Plan to demolish shopping centre for Central Rail Link

By Anne Gibson, Patrice Dougan

The Downtown Shopping Centre in Auckland. Photo / Richard Robinson
The Downtown Shopping Centre in Auckland. Photo / Richard Robinson

A downtown Auckland shopping centre will be demolished to make way for the multibillion-dollar Central Rail Link.

Scott Pritchard, Precinct chief executive, announced details this morning.

The company had entered into negotiations with Auckland Council with a view to co-ordinating the timing of works at Downtown Shopping Centre on Queen St with the building of a tunnel at the site for the City Rail Link, he said.

"We welcome the chance to work together with the council as obviously it would make a lot of sense to co-ordinate timing so they can advance works for the CRL tunnel at this site at the same time as we develop the Downtown Centre," Pritchard said.

The shopping centre sits on land required to build and operate the city rail link. Two rail lines will emerge from Britomart travelling below QEII Square and Downtown, before curving under Albert Street as they head south to connect with the existing rail line at Mt Eden.

Two 100-metre tunnels running from the Britomart transport station up to Albert Street would be built, an Auckland Transport spokeswoman said.

Precinct plans to build a new shopping centre with an additional level of outlets as well as a tower office block on the site, giving a preliminary start date of 2016. This is in line with the council's preferred schedule for the city rail link construction to begin.

Prime Minister John Key indicated a delayed start date of 2020 when he announced government financial backing of the $2.86 billion project less than two weeks ago.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said the agreement to try to co-ordinate construction was an "another great step" in the progress of the CBD rail link.

"Today we celebrate 10 years since the first train service at Britomart and here we are a decade later agreeing to negotiate a kick start for the next exciting phase of our city's rail future," he said.

"The City Rail Link will be a catalyst for urban redevelopment throughout the city centre and this is a good example of that. The council will continue to work with key commercial and property interests to achieve growth and development for our city."

Mr Pritchard said the sooner work could start, "the better".

"We are supporters of the city rail link, and the ability for public transport to bring more people into the city would be good for our business," he said. "From a business perspective the sooner the better, and if this acts as a catalyst to bring forward the date that would be good."

The City Rail Link will consist of two 3.4km long, twin tunnels up to 42 metres below the city centre, extending the existing rail line underground through Britomart, to Albert, Vincent and Pitt Sreets, then cross beneath Karangahape Road and the Central Motorway Junction to Symonds St before rising to join the western line at Eden Terrace.

Extension City Rail Link

- NZ Herald

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