Uni to start demolishing brewery in June

By Ben Chapman-Smith

The University of Auckland is going ahead with its purchase of the former Lion Breweries site in Newmarket and will begin demolishing many of the old brewery facilities in June.

New Zealand's biggest tertiary organisation announced a proposal last September to purchase the 5.2ha site following a period of due diligence.

"The due diligence process has now been completed and the University of Auckland Council have confirmed the acquisition of the site, effective 31 May 2013," the University said it in a statement today.

The acquisition was part of a long-term strategy "to create a mixed use campus, with purpose-built teaching and research facilities, student accommodation, business development and other facilities".

Eventually, the university would consolidate its activities at the City, Grafton and Newmarket campuses. Epsom would shift to the City Campus while Tamaki would shift to Newmarket.

The university said work would begin on demolishing many of the old brewery facilities as soon as it took possession of the site in June.

Its first projects will be the total refurbishment of some existing buildings and the construction of a new civil structures hall.

"This work will be a prelude to the extensive refurbishment and new build of the Faculty of Engineering facilities on the City Campus at a cost in the region of $200m," it said.

Development of the site would have "major implications" for Newmarket in in the future.

"The number of people living, or commuting into, Newmarket will at least double over time.

"This influx will affect transport decisions, residential housing, infrastructure, amenities - and, of course, the business direction of Newmarket."

AMP tried to buy the site last decade for about $160 million but ditched those plans when the global financial crisis hit, leaving Lion with the land, after the brewery and food business shifted its hub to South Auckland.

- The Aucklander

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