Flat Bush masterplan for public vetting

By Anne Gibson

Details of a $1 billion vision for South Auckland will be unveiled next month but its developer is not expecting construction to start until at least 2010.

Nigel McKenna, head of Melview Developments, said yesterday that details of the planned Flat Bush town centre would go to the public next month but builders would not start on the project for at least two more years.

Mr McKenna said the draft master plan would be available to the public from Thursday, November 13.

He plans to develop an entire new town centre in the area, building a master-planned community where people will work, shop and live.

The Beaumont Quarter apartment complex opposite Victoria Park markets and the Lighter Quay apartments on Auckland's waterfront are some of his most high-profile developments in the city.

A public meeting to discuss the Flat Bush centre is planned next month so people can see what is being proposed.

But Mr McKenna said changes to the global property and financial markets were having an effect. Flat Bush was a long-term vision, he said and plans would need to accommodate fluctuations in the property cycle.

Flat Bush will be developed by Mr McKenna's Melview but built on land owned by Manukau City Council's Tomorrow's Manukau Properties.

Late last year, the two parties signed a development deal and construction was earmarked for 2010.

Sir Barry Curtis, mayor at the time, said then that the project would bring a new yet traditional-style town centre with an emphasis on public transport to reduce dependence on cars.

Manukau City bought the land for Flat Bush in 1996.

Mike Higgins, chief executive of Tomorrow's Manukau Properties, said yesterday that the plan to be presented next month was more of a map than a final design. It was only the first step of a complex master-planning process.

But next month's meeting aimed to give people an idea about the project and an understanding of how different the new town centre would be, he said.

Flat Bush has been in the pipeline for the past eight years, during which planning, earthworks and road construction have been done.

But some people who moved to areas surrounding the now-vacant town centre have been asking for months when work will start on their new 20ha hub, which will blend Barry Curtis Park with shops, cafes, offices, community areas and apartments.

Mr Higgins said there was still a significant amount of work to do but his company was pleased with the progress so far.

* Flat Bush public plan meeting, 7.30pm, November 13, conference room, Rainbow's End Theme Park, corner Great South and Wiri Station Rds, Manukau.

* $1 billion new town centre.
* To be built on 20ha vacant block.
* To house up to 40,000 people.
* Houses, offices and shops planned.
* Houses to be low- and high-density.
* Expected to be finished by 2020.

- NZ Herald

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