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old thinking and action needed to revitalise Hamilton

10 September 2015

Bold thinking and action needed to revitalise Hamilton’s city centre

Property Council Waikato Branch is calling for action to revitalise Hamilton’s city centre.

In a CBD Manifesto released today, the Branch outlines a number of critical recommendations necessary to rejuvenate the city centre into a thriving hub that can help attract investment and growth opportunities.

Property Council Branch President Rob Dol says the spin-offs will benefit the wider Waikato economy. “Hamilton is on the cusp of change. This is a really exciting period of potential transformation for Hamilton as regional growth continues and investors look south of Auckland for new opportunities.

“For too long, plans for Hamilton’s CBD have been made or discussed with little action or implementation. This is for a number of reasons, which we need to change. If we fail, Hamilton will lose out to other cities like Tauranga.”

The existing situation in the city centre – of ageing building stock, changing consumer behaviour and retail development in alternative locations, and poor transport options – has led to dispersed employment, anti-social behaviour, decreased investment in the city centre, and fewer people to support retail and hospitality.

The Manifesto calls for better collaboration between political leaders, policy makers, the private sector and the wider community.

“We’re calling for a real, combined effort to change this situation. We’re launching this Manifesto today to start the discussion and engagement with other stakeholders, but more importantly, we’re looking for action.”

The Manifesto makes the following key recommendations:

1.Hamilton City Council (HCC) enables the rejuvenation of the CBD through bold and innovative policies, regulations, and strategies, for example, enabling greater mixed-use development and medium-high density housing in the CBD and on its fringe.

2.HCC, in conjunction with the private sector, develops a CBD masterplan. This will deliver the vision, strategy, and policies for the rejuvenation of the CBD.

3.The Urban Design Panel is empowered to provide independent and quality design review for all developments, allowing outstanding outcomes to prevail.

4.An empowered CBD Board, made up of local government and private sector members, is established to shape and champion the CBD.

5.HCC and the private sector establish a joint economic development organisation that will promote investment, business, and development initiatives in Hamilton.

6.HCC undertakes more objective research to make informed decisions.

Property Council Waikato Branch is launching its CBD Manifesto at an event today at 3PM Riverbank Lane, 298 Victoria Street. For more information visit www.propertynz.co.nz/waikato (upcoming events) or email Tracey Plank tracey@propertynz.co.nz


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