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New framework outline for a world-class downtown Auckland

Media release

11 September 2014

New framework sets outline for a world-class downtown Auckland

A new framework for downtown Auckland has been launched today, setting out 12 major programmes of work that will help create a world-class area that is able to compete globally to attract investment, tourism and jobs.

The Downtown Framework sets out how the programmes of work fit together, and provides the context for future engagement and decisions on downtown projects.

The framework was approved by the Auckland Development Committee. Committee chair, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, says: “These are really exciting times for Auckland’s city centre. Better transport and great quality public spaces will help it to become globally competitive, attracting businesses, talented people and creating new jobs. This is critical for the future success of all of Auckland.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity here to create a well-functioning, efficient and vibrant downtown. This framework is a major step forward. It sets out principles to guide some of the difficult discussions ahead, including Auckland’s central wharves and how to improve the amount and quality of public space in the city.”


The framework, which is led by Auckland Council’s City Centre Integration team, builds on the momentum of improvements happening across the city centre – including the three new cycleways launched last weekend and the quality walkways being opened this week and next.

Councillors also approved the sale of Queen Elizabeth Square (west of lower Queen Street), to enable other better-quality public spaces to be developed downtown.

The decision follows analysis that the existing square is shaded, windy and not well used; a larger, better-quality civic square could be created by pedestrianising part of lower Queen Street and the sale could fund new, high-quality public space at the waterfront. The three options are at the foot of Albert St, in front of the ferry building and at Admiralty Steps.

City Centre Integration General Manager Rick Walden said: “There has been extensive analysis of the existing space at Queen Elizabeth Square and it falls well short of what downtown Auckland needs. In effect, we are looking at shifting the square into the sun, to create a much better space outside the Britomart station. This would also generate funding for new, better-quality spaces at the water’s edge. Great cities are defined by the quality of their public realm.”

The council’s analysis included a Te Aranga Māori Design Evaluation, which supported the creation of new waterfront spaces instead of the existing Queen Elizabeth Square.

Ends

Notes:

The framework outlines the interrelation of 12 existing programmes, along with four further proposed programmes. These are:

- City Rail Link enabling package

- Downtown Bus Interchange

- Queens Wharf

- Lower Queen Street

- Quay Street and Harbour Edge projects

- Fanshawe Street Urban Busway

- Customs Street Upgrade

- Ferry Basin Redevelopment

- Downtown Shopping Centre block development

- Beach Road Cycleway

- Seawall Upgrade

- Central Wharves Strategy

There are four key future projects highlighted in the document:

- Hobson Street Flyover Removal

- Downtown Carpark Redevelopment

- Federal Street Laneway Extension

- Central Wharves opportunities

The framework will be available online at aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/citycentre within the next 24 hours.


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