Downtown Framework

There has been quite a bit of public buzz around the Downtown Framework that was presented to Council recently. The report provides a range of options for the downtown area that includes 12 major pieces of work including QE2 Square, Quay St and the central city wharves in conjunction with the first stage of the construction of the $2.5 billion City Rail Loop.

It’s great to see this level of commitment to the central city, especially when budgets are being so tightly managed. $450 million+ is a substantial commitment. The framework starts to articulate how these projects, previously presented in strategic documents like the Auckland Plan and the City Centre Masterplan, could be delivered in terms of timing and how the projects relate to each other from a design sense. One of the major considerations for delivering these projects will be how the city is "kept moving” during construction

As mentioned in our last email, there is a substantial amount of activity planned for the city centre over the next 10 year timeframe. The Downtown Framework is the first of five frameworks to be developed. It covers the area between Customs Street, the Viaduct Harbour and Britomart Place. 

With those 8 areas there are 12 projects that the council are looking at over the next decade and a further 4 projects that could happen in the future. The projects for the next decade are:
  1. City Rail Link – Enabling works proposed to construct tunnel sections from Britomart to up Albert Street beyond Customs St allowing other projects to be completed without further disruption.
  2. Lower Queen Street – Proposed relocation of the buses from Lower Queen St provides opportunity for a new public square.
  3. Queens Wharf – The redevelopment of Queens Wharf will deliver significant new public space as well as accommodating ferry and cruise operations
  4. Quay Street – Quay Street is planned to be transformed into Auckland premier waterfront boulevard that will connect to various parts of the wider waterfront.
  5. Downtown Bus Interchange – The proposed new interchange will be divided between Lower Albert St and Britomart Transport Centre and enable the new public space on Lower Albert St.
  6. Fanshawe Street Urban Busway – The Fanshawe St upgrade will see an extension of the Northern Busway into the CBD.
  7. Customs Street Upgrade – The upgrade of Customs St will deliver reliability improvements for both buses and private vehicles.
  8. Ferry Basin Redevelopment – The redevelopment is to accommodate forecast growth in ferry services
  9. Downtown Shopping Centre Block Redevelopment – Precinct Properties are embarking on a comprehensive redevelopment of the block including a new retail offering and commercial tower.
  10. Beach Road Cycleway – This will become a key link with wider connections into the city including the Grafton Gully Cycleway.
  11. Seawall Upgrade – The seawall between Princes and Marsden Wharf is to be seismically upgraded
  12. Central Wharves Strategy – The strategy is to address competing demands on the water space and to make best use of the wharf space available to allow growth in cruise, ferry and port activities.
And the four future projects are:
  1. Hobson Street Flyover Removal – The future removal of the Hobson Street Flyover provides a significant opportunity for additional public space and further connection to the waterfront
  2. Downtown Carpark Redevelopment – The car park site is a significant opportunity for a potential commercial development and represents one of the last large development sites on the waterfront.
  3. Federal Laneway Extension – The CCMP identified an ambition to extend Federal Street between Customs and Quay St to provide a new link to the waterfront.
  4. Central Wharfs & Breastworks Opportunities – The Central Wharves and Breastworks represent an opportunity to work with POAL to maximise public space whilst allowing for port growth
Source: Transport Blog

On the face of it there is a lot to like about the plans as they were presented. We see this as beginning of the process. Council have signalled that some of this funding will need to be paid out of the central city targeted rating premium that CBD businesses pay, and we will be engaged on this as part of the consultation process that is planned. The Framework will be published on the Auckland Council website today and will post up this link as soon as it is available.