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Midtown set to flourish with upcoming private developments

News story
Wednesday 17 Aug 2022

We’re seeing confidence in the city centre as property owners and developers continue to invest in their assets through both refurbishments and new builds. There is a notable number of projects clustered in the Midtown area as momentum starts to build toward CRL’s Te Wai Horotiu station opening in the Aotea Quarter (currently planned for late 2024).

In a recent New Zealand Herald article, Nathan Male of Metro Commercial noted the role of the CRL in reinvigorating the area:

 “We expect many more buildings around Aotea Station will be redeveloped to meet occupier demand, as owners understand the true implications of the CRL on Auckland”.

Nathan’s words couldn’t be truer as we look ahead at what’s planned for the area over the coming years. 

Just 50 metres away from the station entrance, the iconic SkyWorld is being transformed into OnQ Entertainment Centre, with a planned refurbishment that will open up the entrances on Queen Street and Bledisloe Lane and rework the interior layout. With existing tenants Event Cinemas and Gold Class, Metrolanes, Odyssey Sensory Maze and Gameon Arcade, and new leasing, the refurbishment positions the building as Auckland’s premier indoor entertainment destination. Current plans show a modern and welcoming feel, with over 20 retail spaces available for lease. Work is expected to get underway soon. Details about the development, including leasing opportunities, are available here.

ONQ exterior, artist impression, subject to change. Artwork provided.

Showcasing sustainable design is a focus for many developments. Both 280 Central and HB Central are aiming for Green Star ratings, joining an increasing list in the heart of the city.

280 Queen Street – now rebranded as 280 Central – was built in 1977. Bought by the Stonewood Group in 2020, they are planning the building’s most ambitious upgrade since 1991. Aiming for a six Green Star rating, the property is being positioned as a mixed-use build, with retail, eateries, a hotel, conference room, bar and rooftop deck. The upper floors will boast extensive views - more information is here.

Artists impression, supplied.

A few doors down, HB Central – 228 Queen Street – is being fully refurbished into a 5 Green Star rating building, with Warren and Mahoney leading the design process. HB Central is part of Morton Property Group’s portfolio and is merging two of Auckland’s oldest buildings to create a modern, mixed-use building that is seismically strengthened and features 2000 sqm of office and circulation spaces while preserving the original character of the property. The commercial space and upper floor office levels will be accessed from Lorne Street via a character café. HB Central also includes 900sqm of retail space that fronts Queen Street and is being leased to Nike, whose flagship store will be opening in September. More information is here.

St James final render. Artist impression.

The St James apartment tower is set to bring hundreds more people to live in the Arts quarter, adding to the growing number of residential builds in the area – such as The CAB. The St James apartment tower is planned to have approximately 400 apartments spread across 43 levels. It is expected to cost $400m+ to build, and will also feature ground floor retail spaces, 400 bike parks and 200 car parks.  With its combination of residential and retail space, it will be of significant benefit to the area, with more people to eat out, shop and be close to their workplace. It's received resource consent approval from Auckland Council. Read more here

There is also a renewed focus on the St James Theatre restoration, with a new call to action for government funding. Read more here.