Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Takapuna project on hold

Developers release image of $250m plan as they await news of council interest in land.

An artist's impression of how the planned new buildings would appear from the beachfront reserve. Photo / Supplied
An artist's impression of how the planned new buildings would appear from the beachfront reserve. Photo / Supplied

Further details of a grand $250 million Takapuna property scheme have emerged but council plans for the area could stop it getting off the drawing board.

Chris Arbuckle, Crown Asia-Pacific Group chief executive, released an image showing how a big group of new buildings planned there would appear from the beachfront reserve if they are built.

The scheme from architects Ignite aims to transform the area where building backs face the beach and turn new structures towards the water, using a carparking site and existing Hurstmere Rd blocks.

Crown's deep site of nearly a hectare runs from 53 to 77 Hurstmere Rd and back towards the waterfront and The Strand, an access roadway from Lake Rd to the roundabout at the Anzac St/Hurstmere Rd roundabout.

But the apartment, business hotel, cafes, restaurants and shops scheme reached an impasse a few weeks ago when Auckland Council indicated it may want part of that site as open space.

The council wants to increase the size of its 4.3ha beachfront reserve but Crown wants to develop 53, 55, 57, 65, 67-73, 77 and 77A Hurstmere Rd.

Crown founder and owner John Copson owns the land and before he became aware of the council's scheme, commissioned architect Jeremy Whelan of Ignite to design buildings around a central public courtyard area.

"My real concern is to transform Takapuna and get back the vibrancy it once had," Copson said.

Chris Darby of the Devonport Takapuna Local Board said there was nothing stopping Copson from applying for a resource consent to go ahead with the scheme because the council was merely looking at various options.

But Arbuckle challenged this yesterday, indicating Crown's position was that it would be wasting its money when the council had already made it clear it was eyeing the land.

"Why would we want to spend a significant amount of money when nothing is decided?" Arbuckle asked.

Arbuckle also said the council had indicated it wanted to realign The Strand, indicating it would demolish the Colmar Brunton building near the Crown site and run the road through the centre of Crown's land.

Arbuckle wrote to the council's John Dunshea, Roger Blakeley and Penny Pirrit, taking issue with The Strand changes.

"We are not in agreement with council's proposals," Arbuckle wrote. "Instead of getting cafes and retail edges and people as close to the reserve and beach as possible, using the Crown site as the catalyst, it seeks to push the interactive edge further back from the beach and put the focus on the street, not one of the best beaches in the city."


Seaside change

John Copson's Crown Asia-Pacific:

*Aims to return vibrancy to area.

*Wants to strengthen promenade area.

*Cites Mission Bay/St Heliers as good examples.

*Plans to connect Hurstmere Rd to the beach.

- NZ Herald

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