Apartments, hotels, retail and restaurants are on the way. Words Bernard Orsman. Graphic Phil Welch.

When the horn sounds for the America's Cup in 2021, the Auckland waterfront will be sporting a new, jazzed-up look.

Like the move from catamarans of the last two Cups to 75-foot foiling monohulls, Aucklanders will notice a big difference along the waterfront from Britomart to Wynyard Quarter.

The Cup village will be dressed up around Hobson Wharf, the Viaduct Events Centre - the home to Team New Zealand - and on Wynyard Point, where there will be a pit row of challenging teams. More than 80 superyachts will be moored up.

It will be the most inclusive America's Cup event ever, says Team New Zealand, with a large area set aside at its own base for the public, and sites for fans to be part of the action on and off the water.

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Between them, Auckland Council and the Government are spending $212 million on construction and running costs for the Cup - $114m from taxpayers and $98.5m from ratepayers.

Artist impression of the five-star Park Hyatt Auckland hotel currently under construction in the Viaduct Harbour.
Artist impression of the five-star Park Hyatt Auckland hotel currently under construction in the Viaduct Harbour.

On top of this, the council is pouring $55m of new money and bringing forward $53m of expenditure on a raft of projects to spruce up the waterfront for the Cup and Apec conference in 2021.

By the time the Cup and Apec conference rolls around, Auckland urban design champion Ludo Campbell-Reid says the city will have found its mojo. Aucklanders will feel prouder, more confident and more in love with the city.

An artist impression of the tower by Commercial Bay in central Auckland. Photo / Supplied
An artist impression of the tower by Commercial Bay in central Auckland. Photo / Supplied

"A city-centre heart will be beating and a sense of what is possible and what is at stake will be crystal clear," says the Englishman with a hyped-up enthusiasm for his new homeland.

By 2021, Campbell-Reid says, the city's residential population will have reached 70,000, Wynyard Quarter will have a community of 5000 residents, Queen Elizabeth Square outside Britomart will have been returned to the city, the ferry terminal will be reconfigured and Quay St will be more of a walking promenade than a carriageway for cars.

Commercial Bay central Auckland artist impression of the corner of Queen and Customs streets. Photo / Supplied
Commercial Bay central Auckland artist impression of the corner of Queen and Customs streets. Photo / Supplied

Excitement levels are rising as fast as the steel girders on the Commercial Bay project on the old Downtown shopping centre site at the bottom of Queen St.

Scott Pritchard, chief executive of Precinct Properties, developer of the 39-level office tower and 120 shops, bars and restaurants, says it will be a retail centre "as good as you'll find anywhere in the world".

Commercial Bay central Auckland artist impression of the Queen Street laneway. Photo / Supplied
Commercial Bay central Auckland artist impression of the Queen Street laneway. Photo / Supplied

Swedish clothing chain H&M is opening its flagship New Zealand store in Commercial Bay later this year. There will be a large food hall offering $5 meals or dumplings or noodles alongside offerings from celebrity chefs.

"We're expecting about 10 million people a year to make their way through Commercial Bay retail after it is completed," Pritchard told the Herald this month.

Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck describes Commercial Bay with its laneways and 10,000 or so office workers as a "key nexus", joining the waterfront, Britomart and Queen St.

Concept design drawing for the site of the proposed yacht maintenance facility to be built by Orams Marine on Beaumont Street Wynyard Quarter in Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Concept design drawing for the site of the proposed yacht maintenance facility to be built by Orams Marine on Beaumont Street Wynyard Quarter in Auckland. Photo / Supplied

It will be part of a more 24/7 city that will include longer shopping hours and night-time events, says Beck, who concurs with Campbell-Reid that Māori design is becoming an integral part of the public realm and Auckland's own identity.

Commercial Bay central Auckland artist impression of the corner of Quay street and Lower Albert Street. Photo / Supplied
Commercial Bay central Auckland artist impression of the corner of Quay street and Lower Albert Street. Photo / Supplied

Mayor Phil Goff says the America's Cup will bring vibrancy and economic benefits to Auckland and a chance to showcase the city and harbour, cutting-edge technology and the sporting skills of New Zealanders.

"The America's Cup village will be at the heart of the event with entertainment and attractions for fans. Further afield, our transformative plans for the city centre and waterfront will create a more pedestrian-friendly city centre with well-connected public transport and attractive public spaces," Goff said.

One project that will not be complete for 2021 is the $3.4 billion City Rail Link, although the first stage from Britomart and under Commercial Bay and up Albert St to Wyndham St will be finished and landscaped. The CRL is not due to open until 2023/2024.

Concept design drawing for the site of the proposed yacht maintenance facility to be built by Orams Marine on Beaumont Street Wynyard Quarter in Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Concept design drawing for the site of the proposed yacht maintenance facility to be built by Orams Marine on Beaumont Street Wynyard Quarter in Auckland. Photo / Supplied

It is unclear how far along the track Labour's $6 billion plan for modern trams will be. The project will involve disruptive works in the central city digging up Wynyard Quarter, Fanshawe St and Queen St.

Commercial Bay
Cost: $940m
The downtown shopping centre and 39-level office tower will feature:
• Laneway open 24 hours a day through to lower Albert St.
• H&M flagship store.
• Stalls offering $5 noodle meals alongside offerings from celebrity chefs.
• Branch of New York restaurant Saxon + Parole.

Lower Queen St
Will be turned into a pedestrian square outside the Britomart transport centre and the new Commercial Bay shopping centre.

Quay St bus interchange

The development will remove buses from the Britomart precinct for bus stops and a turning point at the eastern end of Quay St.

Queens Wharf redevelopment

Will include a mooring dolphin to take longer cruise ships.

City Rail Link

Cost: $3.4b

The $3.4 billion project will not be completed until 2023-2024, but the first stage from Britomart and up Albert St as far as Wyndham St will be completed by 2021 and lower Albert St will be landscaped.

Lower Albert St

Will be upgraded with wider footpaths, trees, seating and artworks once the cut and cover tunnels are completed for the City Rail Link.

Ferry Terminal upgrade

The upgrade to the ferry basin will involve reclamation to create more open space alongside Quay St and replacing the current eight ferry berths with 12 to 15 berths.Seawall along the waterfront will be repaired.

Wynyard crossing

Plans are still being developed to replace the existing pedestrian bridge to Wynyard Quarter with a larger bridge to cope with growing numbers.

Wynyard Quarter

Several new apartment blocks, cool laneways, retail, bars and restaurants for up to 5000 residents by 2021. The $200m Park Hyatt hotel facing the Viaduct Basin is due to open in April next year.

America's Cup village/berthing

Cost: $212m

Upgrade to Hobson, Halsey and Wynyard Pt wharves.The Viaduct Events Centre will become the base for Team New Zealand

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