled to be completed for 20 years.

“Given the importance of the area, delivering these projects over 20 years is simply not acceptable.”

Government has asked the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) which parts of AMETI could be accelerated with additional funding.

“As you know, the area between Onehunga, Mt Wellington and East Tamaki is home to a number of industrial and logistics businesses that make a critical contribution to the Auckland and national economy.

“About as many people are employed here as in the CBD and there is considerable potential for more growth.

“However, the transport links in and out of this area aren’t up to the job.

“Truck drivers have told us they can get stuck in congestion at any time during the working day and a seven-minute trip between Metroport and the Onehunga wharf can take as long as 40 minutes.”

The $2.6 billion project included a $1.1 billion East-West Link, a road between Mt Wellington and Onehunga.

Government also planned to fast-track three NZTA projects:

– A motorway-to-motorway link between the Upper Harbour Highway and the Northern Motorway at Constellation Drive

– Widening of the Southern Motorway between Manukau and Papakura

– Upgrade of the State Highway 20A link to the airport to motorway standard

These developments were designed to reduce congestion, capitalise on the benefits of the Western Ring Route, and improve access to the airport.

Mr Key said: “Under current funding assumptions, construction of these projects may be up to 10 years away from starting.

“But the Government is not prepared to wait that long.”

Government will consult with NZTA on how to bring these projects forward, and will provide additional funding to make this happen.

The transport package did not mention rail to the airport, which was no longer one of the highest priorities for the Auckland Council.

It has not yet been made clear how Government will source its funding for its share of these projects, but the Prime Minister has confirmed that some of the $2.86 billion rail link could be paid for with proceeds from asset sales.


  • NZ Herald
  • Isaac Davison
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