Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Waterfront plans for possible NZ America's Cup

Prada yacht Luna Rossa is welcomed back to the America's Cup Village by supporters after winning the 2000 Louis Vuitton Cup. Planning is already underway for possible new sites for an America's Cup defence. Photo / NZ Herald
Prada yacht Luna Rossa is welcomed back to the America's Cup Village by supporters after winning the 2000 Louis Vuitton Cup. Planning is already underway for possible new sites for an America's Cup defence. Photo / NZ Herald

Waterfront Auckland has already prepared for an Emirates Team New Zealand America's Cup win, having earmarked land on six separate sites for possible syndicate bases around the city's foreshore.

John Dalzell, chief executive of the council-controlled organisation (CCO) in charge of revitalising the waterfront, said extensive planning had already been undertaken in 2010, post-Rugby World Cup.

See a Waterfront Auckland strategic planning document with possible sites and development timeframes here.

That all prepares for America's Cup fever to grip the city again and the CCO went to some lengths to ensure land was available for the number of syndicates which might come arrive in the next three to four years, and for development of facilities the racing yachts, their crews and supporters could demand.

Speculation was mounting after today's Emirates Team New Zealand's resounding win over Oracle Team USA and Dalzell said although he was superstitious and did not want to count on any win in advance, the chances of the cup coming here were increasingly likely and the CCO would not be caught off-guard.

"We've got plenty of options but need to know what the boats are, how big they will be and how many syndicates could come. If we could have nine syndicates, that would be the optimum," Dalzell said this morning.

A 30-year plan has been developed for the waterfront, expected to contribute $4.29 billion and directly support 20,000 new full time jobs in Auckland and a further 20,000 jobs across the region.

Dalzell said an America's Cup win was very much factored into planning three years ago and fine-tuning in 2010 earmarked America's Cup base possibilities.

He said one option "which is in the tens of millions" was extending the Halsey Street Wharf in front of the Viaduct Events Centre.

"That would have the greatest lasting impact for Auckland in terms of getting a much better configuration of the fishing boats and superyachts and hosting events. You extend the wharf and create sheltered conditions to move the inshore fishing fleet around to the front of North Wharf," Dalzell said.

"The syndicate bases would be around that extension."

But planning took into account areas from the eastern end of the waterfront nearer to the Ports of Auckland operations, all the way across to the Westhaven, Dalzell said.

Captain Cook Wharf near the foot of Queen St - and much closer to the CBD - was another option, he said. That would bring the America's Cup hub into the heart of the city, a little closer than the Viaduct Harbour bases last decade which were centred around the former "log farm" area.

That Viaduct Harbour log farm land cannot be used in 2016 or 2017 because it has now been developed into apartments.

But Dalzell said another option was to use land where Emirates Team New Zealand has a storage yard, further down in the Wynyard Quarter opposite the Sealink Ferry.

Dalzell said the Halsey Street Wharf extension was not necessarily the most likely option, because that was so expensive.

"That's a short list of the options," he said.

In 2000 and 2003 the Viaduct Harbour hosted two America's Cup challenges and in early 2012 the Viaduct also hosted the Volvo Ocean Race Auckland stopover.

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