Universities have been the most visible growth industry in central Auckland for many years. With the country's largest university occupying most of the Symonds St ridge, the nearby AUT expanding into six blocks of inner city offices and even Otago University setting up a colony in Queen St, their combined student population often gives the CBD the character of a giant campus.
The giant is about to get bigger with Auckland University poised to take up the former Lion Breweries site in Newmarket. It will replace all or most of the campus at Glen Innes and Epsom's crowded teachers college, but the site will also accommodate the university's projected growth.
It means the brewery site will be put to better use than the cheapjack apartments that might have sprouted there as in other parts of Newmarket and the inner city. And the university's move from Epsom and Glen Innes will release land for the Auckland Council's desired intensive residential development near railway stations. From Symonds St to the medical school at Grafton, and now along Khyber Pass almost to Broadway, the university's reach seems almost imperial.
It is said that the only other visible growth industry these days is retirement villages. The preparation for working life and its aftermath are well accommodated. We could do with more industry in between.