Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Auckland waterfront plan slammed as 'ghettos for the rich'

600 homes for Wynyard precinct but MP concerned about lack of affordable dwellings

People can buy Wynyard Quarter village apartments off plans later this year, with completion expected by 2017.
People can buy Wynyard Quarter village apartments off plans later this year, with completion expected by 2017.

Up to 600 new apartments, townhouses and duplexes in 17 blocks, six to nine levels high, are planned in the now open areas around Wynyard Quarter but one politician has criticised the scheme as creating "ghettos for the rich".

Waterfront Auckland today released new details of the mini-suburb it has long been planning, naming financiers and investors Willis Bond & Co as the winners of an international tender process to design and build the precinct.

But Phil Twyford, Labour's housing spokesman, has raised concerns.

"The regret I have is they seem to have decided there's no place for affordable housing there. Even in the most desirable and exciting parts of the city like this, we should be building mixed communities ... and catering to mixed incomes ... We shouldn't be building ghettos for the rich. I wish they'd rethink that and put affordable housing into the mix."

A Waterfront Auckland spokesman confirmed no affordable housing was planned but diversity was to be incorporated into the precinct.

Twyford praised higher density with a focus away from car use and extensive green space. "I'm a huge fan of what Waterfront Auckland is doing. They're showing the city what high-quality urban renewal can look like and creating excitement about what we can do to regenerate the waterfront and create a vibrant city," Twyford said.

See details of the Wynyard plans here:

Waterfront Auckland said the 17 new structures would rise on a waterfront site at the corner of Halsey St and Madden St, next to the soon-to-be built Auckland Theatre Company building and overlooking the Viaduct Harbour, as well as on four separate sites between Daldy, Beaumont, Madden and Pakenham Streets.

Willis Bond worked with Architectus, Athfield Architects and Studio Pacific Architecture to develop housing styles connected by lanes, thoroughfares and public spaces.

The five sites total just over 2ha, and the buildings will have 500 to 600 places selling for a wide price range. But Waterfront Auckland said nothing would happen immediately.

The precinct will go up in the next eight to 10 years, although pre-sales start this year. The residential offerings in the initial stages of development will be available to purchase off the plans by late 2014, and constructed by late 2017. Further releases will be made over the course of the project," a statement said.

An image of the precinct out today shows everyone walking, with two cyclists and no cars. The top of the five-storey apartment blocks are loggia-style while decks have timber shades and ground floors are glazed.

No heights have been announced but the current District Plan allows for 25m to 31m residential structures, so heights of six to nine levels would be allowed as of right.

- NZ Herald

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