The potential to transform Dive Cres has been revealed in an architect's vision for the northern end of Tauranga's downtown waterfront.

Called Taumata Kahawai, it was described by the council's city transformation chairman Larry Baldock as a blue-sky concept.

The vision prepared by Wingate Architects has been given new impetus after the city transformation committee decided to demolish a row of old council-owned buildings opposite the Cargo Shed.

It left two leased buildings between Dive Cres and the railway line in the way of the area's future development. The buildings occupied by Iron Design and Fixation Coffee were subject to an earthquake-prone building notice and had to be strengthened or demolished by 2021.


Baldock said they would never build higher than Cliff Rd but Taumata Kahawai showed the potential of the area if the road was moved towards the railway line and buildings straddled the transportation corridor.

David Wingate said the concept had been developed after a lot of consultation including with iwi, builders and developers. ''It is more than just an architect's dream''

Wingate said he had a passion for the project as part of the big picture for Tauranga and the Bay. ''It was a way of giving back.''

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said it was nice to see aspirational views but the concept would not be to everyone's taste.

''It is certainly blue-sky.''

Gregec said area was ripe for development but he was not sure about the scale of what was proposed.

''I would like to see some alternative concepts presented. This is something the community would have widely differing views on.''

He said the community had a stake in Dive Cres and any development needed to be carefully thought through to develop the site to its full potential.


Another key to the development of Dive Cres was finalising the deal to vest ownership of the 3400sq m strip of land on the seaward side of Dive Cres - from the boundary of Trinity Wharf hotel to Bobby's Fresh Fish Market.

Baldock said once negotiations with the Crown were settled, the council and Otamataha Trust would be ready to develop concepts for Dive Cres.

He was commenting on Monday's decision to spend $287,000 to demolish the buildings and develop an off-street car park for 38 vehicles.

''We won't be leaving it as a car park for the next 20 years,'' he told the Bay of Plenty Times.

The council and the trust had negotiated a 50/50 ownership and management deal for the land. The agreement evolved out of various efforts to assert ownership of the land following the legal quagmire when it was discovered that no one held title to the reclaimed waterfront.

However, negotiations between the Dive Cres Governance Group and the Crown had still not settled on the valuation for the land. Baldock was a council representative on the governance group.

The Bay of Plenty Times reported 18 months ago that resistance to a $1 million price tag was holding up negotiations to vest ownership in the council and trust.

Baldock said developing Dive Cres would involve shifting the road nearer the railway line. There were no specifics of what a development would look like except it would likely involve a commercial partner because the council would not be funding it.

He called Dive Cres a blank canvas for development, describing Wingate Architects' vision as a blue sky concept.

The website for Taumata Kahawai described how the aim of the scheme was to establish strong connections between the city centre and the waterfront with its beautiful views.

Commercial businesses and car parking currently created a barrier between the city and the harbour and the scheme proposed ways to open up and connect the site and promote views. It would allow access to the waterfront along the entire promenade while providing pockets for people to gather at selected points, the website said.

Wingate Architects' notable Tauranga projects
- ANZ Business Centre, cnr Elizabeth St/Cameron Rd.
- Kathleen Kilgour Centre, Tauranga Hospital.
- Trustpower Head Office, Durham St.
- Te Wananga o Aotearoa, 17th Ave.
- 306 Cameron Rd, cnr 3rd Ave.