Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Wynyard Quarter a car-free haven

First peek at huge inner-city development shows heavily landscaped lanes and squares with not a car in sight.

Artists' impressions of the planned Wynyard Quarter feature car-free walkways and lush planting. The 2.76ha waterfront development will have about 1500 apartments, built to house 4000 or so residents.
Artists' impressions of the planned Wynyard Quarter feature car-free walkways and lush planting. The 2.76ha waterfront development will have about 1500 apartments, built to house 4000 or so residents.

The first glimpse of New Zealand's biggest new inner-city apartment village reveals secluded laneways, big ponds, public squares, native trees, buildings with brick facades and rooftop gardens - but no cars.

A peek inside Auckland's Wynyard Quarter residences gives an idea of how the 1500-apartment precinct could look. Places could be priced from $500,000.

The views show people-friendly, traffic-slowing heavily landscaped squares, streets and footpaths in a concept similar to the restaurant-lined Jellicoe St.

The now partly closed Halsey St is being converted into this streetscape and won't reopen until later next year.

The stylish landscaped urban edge now beginning to appear in Wynyard Quarter could be extended right through the heart of the vast former industrial area, with a combination of features identical to those outside the new ASB North Wharf, the Viaduct Events Centre and Karanga Plaza.

Not a single car appears in the images of the project, where designers want to encourage what they call a "modal split", largely spurning cars for public transport and push bikes on the reclaimed land where digging down for basement carparking is not an option.

As Fletcher Construction found when building ASB, seawater is sometimes only 1m below the surface and when foundations are dug, salt water quickly invades.

No big public carparking buildings are planned among the apartments.

But John Dalzell, Waterfront Auckland chief executive, said it was wrong to think cars would be banned.

"Thirty per cent of people will still get there by car," he said, referring to parking being provided within apartment blocks which he called residences.

"They're all nicely tucked away underneath [the buildings], sleeved," he said of the carparks.

"The modal split we've been talking about is 70-30, so 30 per cent of people will still use cars. That's the target," Dalzell said.

At the moment 70 per cent of people get there via a car.

After last month releasing the first image of the new, shallow 20m wide by 150m-long canal way planned to intersect the area and bring a touch of Venice to the city, Waterfront Auckland has now unveiled four new images of the apartment village.

Read more here:
Canal plan for Auckland waterfront

Architect impression of a canal to be cut through the Wynyard quarter.
Architect impression of a canal to be cut through the Wynyard quarter.

Some months ago, the Auckland Council-owned entity called for developers to submit expressions of interest to build the apartments, a five-star hotel and offices in the rapidly growing area as part of the $1 billion private investment.

Winning contenders will be announced in the next few weeks.

A Waterfront Auckland spokesman said the new apartment pictures were not necessarily what would be built but gave an idea of how the village could look.

The images are representative of the type of lifestyle envisaged at Wynyard Quarter on land which is now either vacant or used for carparking.

Small townhouses could be priced from $850,000 but many properties might sell for $1 million-plus.

More than 4000 people could soon be living towards the western end of the city's waterfront near Westhaven in blocks between Victoria Park and the sea. The images showed apartments up to seven levels high with balconies, stepped facades on exteriors, plants growing up walls, wooden bridges over ponds with water lilies, and solid timber seating features similar to those in front of the Jellicoe St restaurants.

Two images show a building with a cut-out to reveal a city's skyscrapers vista. Nikau palms, cabbage trees and one entirely green wall are also shown. Planting beneath the 12m high metal walkway gantry spanning the Beaumont St/Jellicoe St intersection at Silo Park means that will become a green wall eventually.

Although the land is leasehold, at least one building owner, Kiwi Income Property Trust, has avoided future cost uncertainty by striking a deal with Waterfront Auckland to pre-pay the leasehold.

Apartment village

* Wynyard Central to be built on 2.76ha of waterfront land.
* Site between Halsey St, Daldy St, Madden St and Pakenham St.
* Area to have about 4000 residents and 12,000-15,000 workers.
* All residential properties will be sold as leasehold only.
* Prices expected to be $500,000-$1m+ per residence.

- NZ Herald

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