Waterfront Auckland's John Dalzell is "very excited" by the mind-blowing designs internationally-rated architects have presented for the next phase of Wynyard Quarter's development.
He says negotiations are now down to the wire for the residential phase of the development.
And just two players are left in the race to win the contract to design and build a new hotel on the waterfront.
One is New Zealand's Willis Bond, a Wellington-based firm which has deployed well-known Kiwi architects like Ian Athfield. Among its current Wellington projects are the $175 million Chews Lane redevelopment and the $140 million Overseas Passenger Terminal redevelopment into an apartment complex.
China's Fu Wah, chaired by one of China's most successful and wealthiest entrepreneurs - Madam Chen Lihua - is the other contender. Time magazine rated Chen among the world's 100 most influential people last year.
A 5500sq m site on the western edge of the Viaduct Harbour has been earmarked for a 200-room five-star hotel, offering a prime location.
Dalzell says Waterfront Auckland has set a "high jump" for this phase. The council-controlled organisation has insisted on a partnership approach where the community's interests also have to be considered.
He expects the new developments to have an even bigger impact on the evolving Auckland city-scape than Jellicoe St with its plethora of snazzy restaurants and bars.