A touch of Venice is about to hit Auckland as plans progress for a new canal to be dug through the centre of Auckland's Wynyard Quarter.
The canal is to be flanked by wide public walkways, shops, apartments, cafes and restaurants.
Rod Marler, Waterfront Auckland development general manager, said the trench for water could be about 5m to 8m wide and run 150m to 200m long, but have wide street edges and walkways either side, creating a public space which could be about 20m wide.
A spokesman for the organisation said the canal was talked about in his organisation as Water Lane, but there was nothing official about that title.
Marler said the internal canalway would run east to west, parallel to Pakenham St and Madden St off Halsey St but its construction could be some time away.
The big new feature of the western reclamation's development would be intersected by bridges and other accessways to bring a touch of the waterfront into the precinct, around the area where apartments are planned.
Waterfront Auckland expects to announce who will build a new five-star hotel, offices and the first 650 out of a planned 1500 apartments in the next few weeks.
That announcement might be before Christmas but no precise date has been set.
Architecture firm Warren and Mahoney produced the image of the canal, to be cut through the precinct a street block behind the new ASB North Wharf offices.
The shallow waterway channel on the Viaduct side of the land will be one of the centre pieces of public infrastructure at Wynyard where $1 billion of investment is planned in apartments, offices and a luxury hotel.
The canal will run through a pedestrian area in a plan which seeks to create a metaphorical connection between the large block of reclaimed land and the sea surrounding it.
The Warren and Mahoney image shows two big steps off one side down into the canal in a scheme like the popular Karanga Plaza area by the Viaduct Events Centre, where steps create seating platforms.
Outdoor dining areas with umbrellas line the waterway in the image.