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$75 Million Cash to Fast-Track Auckland City Rail Link

$75 Million Cash to Fast-Track Auckland City Rail Link

Queen’s Wharf and Queen Elizabeth Square will remain publicly owned under a deal put forward by two Auckland businessmen to fast-track the city’s new rail link.

The kiwi entrepreneurs behind Auckland’s landmark City Works Depot precinct, James Brown, 39 of Freemans Bay, and Simon Rowntree, 39 of Orakei, have today made an unconditional $75 million cash offer for Auckland Council’s downtown car-parking building in need of an upgrade.

Mr Brown and Mr Rowntree have provided a $7.5 million deposit, able to be cashed today on acceptance, with a settlement date for the remaining $67.5 million of 1 July 2014, only 25 days from now.

The $75 million offer includes a significant premium, meaning the transaction would reduce Auckland’s Council’s operating deficit for 2014/15, allowing rates to be lower than they would otherwise be.

Mr Brown and Mr Rowntree, who also operate Tournament Parking, were motivated to make the offer after proposals were made to privatise public space, in the form of Auckland’s iconic Queen’s Wharf and Queen Elizabeth Square.

“The rail link is essential for Auckland but it’s wrong for the Council to sell public space to fund it,” a spokesperson for Mr Brown and Mr Rowntree said today. “This offer would keep Queen’s Wharf and Queen Elizabeth Square in public ownership while providing $75 million cash to kick-start Mayor Len Brown’s vision for long-awaited first-world public transport.”

Mr Brown and Mr Rowntree’s offer includes commitments to protect the interests of Auckland shoppers and commuters. Specifically, their offer includes legally binding commitments not to increase casual parking rates above the rate of inflation for at least five years, and to maintain existing free public access from the car-parking building to Customs Street West, Lower Hobson Street and Albert Street.

“These guys are born-and-bred Aucklanders, they love this city and they’re 100% behind Mayor Brown’s public rail vision,” Mr Brown and Mr Rowntree’s spokesperson said. “This deal will preserve Queen’s Wharf and Queen Elizabeth Square from foreign ownership while providing the cash to make the mayor’s vision for first-world public transport come true.”


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