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Britomart aboveground development one step closer


Britomart aboveground development one step closer

After months of careful deliberation, the largest single heritage protection project ever undertaken in New Zealand took a big step forward yesterday when the Auckland City Council voted unanimously to negotiate with the Bluewater Consortium.

Councillor Douglas Armstrong, chairperson of the council’s working party established to consider the proposals and make a recommendation to council, says that while council’s decision was a milestone in the process, there is still much negotiation to take place before the final outcome is known.

“The council has undertaken an extremely rigorous assessment process and this is a complex decision to make,” says Mr Armstrong. “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 underway and hope to be able to conclude negotiations by 27 February next year. However, if certain commercial details and other issues aren’t resolved by then we have the discretion to recommence negotiations with Melview Developments,” he says.

In July this year the council announced the request for proposals process for the Britomart aboveground development was down to the two parties, who then submitted more detailed proposals by 29 August.

The proposals have been carefully assessed by the working party and an evaluation panel which included property development, city planning, community planning and heritage specialists from Auckland City as well as independent architects and urban design experts.

Both proposals were evaluated against the following criteria: the ability to meet Auckland City’s objectives (see note to editors) the suitability and quality of the new development (incorporating old and new buildings) acceptability of the programme for development (timeframe) the financial capability of the proponent price any other factor deemed relevant by the council. “The Britomart project was first proposed back in 1973. It’s had 30 years of planning, consultation and evaluation and we have now reached the crucial final stages,” says Mr Armstrong.

“Until negotiations have concluded and contracts have been signed, we’re not able to release details of either proposal but rest assured both paint an exciting future for downtown Auckland.”

A further announcement on the Britomart aboveground development will be made on or before 27 February 2004.

Ends

Note to editors:

Britomart is a transport, heritage and urban revitalisation project covering a 5.2 hectare site in downtown Auckland between Quay and Customs Streets, Britomart Place and Queen Elizabeth Square. In 1999 Auckland City adopted a basic principle, which was that the future of the site be determined with the help of its owners - the Auckland public. As a result of public feedback the council developed the following objectives for the Britomart Project:

to provide a transport interchange (now in operation) the creation of a low rise heritage based area where the city meets the sea the creation of an environment which contains a rich mix of activities and ensures the area is vibrant 24 hours a day an upgrade and revitalisation of the area which ensures a people-dominated and safe environment reinforce and reinvigorate retailing in the downtown area. Using these principles, in 2000 the council ran a design competition for the Britomart Project which was won by Mario Madayag and Jasmax Architects. The winning design formed the basis of the Britomart masterplan. Last year Auckland City called for proposals from developers for the area’s heritage buildings and large development site, based on the agreed masterplan. The council had received 14 proposals when submissions closed on 18 December 2002. In March, Auckland City shortlisted four proposals from the original 14. The four parties were then required to develop their plans, timetables, financial details and provide other information. One of the heritage buildings, MSAS House, was withdrawn from the process earlier this year, pending the outcome of a case between Auckland City and Krukziener Properties which will be heard in the Court of Appeal in March 2004. In July, Auckland City announced that Melview Developments and Bluewater Consortium were the final contenders. Bluewater Consortium is made up of Cooper and Stebbins, Phillimore Properties and Multiplex Ltd.

For further information on the history of the Britomart Project please visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/council/projects/britomart

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