Landmark waterfront buildings will make way for a $200 million, multi-storey housing and retail development if a bold plan to change the face of one of Auckland's most cherished beach suburbs is approved.
Urban Legacy & Partners Limited, known as Urban Partners and founded under the name Retail Holdings by brothers Haydn and Mark Staples in 1983, will next week lodge a land use resource consent application with Auckland Council to demolish buildings and houses it owns on a 6527sq m block between Tāmaki Dr, Patteson Ave and Marau Crescent in Mission Bay.
In their place, the company plans to build up to 100 apartments and townhouses, a 2920sq m hospitality and retail space, up to 265 basement and ground level car parks and a 955sq m cinema complex with four or five theatres, all across seven buildings of varying heights up to seven storeys.
The beachfront businesses affected — popular with day trippers to one of the closest and most well-serviced beaches to downtown Auckland — run east on Tāmaki Dr from De Fontein Belgian Beer Cafe east to Andrea Ristorante Italiano, including the Hoyts Berkeley movie theatre, and south on Patteson Ave to Tana Mera Espresso.
Several houses on Marau Crescent will also be bowled under the plan, which Urban Partners requested be publicly notified.
Written submissions must be made within 20 working days after the application is notified.
Project director Doug Osborne, who has worked in the property industry for more than 40 years, said the project would bring "much needed" improvement to the commercial area and create a lasting lifestyle legacy for a favourite spot for Aucklanders and visitors.
Community interests were a priority, he said.
"We've put thought and care into a design that references elements of the art deco flavour of Mission Bay while providing a mix of hospitality, modern retail and recreational space for locals and visitors."
The consent process was expected to take at least a year and construction three further years.
Urban Partners' investment in the site dated almost 30 years and followed more than 18 months of spatial testing of the site's opportunities and constraints, including three sessions with the council's independent and non-statutory Urban Design Panel.
The project was one of the first examples of a significant mixed-used project since the Unitary Plan — the blueprint for how Auckland will meet its future economic and housing needs — came into effect two years ago, Osborne said.
The site's Business - Local Centre zoning allowed for more intensive mixed-use development than had previously occurred in Auckland's smaller centres, he said.
The buildings' height will peak at eight levels or 28.2 metres — seven storeys and a mezzanine — at the intersection of Tāmaki Dr and Patteson Ave, with the height then gradually decreasing.
Three level-high townhouses proposed for Marau Crescent deferred to the residential zoning on the southern side of the crescent, with a lower height and "sensitive integration" with the surrounding neighbourhood, he said.
The new buildings, designed by architects The Buchan Group and with a total floor area of 35,095sq m, will also be a range of materials and colours.
There was generous integration of the project into open public spaces and a strong connection to the beach front promenade, Osborne said.
The design referenced elements of the art deco style already present.
"The project has been designed to ensure that its scale and intensity is suitable for the iconic location and creates a gateway to the Mission Bay local centre."
The price of the apartments is not yet known.
Community reaction was mixed when the Weekend Herald visited Mission Bay yesterday.
Ōrākei 17-year-old Jeffry Chen said the development "looks like Miami".
"I think it's going to be even more touristy. But [development] is inevitable."
Papatoetoe mum Nafisa Rasheed thought the plan look "amazing" but worried Mission Bay would become "very commercialised".
"At the moment it's got a look, it's got a very classic sort of feel and it's nice to get away from the normal big retail."
Ricky Valdes, of Glendowie, feared the loss of the beach vibe and bigger crowds.
"From a business point of view I'm sure it's great, but as someone who comes here to run and enjoy restaurants and chill out it doesn't seem like a good idea."
Ōrākei Local Board chairman Kit Parkinson said community needs had been considered and he was especially pleased a new cinema was in the plans.
"The proposal is a significant upgrade to the existing cinema premises, which do not meet . . . earthquake ratings."
But Terry Gibson, who lives on the corner of Marau Crescent and Ronaki Rd, said he feared a five-storey building could go in front of his house under the proposal.
"Whether it's progress or not is up for debate in my opinion. Building buildings that are going to be block out people's sunlight and views is a detriment to the quality of life. Those considerations need to be really carefully assessed."
He wasn't confident submissions helped.
"If you've got enough money you can do just about anything in this country."
Commercial tenants said demolition clause in their leases meant this week's news was no surprise.
Andrea Ristorante Italiano owner Andrea Bizzarri said the project looked "fantastic and beautiful".
Ray White Mission Bay Maguire's One Team chief executive Wayne Maguire also welcomed change.
"[Mission Bay] is a world class location and now it just needs world class living and dining."