'The whole area is going to be a fantastic suburb' - Mark McGuinness

Our city's waterfront will be transformed if Auckland stages the next America's Cup in four years time, a construction and development expert says.

Mark McGuinness of luxury apartment specialists Willis Bond said Auckland hosting the event would boost the already major impetus behind the billion-dollar Wynyard Quarter urban regeneration and have a massive impact on the city's skyline.

McGuinness said he had not heard from authorities about where the challenger bases might be, but was referring particularly to speculation about the Wynyard area between the Viaduct Basin and Westhaven where the Herald said on Saturday bases could be established on a wharf extension.

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"The whole area is going to be a fantastic suburb," McGuinness said referring to the new ASB Waterfront Theatre, $200m Park Hyatt now under construction and New Zealand's biggest corporates having already moved to the Wynyard Quarter area: Air New Zealand, Fonterra, Datacom and ASB Bank.

Willis Bond is developing hundreds of new Wynyard Quarter apartments, due to be finished next year, McGuinness said, bringing an entirely new urban population to the fast-developing area and providing residential accommodation for thousands of people.

Now that we've won, "the question is where do the bases go?" McGuinness asked, favouring a much-mooted Wynyard Wharf or Halsey wharf extension.

That plan, hatched by Auckland officials during the now-disastrous 2013 San Francisco challenge, could involve building 60m to 80m out from the existing Tank Farm base to accommodate syndicate compounds.

During the 2013 finals, the wharf extension and northern end of the Wynyard Quarter were shaping up as the preferred waterfront locations.

But nothing has been decided and opponents have stopped other waterfront development work in Ports of Auckland territory.

Yet the area is seen to be ideal because it is close to the city yet on the waterfront in an as-yet untransformed zone.

Auckland's waterfront, with the Wynyard Wharf or Tank Farm at the far left: this area could be transformed by the cup win.
Auckland's waterfront, with the Wynyard Wharf or Tank Farm at the far left: this area could be transformed by the cup win.

McGuinness said the area had it all: "The new theatre, new hotel, new retail, restaurants and bars and cafes...it will be a great showcase for Auckland."

Impediments included costs needed to remediate land beneath large holding tanks, but McGuinness indicated the land had such high value that it would be money well spent.

Patrick Clifford of Architectus conceived the urban design framework for the Wynyard Quarter under the leadership of John Dalzell who has since left Auckland Council's Panuku Auckland Development.

One development expert said the key to planning our defence now was Rod Marler, Panuku's place shaping director.

His profile said he had "more than 30 years' experience delivering large and complex projects. He joined Waterfront Auckland at its inception in November 2010 following an eight-year role as general manager design, Westfield New Zealand," saying he led a team of planners, designers, development and project managers on the waterfront.

WYNYARD QUARTER APARTMENTS:
Wynyard Central by Willis Bond:
10-level block on Daldy/Madden St corner

Ground-floor retail

113 apartments

157 carparks

Starting price: About $550,000

Designed by Architectus

Residents move in next year

Fourteen apartments unsold

132 Halsey by Willis Bond

7-level Halsey St block opposite waterfront

Ground-floor retail

51 apartments

84 carparks

Starting price: just under $2m

Designed by Athfield Architects

Residents move in next year

Three apartments remain to be sold